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LAW ON PUBLIC ORGANISATIONS, June 11, 1998, No. VIII-785 (official translation)

CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE 1. Objective of the Law

1. This Law shall establish the basic principles of the founding, activity and ending of activity of public organisations.

2. The Law shall not be applicable to political parties, other political organisations, trade unions, religious communities, associations and centres, and also legal persons established in accordance with the statutes or canons of traditional religious communities, associations and centres, those communities, organisations, or associations, charitable organisations, charitable and sponsorship foundations, the procedure of founding and activity whereof shall be established by other Republic of Lithuania laws.

ARTICLE 2. Concept of Public Organisation

A public organisation shall be a voluntary association of Republic of Lithuania citizens and (or) foreigners permanently residing in the Republic of Lithuania, formed in order to satisfy and implement the common needs and goals of members which shall not be contrary to the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

ARTICLE 3. The Principles of Public Organisation Activity

1. Public organisations shall act in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, this and other laws and decrees of the Government and shall base their activities upon the public organisation bylaws, registered according to the procedure established by this Law.

2. Public organisations shall be prohibited from establishing themselves and engaging in activity if their purpose or manner of activity are aimed at overthrowing or changing the constitutional order of the Republic of Lithuania or violating the integrity of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, propagating war and violence, and authoritarian or totalitarian rule, inciting racial, religious and social dissent, restricting human rights and freedoms and also, performing actions that are contrary to the laws of the Republic of Lithuania and universally-recognised norms of international law, acting in the interest of other states, if these shall contradict the interests of the Lithuanian state.

3. It shall be prohibited to found public organisations whose members are uniting on the basis of organisations that have acted against the independence of the Republic of Lithuania and the integrity of its territory.

4. Governing bodies and headquarters of a public organisation must be located within the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.

5. Record keeping of public organisations shall be conducted according to the law.

CHAPTER II. FOUNDING OF PUBLIC ORGANISATIONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THEIR ACTIVITY

ARTICLE 4. Founding of Public Organisations

1. Natural persons who have been listed in part one of Article 2 of this Law, who have reached the age of 18, may become founders of public organisations.

2. Initiators of the establishment of a public organisation shall call a constituent convention, conference or meeting, in the course of which laws shall be adopted and administrative bodies elected.

3. Lithuanian branches (subdivisions) of international public organisations whose goals, manner of activity and bylaws shall not contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania or the provisions of parts 2 and 3 of Article 3 of this Law, may be founded in the Republic of Lithuania All of the provisions of this Law shall apply to registration and activity in Lithuania of Lithuanian branches (subdivisions) of international public organisations.  

4. A public organisation shall be considered founded from the date of registration of its bylaws.

ARTICLE 5. Founding of Subdivisions of Public Organisations

1. The procedure of founding of public organisation subdivisions, including those which also possess the rights of a legal person, shall be established in the bylaws of the public organisation.

2. A subdivision of a public organisation shall be considered founded from the time when a decision to found a subdivision is adopted, in accordance with the procedure established in the bylaws of a public organisation.

3. The public organisation which has founded a subdivision and having the rights of a legal person shall submit no later than within 15 days, a request to the executive institution of the municipal authority according to the location of the subdivision, to register the bylaws (statutes). All of the provisions of this Law shall apply to a subdivision having the rights of a legal person, additionally submitting a copy of the registration of the public organisation and decision to found a subdivision. The public organisation, which has founded such a subdivision shall inform the institution which has registered the bylaws of this organisation, of the registration thereof, no later than within 15 days.

ARTICLE 6. Unions of Public Organisations

1. Public organisations shall have the right to unite into unions of public organisations.

2. Two or more public organisations shall have the right to found a union of public organisations.

3. Public organisation unions shall be founded and act according to the procedure established by this Law.

4. In wishing to found a public organisation union, public organisations must, according to procedure established in their bylaws, adopt a resolution to unite into a union and to authorise an organisation governing body or its own member (members) to participate in a constituent meeting, conference or meeting of the public organisation union.

