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Wikimedia Belgium/Bylaws/en

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IMPORTANT! This is a draft translation of a draft document!

Translator's notes

This English translation was prepared from the French draft.

  • [text in slanting font within square brackets] are descriptions of text to be added by the promotors of the project (obviously indicated as such in the French original).
  • (text in slanting font within parentheses) are original French terms for which the English translation might be misunderstood if taken too literally. In particular, it is important to distinguish the two classes of membership.
  • [text in upright font within square brackets] are words which don't appear explicitly in the French original but which may be reasonably implied by the context for the purposes of translation. Also used occasionally for grammatical reasons.
  • Association and association are direct translations of the French association; the legal status of a Belgian association is different from that of "associations" in many Common Law jurisdictions.
  • Administrative Board is the translation of the French conseil d'administration: several translations are possible; the functions of this body (which comprises the President, the Treasurer, the Secretary, etc.) are described in the document itself.

Following links refer to the belgian legal context :

This draft version should be completed at the meeting of 28 August by a statement of the objectives of the Association

  On this ___ day of ___ two thousand and nine, following persons

[surname, given name(s), address, nationality, date place of birth, national registration number for each human founding member, or, in the case of a corporation, corporate name, legal form and address of the registered office, company registration number, and the personal details of its representative(s) ]

have gathered to consitute a non-profit association by the name of "Wikimedia Belgium" asbl, further referred to as "the Association", according to the Belgian law dated 1921 and modified in 2002 governing incoporated non-profit organisations under the name of "asbl (association san but luctatif) vzw (vereniging zonder winstoogmerk)" under the follwing Statutes :

TITLE I - Name, registered office[edit]

Article 1 - The Association shall be known as "Wikimedia Belgium" asbl. The name of the association may be abbreviated to "Wikimedia BE".

Article 2 - The registered office of the Association shall be at _____________ , in the judicial district of _________________ . It [the registered office] may be modified by simple decision of the Board of Directors .

TITLE II - Objectives, duration[edit]

Article 3 - The objectives of the Association are:

The association is detined to constitute a CHAPTER of the Wikimedia Foundation. Its objectives and goals are in alignment with those of the Wikimedia Foundation : expressed in the following vision statement:

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.

And as expressed by the following mission statement

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

In collaboration with a network of chapters, the Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of multilingual wiki projects and other endeavors which serve this mission. The Foundation will make and keep useful information from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity.

A Wikimedia Foundation chapter is confined to a geographical area : in this case the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg

The Association has power to act in any way that is directly or indirectly related to its objectives. In particular, it may support or involve itself in any activity with is of a similar or complementary nature to its objectives.

TITLE III – Members[edit]

Article 5 - The Association's membership is made up of full members (membres effectifs) and associate members (membres adhérents). The minimum number of full members (membres effectifs) is three [1].

Article 6 - The following persons can be full members :

  1. the signatories to these Articles of Association;
  2. any person or corporation admitted according to the admission rules (art 7).

Article 7 - Any person who wishes to become an associate member shall apply in wirting to the Board, that consider the application at its very next meeting. The decision of the Board can be revised by the General Assembly at the written request of the applicant. The resolution about membership of the General Assembly shall be deemed final. The Board shall motivate its decisions: the General Assembly only has to vote not motivate its decisions. All decisions concerning a membershipapplication shall be communicated to the applicant in writing. An unsuccessful applicant may not reapply within twelve months of the date of the resolution of the General Assembly: this period shall be shortened to six weeks is the applicant is recommended: by two full members; or by three members ; or by the Board. Any person who wishes to become a full member should be an associate member first. He should apply in writing to the Board. His candidature, supported by 2 full members or by the Board, will be presented to the vote at the General Assembly meeting.

Article 8 - Associate members shall be free to resign from membership of the Association at any time by written notice to the Board. Their resignation will be effective immediately upon recepetion of the notice.

Full members shall be free to resign from membership of the Association at any time by written notice to the Board so long as the following formalitites are respected:

  1. a notice period of three months, which may be reduced by the Board at [the] written request [of the member] attached to their notice or, in the case of force majeure, separately;
  2. all responsibilities that were taken up by the member before resigning his membership should either be completed or taken over by another member - to the satisfaction of the board - before the end of the notice period.

