Statuts / Statutes

Statutes and Rules of Procedure as amended in Cambridge August 2022

Further down are RULES OF PROCEDURE and information about the PRIZE OF THE A.I.H.

Statutes etc. to be downloaded in PDF format:


The International Academy of Heraldry was founded in 1949 to bring together specialists who are competent in heraldry and who represent the various cultural areas of the world. It is governed by the following statutes:

Article I – Form

The International Academy of Heraldry (hereinafter the Academy) is an association within the meaning of Articles 60 and following articles of the Swiss Civil Code: it is a legal entity.

Art. 2 – Purpose

The Academy aims to centralise scientific studies and research in the field of heraldry on the basis of the widest possible international cooperation, and to disseminate the results. It aims to define the place of heraldry in the modern organisational chart of the human sciences, to study interdisciplinary correlations, to coordinate research, to define trends, to provide researchers with appropriate working instruments.

Art. 3 Headquarters and duration

The Academy has its international headquarters in Switzerland, at the place set by the Council: its duration is indefinite.

Art. 4 Members

1. The Academy shall be composed of competent specialists who have a qualified interest in heraldic art and science. It includes full members and associate members.

2. Full members are called “academicians”: their number is a maximum of 99.

3. The number of associate members shall not be limited.

Art. 5 Membership Entry

1. The Academy shall select its members on the basis of their scientific competence and equitable geographical distribution.

2. All applications shall be addressed to the Secretary General of the Academy in writing and each applicant shall have a proposer and a seconder, both of whom shall be an academician. The rules of procedure shall lay down the procedures for the application.

3. The Council will examine each application and submit it to the General Assembly together with its proposal: this proposal shall indicate in particular whether the candidate should be appointed academician or associate member.

4. The General Assembly shall decide without having to state the reasons for its decision. To be admitted, the candidate must receive the votes of at least two-thirds of the academicians present or represented.

5.  The names of academicians and associate members shall be made known publicly and internationally.  By accepting to become an academician or associate member the individual is deemed to have consented to the distribution of this information and should immediately inform the Secretary General if any of the information is incorrect.

6.  Each academician or associate member shall provide the Secretary General with information regarding their status, name, address, position, academic degrees and any relevant post-nominals.  Each academician or associate member, by accepting to join the Academy, consents to the Secretary General retaining such registers with this and other information which may be necessary for the internal workings of the Academy.  Each academician or associate member shall be asked to consent to such information being published on a members’ only section of the website.

Art. 6 Exit of members

1. Any member may leave the Academy by announcing his or her intention to the President by the end of the year.

2. Any member who has not paid the dues for three years, despite reminders, shall be considered to have resigned from his or her membership.

3. On a proposal from the Council, the General Assembly may exclude a member with immediate effect without giving reasons for its decision.

Art. 7 General Assembly – organisation

1. The General Assembly of the Academy shall meet at least once a year.

2. Notice of the General Assembly of the Academy shall be given one month in advance by the Council. The General Assembly shall be chaired by the President or, in the President’s absence, by one of the Vice-Presidents.  In the absence of both the President and the Vice-Presidents the meeting shall be chaired by any other member of Council appointed by those members of Council present.

3. Academicians and associate members may participate in the debates but only academicians vote on the resolutions. They may be represented by another academician by means of a written proxy indicating the name of the representative. The latter uses his powers freely without an imperative mandate. Each academician may not have more than five votes in addition to his or her own.

4. The Assembly shall sit validly regardless of the number of academicians present or represented. A minimum quorum of two-thirds of academicians is required for dissolution to be valid.

5. The Assembly shall take its decisions by a two thirds majority of the votes of the academicians present or represented, taking into account any reduction in votes. The President shall take part in the ballots and have a casting vote. A show of hands shall be held unless a secret ballot is requested by at least three members.

Art. 8 General Assembly – competence

1. The General Assembly is the supreme power of the Academy.

2. The General Assembly shall hear and approve the activity report and the financial report of the Council for the period under review.