ARTICLE 7. Name and Symbols of a Public Organisation

Name and symbols of public organisations in the process of being newly founded and their unions must differ from those already-registered in the Republic of Lithuania political parties and political organisations, other public organisations and their union names and symbols.

ARTICLE 8. Members of Public Organisations

1. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and (or) foreigners permanently residing in the Republic of Lithuania who have reached the age of 18 may become members of public organisations.

2. Members of public organisations whose activity supplies the needs of children and youth, or persons participating in the activity of these organisations, may also be under 18 years of age.

3. Members of public organisations shall have equal rights, regardless of the size of the amount of entrance or member (participant) fee they pay, or whether they provide support.

4. Members of public organisations may leave the public organisation at any time. In this eventuality, membership fees or funds transferred to the organisation otherwise shall be non-refundable.

5. A person designated in the bylaws and elected according to the procedure established in the bylaws shall represent the public organisation.

6. A person designated in the bylaws of the public organisation and appointed by its governing body or its chief, must keep the list of organisation members which must be freely accessible to every member of the organisation.

ARTICLE 9.  Public Organisation Bylaws

1. Public organisation bylaws must include:

1) name, symbols and address of headquarters;

2) legal activity principles, goals, tasks and activity territory;

3) procedure and conditions for acceptance, leaving and exclusion of public organisation members or participants;

4) rights and obligations of members and participants;

5) procedure for establishment, reorganisation and termination of the activity of subdivisions, relations between governing bodies of subdivisions and public organisations and rights of subdivisions;

6) procedure and frequency of convocation of the highest governing bodies (convention, conference, meeting), and its competence;

7) procedure of electing other governing bodies and their heads and the competence thereof;

8) accountability of governing bodies and their heads to the highest governing body of the public organisation and control procedure of their activity;

9) sources of funds and income and procedure of control of funds and income use;

10) procedure of amendment and supplement of bylaws;

11) procedure of conclusion of activity and property utilisation.

2. Other regulations of public organisation activity may also be included in the bylaws provided they shall not contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, this or other laws.

3. In the event that, following adoption of new laws, the public organisation bylaws, fail to conform with these laws, the public organisation shall be obliged to co-ordinate its bylaws with adopted laws, at the nearest meeting, conference and congress of the authorised governing body. The public organisation shall be guided by (shall apply) the norms of laws, rather than bylaws, during the period in which the bylaws of the public organisation shall remain uncoordinated with the newly-adopted laws.

ARTICLE 10. Public Organisation Rights

1. In order to implement the goals and tasks stipulated in the bylaws of public organisations, public organisations according to the procedure established by laws shall have the right to:

1) disseminate verbal, written or any other type of information concerning their own activity and propagate the goals and tasks of the organisation without any interference;

2) establish public information media and engage in publishing;

3) organise: meetings, pickets, demonstrations, processions, various marches and other peaceful and unarmed meetings and mass events;

4) purchase or otherwise acquire assets necessary for its activity, use them, manage them and dispose of them;

5) engage individuals to carry on activities stipulated for in the bylaws;

6) obtain funds or other assets from international public organisations, non state organisations, foundations, as well as individuals;

7) found (become founder of) enterprises, which shall be registered and functioning in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Lithuania;

8) establish foundations.

2. Public organisations may engage in other necessary activity, as well, in order to implement, according to the procedure established by laws, the goals and tasks provided for in their bylaws, excepting that which is prohibited by laws.

ARTICLE 11. Guarantees of Public Organisation Activity

State institutions and officials, political parties and political organisations and other organisations and individuals shall be prohibited from interfering in public organisation activity and internal activities thereof if these do not contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania or other laws. The court shall resolve the disputes arising between a public organisation and its members, a public organisation and other legal or natural persons.

