Changing EADV’s Statutes from Luxembourg to Lugano
Martin M Black
Following the original signing of the Statutes at the founding of EADV in October 1987, it was the laws of Luxembourg that governed the actions of the Academy. Gradually, as EADV’s membership expanded and became multinational it became clear that the laws of Luxembourg were inadequate to deal with the Academy’s growing needs. The principal reason for this was that Luxembourg law did not allow EADV members to vote by mail or electronically. All decisions had to be taken at an Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) by voting in person or by giving a proxy vote to another member to vote on their behalf. Urgent administrative decision-making by the Board in the context of a multi- national academy became impossible with these restrictions. The election of all officers, including the President, had to be held at the time of the OGM. The vali- dation of proxy votes proved to be very difficult within the time restraints of an OGM and the small number of EADV administrative staff available at that time. Falsification of proxy votes was possible unless extreme security measures were adopted. The author can recall that the presidential election in 2001 proved to be fractious because important vetting procedures meant long lines developed before members could collect their ballot papers. However, the decisions of the OGM were never likely to be representative of the entire membership, and only between 10% and 15% of members were ever present or represented by proxy vote. Finally, the Statutes in Luxembourg did not facilitate the meaningful representation of the many new member countries, which were accepted at the time of the Congress in Florence (2004). Amending the EADV Statutes under Luxembourg law was complex and required a sizeable vote at an Extraordinary General Meeting to facilitate any change. At the time of the Spring Symposium in Sofia (2005), the Board decided unanimously that EADV should leave Luxembourg and asked the EADV Statutes Committee (chaired by Frank Powell) and the EADV lawyer to negotiate the best possible conditions in other countries, preferably Belgium or Switzerland. It was also clear that the decision to move out of Luxembourg was not primarily a tax issue - the motivation was the need for a more practical, less bureaucratic functioning of the Academy! At an OGM held in Lapland, Finland in 2006 the move from Luxembourg was finally accomplished. The new EADV Statutes were finally moved to the Swiss Canton of Ticino with the headquarters in Lugano. Now EADV is fully integrated with electronic voting (run by the independent Electoral Reform Society in the UK) and functions as a fully multinational and representative modern Academy.