Constitutional documents

This page gives an overview of the key documents that govern what CILIP does and how its governance works. Links further down the page will take you to these constitutional documents.

The Royal Charter

CILIP was launched on 1 April 2002, the result of a merger between the Library Association and the Institute of Information Scientists. It was granted its Royal Charter on 21 May 2002 which:

  • Sets out CILIP's purpose
  • Broadly defines the membership structure
  • Provides a fundamental framework for CILIP's governance

The Royal Charter is granted by The Queen in Council and changes must be agreed through the Privy Council and also by CILIP members voting at a general meeting.


The Royal Charter is refined by CILIP's Bye-laws which also have to be agreed by the Privy Council and by members at a general meeting. The Bye-laws expand on the framework of CILIP's governance outlined in the Charter and also confer power on the Council to make detailed Regulations on how things should be done.

General Regulations

General Regulations provide the detail about how CILIP will enact the requirements of the Royal Charter and the Bye-laws. They cover areas such as  the membership structure, professional qualifications, how meetings are run, ethical principles, disciplinary proceedings and Branch and Group Rules. 

General Regulations can, in the most part, be changed by CILIP Council without reference to the Privy Council and without a membership vote.

2014 updates

As part of the review of CILIP's governance revisions to the Royal Charter and Bye-laws were agreed by the Privy Council in November 2014. The CILIP Board also approved revisions to the General Regulations in November 2014.