ARTICLE 12. Limitations of Public Organisation Activity

Public organisations shall be prohibited from:

1) implementation of state functions, state institution or its officers' functions;

2) implementation of trade union functions;

3) arming its members, organising of military training for them and formation of military detachments, except in instances provided by laws;

4) receiving funds or other assets, allocated by governments and administrative institutions or national organisations of other states, with the exception of funds or other assets intended for the support of science, studies, culture, education, sport, health care, social protection and labour, environmental protection and other instances stipulated by legal acts.

ARTICLE 13. International Relations of Public Organisations

According to their bylaws, public organisations may join international public (non national) organisations, whose goals and activity do not contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this and other laws, in order to maintain relations with public organisations of other states, as well as with international organisations, and to form agreements with them, provided they do not contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and this and other laws.

ARTICLE 14. Assets of Public Organisations

1. According to property right, public organisations may possess buildings, equipment, publishing facilities, printing facilities, transportation means, social and charity objects, as well as other assets, necessary for the implementation of the goals and tasks indicated in their bylaws, that may be acquired for public organisation funds and also, through gifts, inheritance or other legal means.

2. The funds of public organisations shall be comprised of:

1) membership fees, as stipulated in the bylaws;

2) gift funds (contributed) by natural persons, charitable organisations, and charitable foundations;

3) gift funds (contributed) by non national and international public organisations;

4) interest from credit institutions from public organisation funds deposited there;

5) loan capital funds;

6) other legally acquired funds.

3. State administration and governing institutions and municipal authorities may allocate funds to public organisations only towards implementation of specific cultural, educational, sports, health and other social or special purpose programmes, and in other instances stipulated by laws. These funds may be used solely for the implementation of these programmes and other purposes for which the funds have been allocated, and only, in accordance with the confirmed estimate of the state institution which allocated the funds. The utilisation of funds must be accounted for according to the requirement of the institution which allocated them, by submitting some documents confirming their use.

4. Assets and funds of public organisations must be utilised for the implementation of the goals and tasks specified in their bylaws and shall not be allocated to members of this organisation, in any form.

5. Once the public organisation ends its activity, after having satisfied all of the creditor demands of the public organisation being dissolved and having settled with all of the persons who had been employed according to labour contracts, the remaining assets and funds shall be transferred to another or other public organisations, whose goals are close to the goals declared in the bylaws of the organisation being liquidated and, in the event there are no such organisations, to other public organisations or charitable organisations and charity and sponsorship foundations.

ARTICLE 15. Liability of Public Organisations

1. A public organisation shall be held liable for its obligations by with all of the assets in its possession.

2. A public organisation shall not be held liable for obligations incurred by its members, while the members shall not be held liable for obligations incurred by the public organisation.

3. A public organisation, which has caused damages to natural or legal persons, must compensate such by means of its own assets, in accordance with the procedure established by laws.

ARTICLE 16. Legal Regulation of Work of Persons Employed by Public Organisations

1. Work contracts shall be drawn up with the employees hired by public organisations, according to the procedure established by laws.

2. Persons, employed by public organisations, according to a labour contract, shall have the right to social insurance and other rights and guarantees, which have been established by laws, for those employed in national enterprises, institutions and organisations.

3. For these purposes, public organisations pay the same type of contributions from their income, to the state social insurance fund, as do the state enterprises, institutions and organisations.

CHAPTER III REGISTRATION OF THE BYLAWS OF NON GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS

ARTICLE 17. Procedure of Registration of Public Organisation Bylaws

1. The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania shall register the bylaws of a public organisation whose activity extends beyond more than one county territory.

2. The county governor shall register the bylaws of a public organisation whose activity extends beyond more than one municipal county and whose headquarters are located in the county centre or another territory of the county, namely a city or rural settlement.

3. The municipal executive institution shall register the bylaws of a public organisation whose activity encompasses the territory of one region or city.

4. The public organisation shall file with the appropriate state institution an application regarding bylaws registration no later than within a one-month period from the day of adoption of bylaws and election of governing bodies. In accordance with the bylaws, the application shall be signed by a person representing the public organisation, who shall indicate his permanent place of residence.

