ARTICLES OF THE SOCIETY
As per June 2012
"GESELLSCHAFT FÜR FORENSISCHE SCHRIFTUNTERSUCHUNG (GFS)"
(Society for the Forensic Examination of Writing)
founded on 14 October 1951 as
"Fachverband freiberuflicher gerichtlicher Sachverständiger eV. "
(Association of Freelance Forensic Experts)
and renamed in 1967
"Fachverband der Sachverständigen für gerichtliche Schriftuntersuchung e.V."
(Association of Experts on Forensic Examination of Writing)
Article 1: Name
The Society bears the name "Gesellschaft für Forensische Schriftuntersuchung (GFS)" and is listed in
Article 2: Domicile
The registered domicile of the Society is Frankfurt on the Main,
Article 3: Purpose and Tasks
(1) The Society promotes the forensic examination of writing in research and practice and represents the interests of the writing-examination profession. “Writing-examination” includes also in the broader sense fields of “document-examination”.
(2) The Society pursues its objectives particularly by:
1. Congresses and meetings, which shall serve the purposes of research, further education and the exchange of professional experience;
2. Observance and fostering of professional ethics, promotion of the reputation of the profession as well as the development and implementation of appropriate measures of quality management in forensic writing examination within and outside of the GFS in order to protect the public from insufficiently qualified persons;
3. Informing the public on specialised questions, in particular by supporting the public prosecutor's offices, courts and chambers of industry and commerce, and by assisting in the appointment of experts;
4. Promotion of and participation in the regulatory procedures for the training and examination of forensic writing experts;
5. Bringing about state or state-recognised regulations for the licensing of forensic writing experts;
6. Co-operation with relevant associations.
Article 4: Membership
(1) The Society comprises ordinary members, candidate members, associated members and honorary members. Membership is not restricted to any nationality.
(2) To become an ordinary member, the aspirant must
1. be recommended for admission by at least two existing ordinary members,
2. prove that he/she possesses the particular qualification to compile appropriate expert reports in the field of forensic writing-examination. Proof of qualification must include 100 expert reports to be compiled alone or under supervision;
3. have at his/her disposal the facilities required for the activities of a forensic writing expert;
4. have suitable aptitudes;
5. have his/her financial situation in order;
As proof of his/her professional ability, the candidate shall undergo an examination before the Examining Board of the Society. In place of this examination, the Board may intend to recognize an equivalent qualification achieved at another institution. Equivalency is determined by the professional guidelines of the GFS. When the Board supports the admission as ordinary member without examination, the Board shall notify this decision including its reasons to the Examining Board. If there is no consent to the need of an examination between Board and Examining Board an examination has to be taken. The result of the examination is binding for the Board. The Board makes the formal decision on admission as an ordinary member; the decision does not have to be explained and is non-appealable.
(3) Persons who are still in training can be admitted as candidate members of the Society upon the recommendation of two ordinary members. The Board shall decide on the question of admission. Candidate members have no electoral rights. Candidate-member status shall not last longer than five years. To be admitted as an ordinary member, the candidate must have studied for at least three years and satisfy the requirements of Article 4 Paragraph 2.
(4) Persons who are committed to the tasks and objectives of the Society, but cannot wholly satisfy the requirements for ordinary membership, can apply for associated membership. The Board shall decide about admission. The decision does not have to be explained and is nonappealable. Associate members have no electoral rights and may not call upon the services of the Society as a professional organisation.
(5) Before admission, the Rules of the Society are to be made known to the applicant and accepted by him/her in writing.
(6) Persons who have rendered outstanding services to the forensic examination of writing can be appointed as honorary members. The appointment to honorary membership shall be effected by application of the Board at a Meeting of Members.
Article 5: Rights and Obligations of Members
(1) The members particularly have the following rights:
1. Participation in all events held by the Society according to available capacities.
2. To make applications to Meetings of Members.
3. Right to vote at Meetings of Members.
4. Active and passive electoral rights.
5. The use of all facilities acquired in the interests of the members and for their education according to available capacities.
6. To carry the title "Expert on Forensic Examination of Writing (GFS)".
7. Inclusion in the list of experts of the Society and the use of its stamp.
Rights Nos. 6 and 7 become void when the member has reached the age of 75 years. In justified exceptional cases, the Board may grant an exception. Rights Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 are restricted to ordinary members.
(2) Ordinary members have the following obligations:
1. Promotion of the objectives and tasks of the Society, as laid down its Articles. The member shall refrain from any activity which might damage the reputation of the Society.
2. Observation of the rules of the Society.
3. Presentation of a paper on the subject of the forensic examination of writing, worthy of publication, or performing an active contribution at a meeting of the Society at least every three years. (This condition does not apply to candidate members, associate members and honorary members).
4. Proof of continual, self-initiated professional further education in research and practice and use of appropriate examining methods.