By default a member will be considered to resign if the member fails to pay his contribution, his membership will be terminated at the end of a month after a single written reminder has been send.

The board can suspend any member - until the next General Assembly meeting any member that as committed a serious offence against these statutes, or the applicable law, or the wikimedia-etiquette.

TITLE IV – Fees & Contributions[edit]

Article 9 - Both full and associate members will have to pay a membership fee. The amount is determined by the Board.

The membership fee cannot be in excess of 1200€ for an individual (or personal) membership. For corporate membership the fee cannot exceed the larger of the following amounts :

  • 5% of the annual turnover
  • 2% of net profit
  • 10.000 € 

TITLE V - General Assembly[edit]

Article 10 – The General Assembly of the Association is composed of all its full membres or their representatives, based upon a membership list closed at least 1 month before the date of the General Assembly meeting. The General Assembly meeting is presided by the Chairman of the Board of Administrators. Associated members can attent the meeting without having the right to vote.

Article 11 - The attributed power of the General Assembly are  : The law says that the meeting of the General Assembly has to delibarate upon following subjects:

  1. the modification of these statutes;
  2. the nomination and dismissal of the administrators;
  3. the nomination and dismissal of the controllers (commissaires) and to determine their compensation if such is the case;
  4. to hear the financial reports and discharge administrators and controllers;
  5. to approve budgets and annual accounts;
  6. to dissolve the association;
  7. to revoke a member;
  8. to transform the association in a corporation;
  9. any other case that these statutes explicitely determine.

Article 12 - Convocation, representation and voting-rights
A) All full members are invited to the General Assembly meeting by the Chairman (or any member) of the Board at least twice per calendar-year.
B) The written invitations (by letter or email) will mention the agenda of the meeting; the invitation and meeting must be published at least huit working days before the General Assembly meeting.
C) Members can appoint a representatif, they can ppoint any member (full or associate) with a written mandate; for any other representative (ie, a non-member of the assocoation) that mandate should be confirmed by the board.
C-bis) Representatives of corporations (that are by default represented by an individual person)can be members themselves. Any representatif whose mandate cannot be verified through the database of the Moniteur Belge / Staatsblad, has to provide written mandate.
C-ter) Any member of the General Assembly can only have one mandate.
C-quater) Any member can attend the General Assembly meeting accompanied by legal council.
D) Any full member of the General Assembly disposes of a single vote and can cast a maximum of 2 votes if he represents another full member by a mandate. In order to vote the member of his representatif must be physically present during the General Assembly meeting, entitled membres who leave the meeting early cannot mandate another member and their votes will be counted as an abstention.
E) Majorities and presence quorums applicable during the General Assembly meetings:
E-1) To exercise following attributed powers a presence quorum and qualified majority is required

Subject presence quorum majority
the modification of these statutes majority 2/3
dismissal of an administrators majority 2/3
dismissal of a controller 2/3 2/3
the dissolution of the association majority majorité
final exclusion of a member majority 3/2
the transformation of the association in a corporation; 2/3 3/4

For any other subject the quorum and majority required by the law applies.
E-2) If a decision is on the agenda that requires a presence quorum, but the meeting doesn't meet that quorum then the General Assembly meeting cannot decide on the matter, and a new General Assembly meeting has to be called. This second meeting cannot be called within 14 days of the previous meeting. If on the second meeting the quorum is not reached the votes can continue.
E-3) All decisions taken without the required quorum about a person (administrateur, controller or membre) can be opposed by the person subject of the decision and should be taken before an external arbiter.
E-4) All decisions taken without the required quorum about the association must be published within the week after the meeting. Absent membres have 1 month after the publication to notify their opposition in writing to the board. If more then 30% of the absent members oppose the decision, then that decision should be carried to the next General Assembly meeting. If there are none (of not enough) opposition notices the decision is applicable from the 1st day after the expiration of the opposition submission period.
F) An associate member who participates in a General Assembly meeting can speak only when :

  • the participant is a mandated representatif of a full member;
  • invited to take the stand by the president or any full member of the association.