5. The following shall be included with the application: a protocol of the constituent meeting, conference or convention four copies of the public organisation bylaws, list of the founders including the first name, surname, personal code, place of residence, signature, certificate attesting the granting of premises to the public organisation and examples of symbols or their sketches.

6. In submitting an application for registering the bylaws of the union of a public organisation, copies of founder registration certificates and their decisions concerning their joining the union of public organisations shall be submitted.

7. In wishing to register the bylaws of a Lithuanian department (subdivision) of an international public organisation , the following shall be submitted along with the application: a document confirming the legal registration of the bylaws of this organisation and the decision by the administrative bodies to establish its department in Lithuania.

8. The state institution which registers the bylaws, shall examine the application for registration of bylaws within a period of one month from the day of receipt of all the documents indicated in this Article. The state institution which registers the bylaws shall have the right to verify documents submitted for registration and the documents indicated therein.

9. The head of the organisation, elected according to the procedure stipulated in the bylaws of the public organisation, shall sign the application to register bylaw amendments and supplements. Added to the application may be: a protocol of the convention, conference, meeting by the administrative body, having the right, according to the bylaws of the organisation, to change the bylaws, decision of the administrative body of the public organisation having the right to convoke a convention, conference, and meeting and bylaw amendments and supplements. 

10. Amendments and supplements in public organisation names, symbols and bylaws shall be registered in the same procedure and with same time limits as the bylaws. Changes in bylaws and symbols shall become effective from the day of the registration thereof.

11. The state institution which registers the bylaws of public organisations, shall manage the register of these organisations. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania shall establish the procedure of register management.

ARTICLE 18. Postponement of Bylaw Registration

1. Registration of the bylaws of a public organisation shall be postponed if:

1) procedure for founding of a public organisation, specified in Articles 6, 7, and 9 has not been adhered to;

2) all of the data specified in Article 9 of this Law, are not included with the bylaws which have been submitted for registration.

2. Following a postponement of bylaw registration, the state institution registering the bylaws shall return the bylaws and other documents to the founders of the organisation, and include a written listing of existing shortcomings. These shortcomings must be corrected no later than within a one-month period.

3. Following presentation of the corrected bylaws and other documents, their investigation time limit shall be computed anew, from the day of the presentation of the corrected bylaws and documents, as indicated in Par. 8 of Article 17 of this Law.

4. Should it become apparent during the registration of law amendments, that some internal disputes have arisen within the organisation, the state organisation registering the bylaws, shall postpone the registration thereof until such time as the organisation shall resolve them.

ARTICLE 19. Refusal to Register Bylaws

1. The bylaws of public organisations shall not be registered if:

1) the goals and tasks, and modes of activity indicated therein shall contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, this or other laws and decrees of the Government of Lithuania;

2) public organisation bylaws shall have been previously registered under the same title;

3) requirements of Chapters 4 and 17 of this Law shall not have been adhered to;

4) data of the documents presented for registration shall not reflect the truth.

2. Upon refusal to register the bylaws, applicants shall be notified in writing, no later than within 5 days from the adoption of the decision and specific reasons for refusal shall be furnished.

3. The refusal to register the bylaws of a public organisation may be appealed in court within a period of one month from the day of receipt of such refusal.

ARTICLE 20. Status of Public Organisations

1. Public organisations and their subdivisions established as legal persons, and their unions shall be legal persons from the day of registration of the bylaws.

2. Public organisations shall have their own balance sheet, their own name stamp and their own settlement and currency accounts and other accounts at banks, registered in the Republic of Lithuania and also some accounts in foreign countries according to the procedure established by legal acts.

CHAPTER IV. SUPERVISION OF PUBLIC ORGANISATION ACTIVITY

ARTICLE 21. Supervision of the Financial Activity of a Public Organisation

1. Financial activity of public organisations is supervised by state tax inspectorates, insofar as this concerns tax payments.

2. In the event the public organisation receives funds from the state budget, municipal budget, and also state enterprises, institutions and organisations, the state shall have the right to look into the utilisation of such funds.