5. Participation in the proficiency tests offered by the GFS e.V.
6. Acceptance of regulations of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee of the Society.
Article 6: Membership Fees
(1) Membership fees for members and associate members are set by the Meeting of Members on the recommendation of the Board for the coming two years.
(2) Candidate members and associate members pay half of the fee applicable to ordinary members.
(3) Fees are due at the beginning of each calendar year and are to be remitted without extra demand to the treasurer within three months.
(4) The Board can grant exemptions from payment of membership fees, wholly or partly, in justified circumstances, for individual members or candidate members.
(5) Honorary members are exempt from the payment of membership fees.
Article 7: Termination of Membership
(1) Membership shall be terminated by resignation, expulsion or death of member.
(2) Termination of membership is possible only at the end of a calendar year and must be announced three months in advance of same.
(3) The Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee decides on the expulsion of a member. Any ordinary member or the Board may submit an application for the expulsion of a member. Requests for expulsion must be explained in writing. Reasons for expulsion are at hand, if a member
1. has made false statements during his/her admission proceedings;
2. does not fulfil his/her obligations as a member Article 5 Paragraph 2. When an ordinary member does not meet the obligations of Article 5 Paragraph 2(3) even after a given period of time; instead of expulsion from the Society the Board may offer the member the status of an associated member;
3. acts contrary to the aims and purposes of the Society;
4. commits dishonourable or criminal acts;
5. has not paid the membership fees after the due date and three written demands, whereas the last demand has to be sent by registered letter. If a registered written demand cannot be delivered because a change of address has not been made known to the Society, the reminder shall be regarded as valid.
(4) Expulsion from the Society can be contested by the member concerned within one month. Such appeals are to be made to the Meeting of Members (Article 8 of the Regulations of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee), whose decision is final.
Article 8: Organs of the Society
The organs of the Society are:
1. The Meeting of Members
2. The Board
3. The Examining Board
4. The Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee
Article 9: The Meeting of Members
(1) The Meeting of Members is the highest organ of the Society and has jurisdiction in all matters unless the Articles of the Society gives jurisdiction to another organ. In particular, it receives the activity report from the Board and the financial report, selects the treasurer, decides upon discharging the Board and upon applications of other organs and members, and decides upon the dissolution of the Society.
(2) The Ordinary Meeting of Members takes place once a year. It is called and chaired by a President or a Vice-President. If possible, it should be combined with a scientific working meeting. The Meeting of Members is called in writing or electronic, stating the agenda, with two months' notice. Proposals for the agenda are to be sent by an
ordinary member in writing or electronic at least four weeks before the scheduled date.
(3) The Board can call Meetings of Members in its own right. It is obliged to do this if one third of ordinary members applies for it.
(4) Meetings of Members have the power of decision, regardless of the number of members present. Decisions are passed by a relative majority of votes. The majority is measured only by the number of "yes" and "no" votes cast. Abstentions do not count.
In divergence of this rule, amendments to the Articles of the Society can only be passed by a three-quarters majority at a Meeting of Members, at which one third of all ordinary members must be present.
(5) Minutes shall be written for each Meeting of Members and signed by the Chairperson and the recorder of the minutes.
Article 10: The Board
(1) The Board consists of the President, the Vice-President, the Chairperson, the Treasurer and the Co-ordinator of congresses and meetings. In accordance with Section 26 of the German Civil Code, the "Board" is the President and the Vice-President.
(2) The Board is elected by the Meeting of Members for a period of two years. Re-election is possible.
(3) Decisions of the Board are passed by a majority of votes cast by the Board members. If there is parity of votes, the President's vote shall decide, in his absence the Vice-President's vote.
(4) The Board shall conduct the affairs of the Society on an honorary basis.
Article 11: The Examining Board
(1) The Examining Board consists of three ordinary members elected by the Meeting of Members for a period of two years. Re-election is possible. A maximum of one member of the Examining Board may also be a member of the Board.
(2) The Examining Board sets the specific contents of the respective examinations, which must be approved by the Board.
Article 12: The Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee
(1) The Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee consists of three ordinary members and two deputies. Members of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee may not be members of the Board. They are elected by the Meeting of Members for a period of two years. Re-election is possible.
(2) It is the duty of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee to protect the interests of the Society and its members. It shall convene on request of an ordinary member or the Board (Article 2 Paragraph 1 of the Regulations of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee).
(3) The Arbitration and Disciplinary Committee shall devise rules of procedure, which must be approved by the Board.
Article 13: Dissolution of the Society
(1) The dissolution of the Society can only be decided upon by a Meeting of Members specially called for this purpose with two months' notice and with a majority of three quarters of all ordinary members, in person or in writing.
(2) If the Society is dissolved or annulled, or if its previous purpose is no longer valid, its assets shall pass to a body which will use them for the purposes specified in Article 3 of the Articles. The decision about this shall be taken by the Board after seeking the approval of the competent Tax Office.
changed on 24 June 1999
changed on 26 May 2005
changed on 03 June 2010
changed on 07 June 2012