OF BRAIN INJURED PEOPLE AND FAMILIES ASSOCIATIONS
ABBREVIATION : « BIF »
6 Allée de Clerlande
Identification Number: 5410/2000
I – DESIGNATION, HEADQUARTERS, DURATION, RULES
The European Confederation of Brain Injured People and Families Associations, known as “BIF European Confederation,” or “Brain Injured People and Families European Confederation” and hereafter referred to as “the Confederation” was constituted and incorporated as an International Non-Profit Association, in accordance with the provisions of Section III of the law of 27 June 1921 on Non-Profit Associations, International Non-Profit Associations and Foundations.
The Confederation was created in 1999 in Brussels by the General Assembly of the 7 founding member associations: Headway UK (United Kingdom), U.N.A.F.T.C. (France), D.B.I.A. (Denmark), Le Noyau (Belgium), FEDACE (Spain), FRAGILE (Switzerland) and Coordinamento Nazionale Associazioni Trauma Cranico (Italy).
The corporate headquarters of the Confederation is established in Belgium. It is currently located at 6 Allée de Clerlande, B-1340 Ottignies. It can be relocated throughout Belgium once the Administrative Council gives notice of the decision in the Appendices of the Belgian Monitor and communicates the decision to the Federal Public Justice Department within the month of the decision being made. The Confederation can at any time establish other offices for conducting its business.
The Confederation was created for an unlimited duration. It can at any time be dissolved in accordance with the provisions of Article 20 of the present statutes.
The Confederation is regulated by 1) the provisions of Section III of the law of 27 June 1921 and all subsequent amendments, 2) the present articles and 3) the internal rule of the confederation.
II – MEANS AND ENDS
The Confederation, free of any profit-seeking ethos, has for its goals, irrespective of all philosophical, religious, politcial, racial or national allegiances :
- To defend and promote the interests of brain injured people and their families, in securing for them by all means possible the help and services they require.
- To create tangible bonds of friendship, solidarity, and sharing, between the different associations of families of brain injured people in Europe.
So as to realise its objectives the Confederation shall :
- Encourage collaboration between the different associations of families of brain injured people, who are members and partners of the Confederation.
- To cooperate with European institutions and organisations whose goal is to assist brain injured people and their families.
- To study and promote all those initiatives that enable a better response to the specific needs of brain injured people residing in Europe and their families.
- To undertake comparative studies of legislation in force in Europe, both in member countries of the European Union and in other countries, related to brain injured people and their families, and comparative studies of services designed to assure their well-being.
- To promote the circulation and exchange of information.
- To receive, administer, maintain and make use of all contributions, legacies or donations, or their revenue, so as to advance the well-being of brain injured people and their families, without presenting donations in money or in kind to individuals.
- To employ any other means that the General Assembly (hereafter referred to as ‘’ the Assembly ‘’) or the Administrative Council decide upon at an appropriate time.
III – MEMBERS
The Confederation is composed of two categories of members :
- Full-fledged members.
- Associated members.
All the members of the Confederation must have a legal constitution recognised in their own country. Admission of new members is subject to the following conditions:
- Full-fledged members : any national non-profit association of families of brain injured people in Europe may be admitted to the Confederation as a full-fledged member with voting rights (one country one vote), providing it has fully paid its fees. Every national member association must adhere to the Constitution of the Confederation and its accompanying regulations.
- Associated members : All other associations working in Europe for the well-being of brain injured people and their families and whom would like to be an associated member of the Confederation can present their request for admisssion. They will not have the right to vote, but will be able to speak before the Assembly with the consent of the President.
Requests for admission from members of either category must be addressed to the Administrative Council in accordance with a procedure determined by the Council.
All members pay an annual fee determined by the Assembly on the advice of the Administrative Council, corresponding to their membership category and adapted to the importance and situation of the association.
A member can at any time discontinue their membership by presenting their resignation in writing to the Administrative Council. Nonetheless, the member is obligated to pay all fees that are due for the year during which their resignation is tendered.
The Confederation can discontinue the membership of a member, of either category, for the following reasons :
- Harm to the interests and purpose of the Confederation. The Administrative Council can, at any time, by the decision of at least four fifths of members present at a meeting convened for examining the case, decide to discontinue the membership of a member of either category if the continuance of such membership is detrimental to the interests of the Confederation. However, such a judgement will not be rendered unless the accused member is informed of the charges brought against it at least 60 days before the meeting, if it hears all the evidence presented against it and if it is able to have its defence heard. Furthermore, the member has the right to make an appeal to the General Assembly, in which case the decision to ban the member must be made by a majority of three quarters of votes. Readmission after such an exclusion requires a favourable vote of four fifths of members of the Administrative Council present at any meeting having the readmission as the order of the day.