ARTICLE 22. Warning Concerning Violation of the Constitution or Laws of the Republic of Lithuania

1. The state institution which has registered the bylaws of the public organisation, having established that the public organisation or its subdivision has violated the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this or any other laws, shall inform the governing body of the public organisation of this, in writing, and shall set a time limit for the elimination of the indicated violations. The state institution which had registered the bylaws shall be informed of the reprimand. Upon elimination of indicated violations, the public organisation shall inform the institutions which had warned it and had registered its bylaws.

2. In the event the violation shall fail to be eliminated within the set time limit, the state institution which had registered the bylaws of the public organisation, must upon the recommendation of the state institution which had issued the reprimand, appeal to court regarding suspension of the activity of the public organisation.

3. Should the violations fail to be removed over the course of a one-year period from the day of suspension of activity, the public organisation or a subdivision thereof, will again be held in violation of the Republic of Lithuania Constitution, the state institution which had registered the public institution’s bylaws, shall have the right to appeal to court to terminate the activity of the public organisation.

4. In deliberating whether the public organisation may continue activity upon the expiration of the term of its suspension based upon a court decision, the state institution, which had registered the bylaws of the public organisation, shall have the right of appeal to other state institutions and obtain their conclusions.

ARTICLE 23. Court Examination of Appeals Regarding The Registration of Public Organisation Bylaws, Reorganisation of Public Organisation or Court Examination of Activity Termination based upon a Decision by the Organisation

1. The court shall examine appeals regarding illegal registration of bylaws of a public organisation, reorganisation of a public organisation or termination of activity based upon a decision of the organisation. No fewer than one-third of the public organisation’s members, shall have the right to appeal in court, concerning illegal registration of organisation bylaws, recognition as invalid of the decision by the governing bodies of the public organisation on reorganisation or terminating of organisation activity. Such appeals may be submitted to court no later than one month following adoption of the decisions being appealed.

2. The state institution that has registered the bylaws of the public institution and consequently, has determined that the data submitted for registration of bylaws, did not reflect reality, shall have the right to appeal in court concerning the termination of the public organisation’s activity.

CHAPTER V. SUSPENSION AND ENDING OF THE ACTIVITY OF A PUBLIC ORGANISATION

ARTICLE 24. Conclusion of Public Organisation Activity

1. Public organisation activity may end:

1) upon adoption of a decision, to reorganise the public organisation, i. e. to divide it into several new public organisations or to join it to another public organisation, according to established procedure;

2) upon adoption of a decision to terminate activity, in accordance with the procedure stipulated in the public organisation’s bylaws; 

3) upon adoption of a court decision to terminate the public organisation’s activity.

2. This Law and the bylaws of public organisations shall set the basis and procedure for the reorganisation of public organisations as well as termination of public organisation activity.

ARTICLE 25. Reorganisation of a Public Organisation

1. In dividing it into several new organisations or joining it to another public organisation being reorganised, only the supreme body of authority of a public organisation shall have the right to adopt a decision concerning reorganisation of a public organisation by means of dividing it into several new organisations or joining it to another public organisation.

2. Should the public organisation be reorganised by means of dividing it into several new organisations, its funds and property shall be allocated to the new organisations, according to the procedure established in the bylaws of the public organisation. If this question is not regulated in the bylaws of the public organisation being reorganised, the funds and property shall be apportioned to new organisations based upon a decision by the supreme body of authority, which shall be adopted concurrently with the decision to reorganise the public organisation.

3. In deliberating the issue of the ways of dividing reorganisation of a public organisation, the supreme authorities of the public organisation must concurrently decide what the name of the public organisation shall be and what symbols this organisation shall use.

4. Upon division of a public organisation into several new organisations, the bylaws of newly-created public organisations shall be registered according to the procedure established by this Law. Public organisations shall be considered founded from the day of their registration.

5. Should a public organisation join another public organisation, its property shall become the property of the organisation, to which it shall be joined.