Article 13 - The decisions taken by the General Assembly meeting are noted and registered by the secretary, then publicised. The register and publiocation must be electronically accessible tout any member of the association.

TITLE VI – Board of Administrators[edit]

Article 14 - The Association is administered by a Board of Administrators (referred to as "the Board") composed of at least 3 administrators and maximum seven, nominated by the General Assembly, that can decide about their dismissal, and chosen from the full individual members list. Unless the law would allow a 2 member Board .

The board can make valid decisions if at least half of its members is present or represented.

Article 15 - The nomination term of an administrator 4 years, and nominees can be re-elected. If a nominee is dismissed (by the General Assembly) or decides to resign the vacancy is filled for the rest of the period by an interim administrator appointed by the board.

Article 16 - The nominated administrators elect a Chairman, and it can appoint or elect people to the following functions a vice-president, a treasurer and a secretary. In case the Chairman is unavailable his function is taken over by the vice-president or the eldest administrator.

Article 17 - The Board Les décisions du conseil d'administration sont prises au consensus. Si aucun consensus ne se dégage, les décisions sont prises à la majorité des voix émises par les administrateurs présents ou représentés. En cas de partage des voix, celle du président ou de l'administrateur qui le remplace est prépondérante.

Article 18 - Le conseil d'administration a les pouvoirs les plus étendus pour l'administration et la gestion de l'association. Tout ce qui n'est pas expressément réservé par la loi ou les statuts est de sa compétence.

Article 19 - Le conseil d'administration peut, sous sa responsabilité, déléguer la gestion journalière de l'association à l'un de ses membres ou à un tiers, membre ou non.

Le conseil d'administration peut, sous sa responsabilité, déléguer la représentation de l’association à l'un de ses membres ou à un tiers, membre ou non. Tout administrateur ainsi délégué peut individuellement valablement représenter l’association.

Article 20 - Les actes qui engagent l'association autres que ceux de gestion journalière sont signés, à moins d'une délégation spéciale du conseil, soit par le président, soit par trois administrateurs, lesquels n'auront pas à justifier de leurs pouvoirs à l'égard des tiers.

TITLE VII - Bylaws[edit]

Article 21 - Un règlement d'ordre intérieur pourra être présenté par le conseil d'administration à l'assemblée générale. Des modifications à ce règlement pourront être apportées par une assemblée générale, statuant à la majorité simple des membres présents ou représentés.

TITLE VIII - Miscellaneous dispositions[edit]

Article 22 - L'exercice social commence le premier janvier pour se terminer le trente et un décembre.

Article 23 - Le compte de l'exercice écoulé et le budget du prochain exercice seront annuellement soumis à l'approbation de l'assemblée générale, qui se tiendra le troisième samedi de janvier de chaque année.

Article 24 - En cas de dissolution de l'association, l'assemblée générale désignera le ou les liquidateurs, déterminera leurs pouvoirs et indiquera l'affectation à donner à l'actif net de l'avoir social qui devra obligatoirement être faite en faveur d'une association ayant un but analogue à celui de la présente association.  

Final and transitional dispositions[edit]

Et faisant suite immédiatement à la constitution, les fondateurs réunis en assemblée générale prennent les décisions suivantes, lesquelles ne deviennent effectives qu’à dater du dépôt de l’acte constitutif au greffe du tribunal de commerce, moment où l’association acquerra la personnalité juridique.

Premier exercice social – Le premier exercice social débutera au jour de dépôt de l’acte constitutif au greffe du tribunal de commerce, pour se terminer le trente et un décembre de l’an deux mil neuf.

Conseil d’administration Le Conseil d’Administration s’est immédiatement réuni, et ont décidés de nommer :

  • En qualité de président _________________
  • En qualité de secrétaire _________________
  • En qualité de trésorier _________________
  • En qualité d’administrateur délégué _________________

Done at ______________ on __________________.

  1. In case the number of members falls below 3, it can be dissolved by the court