- Non-payment of financial obligations or subscriptions. Any member who is two years in arrears of its payments is considered to be resigned and is omitted from the list of members. However, an organisation member, incapable of fulfilling their obligations in the required time limit, can make an appeal to the Administrative Council to review its obligations and determine the conditions under which its membership to the Confederation can be maintained.
IV – STUCTURE AND ORGANISATION
The bodies of the Confederation are :
- The General Assembly
- The Administrative Council
- The Executive
- The Secretariat
The General Assembly is the highest authority in the Confederation. It possesses the fullness of powers enabling it to realise its goals and activities. Notably reserved to its competence are the powers pertaining to the following matters: determination of the activities of the Confederation, modification of the Constitution, voluntary dissolution of the Confederation, election and dismissal of members of the Administrative Council and approval of budgets and annual accounts.
A register, which must be made available to members, and in which will be noted all decisions taken in the General Assembly and Administrative Council, confirmed each time by the signature of the President of the session, will be kept by the Secretary General.
The Assembly is composed of representatives of full-fledged members of the Confederation. Each full-fledged member can have several representatives sitting in the Assembly, but only one must be designated to exercise its right to vote.
The representatives of associated members can sit in the Assembly. Each associated member can only have a single representative authorised to speak with the permission of the President, but without the right to vote.
Those invited as observers can sit in the Assembly, but do not have the right to either vote or speak.
The General Assembly will meet in ordinary session each year during the first semester.
The Assembly can, at other times, meet in an ‘’extraordinary’’ session on notice being given by the President or, in his absence, by the Vice-President, or at the written request of two thirds of the members of the Administrative Council.
The Administrative Council is the body designated by the Assembly as responsible for administering the business of the Confederation. The Council exercises all the powers and duties that are conferred upon it by the Assembly and by the present Constitution.
The Council can appoint commissions. It can equally, if it judges it necessary and useful at a particular time for the good conduct of Confederation business, establish an internal rule of order or introduce a decree, on the condition that such a rule or decree does not contradict or nullify any of the articles of this Constitution. The articles of internal regulations or decrees established by the Council will not take effect until they are approved by the General Assembly.
The Council consists of representatives of full-fledged members elected by the General Assembly. The number of Administrators may not be less than five nor more than twelve. It is the Assembly that can, as circumstances change, amend the number.
The majority of Administrators must be parents or other family members of brain injured people. One Administrator must be of Belgian nationality.
The duration of the mandate of the Administrators is three years. Outgoing Administrators are re-eligible. The mandate expires by death, discontinuation or dismissal by the General Assembly. In the case of a vacancy, the available administrative post will be submitted to an election, on the occasion of the next General Assembly.
The Council shall meet at least twice a year. The precise date and location of the meeting must be fixed by the President and the Secretary General after consultation with the Council.
The Executive of the Confederation is composed of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and the Secretary General. They are elected by the Administrative Council among the Administrators legally elected by the Assembly. Their mandate is 3 years and is renewable, as is that of all Administrators.
The President of the Confederation is responsible to the members of the Confederation. He presides over all meetings of the Assembly and the Council. If the President cannot be present at one of these meetings, the Vice-President shall preside. This last option failing, the representatives of the full-fledged members shall elect a President for the session.
The Vice-President assists the President in the discharge of his duties and replaces him if he is absent or unable to perform his duties.
The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the good standing of the Confederation’s accounts and for collecting fees. He shall establish the profit and loss account and the annual statement of account and shall assist the President in the preparation of the budget.
The Secretary General, under the direction of the President and of the Council, shall attend to the execution of decisions taken at the meetings of the Assembly or of the Council, as well as with respect to the provisions and regulations governing the Confederation. He shall himself attend to, or ensure under his responsibility the carrying out of, the tasks of the Secretariat and of the Confederation.
If one of the Executive posts become vacant, the Council can elect a temporary Administrator, until the next meeting of the Assembly, to carry out the functions assigned to the vacant post.
The Council is authorised to employ the personnel necessary for the execution of the work of the Confederation.
All those acts involving the Confederation are, with the exception of proxy voting, signed by at least two Administrators assigned to the Executive: the President, Vice-President, the Secretary General or the Treasurer.
Judicial actions, whether prosecuting or defending, are attended by the Administrative Council as represented by its President or an Administrator designated by him for this purpose.