6. Upon adoption of a decision according to the procedure established in the bylaws, of terminating the activity of a public organisation, its property shall be used according to the procedure established in the bylaws, if the laws shall not stipulate otherwise.

ARTICLE 26. Separation of the Subdivision of a Public Organisation from a Public Organisation and Termination of its Activity

1. A subdivision of a public organisation, also possessing the rights of a legal person, shall have the right to separate from a public organisation and become a new public organisation, if this is stipulated in the public organisation bylaws. The person representing the subdivision of a public organisation, must serve notification in writing, no later than within 5 days after the decision to separate has been taken, to the highest governing body of the public organisation from which it is separating, and also, to the executive institution of the municipal government of the territory where the headquarters of this subdivision is located.

2. The subdivision of a public organisation loses its former name and symbols, from the day the decision is taken, according to the procedure established in the bylaws of the public organisation, to separate. According to the procedure, established by this law, such a subdivision shall be registered as a new public organisation.

3. According to the procedure established in its bylaws, a public organisation may at any time, terminate the activity of its subdivisions, which also possess the right of a legal person. If the public organisation bylaws contain the provision that the property and funds of such subdivisions also including those which possess a legal person's rights, become the public organisation rights. If the bylaws of the public organisation do not provide for the disposition of the property and funds of a subdivision, whose activity is being terminated, the question of their utilisation shall be resolved according to the procedure established by laws.

ARTICLE 27. Suspension or Termination of Public Organisation Activity by Court Decision

1. Suspension or termination of activity of a public organisation activity may be effected by court decision.

2. An application regarding suspension, or termination of activity of a public organisation shall be exempt from charges.

ARTICLE 28. Reasons for Suspension of Public Organisation Activity

1. A court may suspend the activity of a public organisation, if the latter or a subdivision thereof, fails to eliminate by the appointed time, the violations stipulated according to competence by a state institution, of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this and other laws, or continues illegal activity, following receipt of admonition concerning termination of an activity, which happens to be in violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this and other laws.

2. The activity of a public organisation may be suspended for a period not to exceed six months.

ARTICLE 29. Consequences of Suspension of Activity

1. When suspension of public organisation activity, is in effect, the public organisation and subdivisions thereof shall be prohibited, throughout the entire term of suspension, from the use of any of the mass media, organising meetings, use of funds held in the accounts of the public organisation or a subdivision thereof, administering and disposal of the assets and funds belonging to the public organisation and subdivisions thereof.

2. Suspension of activity of a public organisation, included in the union of public organisations, shall not result in any legal consequences for this union, provided no fewer than half of the public organisations within the union, have not had their activity suspended.

3. When the activity of a public organisation union is suspended, the public organisations, included within, shall act according to their own bylaws only.

4. Upon expiration of the time limit set by the court for the suspension of activity of a public organisation, the public organisation shall inform in writing, the state institution which had registered it, that it has eliminated the causes, as a result of which its activity had been ordered by the court to be suspended. The public organisation whose activity had been subject to suspension, may continue its activity only after the state institution, which had registered the bylaws of said organisation, shall certify that those causes which have been instrumental in the suspension of the activity of the public organisation, have been removed, and that it shall permit this public organisation to continue its activity. Refusal to permit continuation of this public organisation’s activity, issued no later than within a period of 10 days from its adoption, may be appealed in court.

ARTICLE 30. Termination of Activity of a Public Organisation

1. A court may terminate the activity of a public organisation if:

1) the public organisation, or its subdivision, whose activity has been suspended by court decision, is in violation of the requirements indicated in Article 29 of this Law;

2) the public organisation or its subdivision, has been in violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this or other laws, within the period of one year from receipt of admonition concerning violation of laws.

3) it shall come to light, upon registration of the bylaws of a public organisation that the data submitted for registering the bylaws do not correspond to the truth.

2. Having adopted a resolution to terminate the activity of a public organisation, the court shall appoint liquidators and establish their authorisation.

3. The assets and funds of the public organisation whose activity has been terminated by court decision, shall be used according to the procedure established by laws.”