V – MEETINGS AND VOTING
Notice of meetings of the Assembly or the Administrative Council must be sent at least one month in advance. They must include the place, date, order of business and the time of the meeting. Notice is given by the Secretary General and is sent by letter, fax, e-mail or any other means of communication.
In the event that a notice of meeting is, by accident, not sent or received by a voting member, such a circumstance does not invalidate the discussion at the meeting concerned.
The General Assembly cannot validly deliberate unless it convenes at least half of the representatives of the members of the Confederation having voting rights, whether presented or represented.
The Administrative Council cannot validly deliberate unless at least half of the Administrators, including one Executive Administrator, are present or represented.
The Assembly and the Council can validly deliberate only on the points put on the agenda. However, exceptionally, a point not entered on the agenda can be deliberated, provided that two thirds of the members, validly brought together as specified above, agree to register this point on the agenda.
Any representative in the Assembly or any Administrator in the Administrative Council who cannot be present in person at the meeting can vote by proxy, on the condition that a signed authorisation, ascribing their right to vote to a replacement from their association, or to another representative in the Assembly having voting rights, or to another Council Administrator, is received by the Secretary General before the meeting. Each representative or Administrator is not allowed more than one proxy vote.
In the case of a tied vote, the person presiding over the Assembly of the Council possesses, in addition to the proxy vote that he/she is allowed, a paramount vote.
All decisions must be taken by a majority of persons with voting rights, present or represented, with the exception of cases specified by the present Constitution.
The minutes of Assembly and Council meetings shall be sent to all members of the Confederation.
VI – FINANCES AND FISCAL MATTERS
Each year, the Council must submit its report to the Assembly for consideration. The fiscal year of the Confederation corresponds to that of the calendar year.
The report will have an accurate account of the revenues and expenditures of the Confederation. The origin of these revenues and the purpose of these expenditures will be indicated, along with the corresponding budget item under which it falls, the same layout being followed for the sales and purchases of merchandise and services made for the Confederation. This standing of accounts can be inspected by member representatives, at a time and place agreed upon beforehand.
The Confederation can accept and make use of all donations, grants, subsidies, and legacies.
The Confederation can accept and conclude any contract and acquire, sell, lease or hire out any furniture or real estate and pay employee wages and other expenses necessary to the conduct of its business. The operations described in these provisions are to be carried out without prejudice to the non-profit character of the Confederation and with respect to the statutes of the law of 27 June 1921 governing non-profit associations.
VII – CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION AND DISSOLUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
Without prejudice to articles 50 §3, 55 and 56 of the law pertaining to Non-profit Associations, International Non-profit Associations and Foundations, any proposal having as its object the modification of the Constitution or the dissolution of the Confederation must emanate from the Administrative Council or from at least one third of the full-fledged members of the Confederation who have paid their fees.
The present Statute may be modified at any meeting of the Assembly in ordinary session or in an extraordinary session convened especially for this purpose.
The Council must bring to the attention of members of the Confederation, at least one month in advance, the text and explanation of all proposals for modification as well as the date and place of the Assembly which will preside over the said proposal.
Any decision to modify this Constitution or to dissolve the Confederation will only be approved if it receives a majority of two thirds of the votes of representatives of members of the Assembly having voting rights, present or represented.
However, if the Assembly does not convene two-thirds of representatives having voting rights, a new meeting shall be convened, that will preside definitively and validly over the proposal in question, requiring the same majority of two thirds of votes, whatever the number of representatives present or represented, at the earliest occasion occurring within 15 days of the first meeting.
Modifications to the Statute shall not take effect until after the approval by a competent authority on his being satisfied that the modifications conform to article 50 §3 of the law and after posting the modifications in the Appendices of the Belgian Monitor, in accordance with article 51 §3 of the said law.
In the case of the dissolution of the Confederation, the Administrative Council shall be responsible for the liquidation of assets, unless the Assembly decides otherwise. Funds remaining in the possession of the Confederation shall be bestowed upon another non-profit organization with the same goal of assisting brain injured people and their families, or redistributed in equal parts between the full-fledged and non-profit members of the Confederation, in accordance with the choice of the Council and with what is permitted by the law.
If a dispute should arise concerning the interpretation of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to settle the problem.
Anything that is not anticipated by the present Constitution, and notably the notices to be submitted to the Appendices of the Belgian Monitor, shall be dealt with in a manner conforming with the provisions of Section III of the Belgian law of 27 June 1921 on Non-profit Associations, International Non-profit Associations and Foundations.