3. The General Assembly shall elect from among the academicians, for a term of five years, the members of the Council: they shall be eligible for re-election.

4. It shall appoint a President from among the members of the Council for a term of five years: that President shall be eligible for re-election.

5. It shall fix the subscriptions of academicians and associate members for the following year.

6. It shall adopt and amend the statutes by a two-thirds majority of the academicians present or represented.

Art. 9 The Council – organisation

1. The Council of the Academy shall consist of at least seven members: it shall meet when necessary.

2. It shall appoint from amongst its members two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary General and a Treasurer.

3. Notice of a meeting of Council shall be agreed by the President, a Vice-President, or in their absence, by the most senior member of the Council.

4. It shall be chaired by the President, a Vice-President or, in their absence, by the most senior member of the Council.

5. The Council shall sit validly when at least half of its members are present or represented. Each member shall be entitled to one vote which, if the member cannot be present, may be given to another member as a proxy vote, but a member of the board may not have more than two votes in addition to his or her own.

6. The Council shall take its decisions by an absolute majority in the first round and relative majority in the second. The President shall vote in the ballot and shall have a casting vote.

7. The Council may take its decisions by way of circulation, unless a member requests a general discussion.

Art. 10 The Council – competence

1. The Council shall implement the decisions of the General Assembly, administer and represent the Academy, determine its course of action, ensure the international relations of the institution and establish the programme of activities of the Academy.

2. It shall draw up written minutes of its sittings and general meetings: these minutes shall be signed by the person who presided over the sitting or meeting and their drafter.

3. It shall ensure the international cooperation undertaken by the Academy or under its auspices and the proper implementation of any commitments entered into this field.

4. It shall be responsible for anything not within the competence of the General Assembly.

5. In case of emergency, a select executive committee shall be authorised to take all appropriate decisions within the limits of the competence of the Council: it shall be composed of the President, the two Vice-Presidents, the Secretary General and the Treasurer. The committee shall take its decisions by a majority of a minimum of three votes. Representation is excluded. Each member shall have only one vote, but in the event of a tie, the President shall have a casting vote. The President shall inform the Council of the urgent decisions that have been taken between meetings.

Art. 11  Representation

The Academy is engaged by the collective signature of two of the President or a Vice-President and a member of Council.

Art. 12  Finance

1. Dues, donations and legacies are the resources of the Academy: its members are liable only up to the amount of their dues.

2. The Academy may apply for and accept grants for the performance of certain scientific work within its competence.

3. The Council manages the finances of the Academy: it may entrust its treasurer with this management.

Art. 13 Dissolution

1. Only the General Assembly may decide on the dissolution of the Academy. It can only do so by a two-thirds majority of academicians.

2. If the General Assembly decides to dissolve the Academy, the material collected shall be offered to an institution with a similar purpose or to a large public library.

3. The available funds will be donated to charity.

Art. 14 Miscellaneous

1. These statutes repeal and replace in their entirety those of 9 February 1949.

2. In the event of a variance in the translation of the statutes, only the French version shall prevail.

3. The standards concerning the scientific activities of the Academy shall be set out in rules of procedure drawn up by Council and adopted by the General Assembly.

4. The statutes were adopted by the General Assembly held on 8 November 1965 in Paris and amended by the General Assemblies held on 5 September 1976 in Oxford, on 28 August 1980 in Copenhagen, on 28 August 2013 in Stirling and on 18 August 2022 in Cambridge.


(in force since 2022)

In view of the continuous expansion of the Academy’s framework and the international development of its action, it was necessary to revise the rules of procedure approved on 9 July 1950. Consequently, on a wish of the General Assembly of 6 November 1965, the General Assembly of 22 June 1966 adopted new rules of procedure. These were amended successively by the General Assemblies of 1 September 1967, 13 September 1969, 12 September 1974, 5 September 1976, 19 August 1984, 22 September 1998, 28 August 2013, 21 August 2015 and 18 August 2022.

Chapter I General Assembly

Article 1 – The Council fixes the place and date of the General Assemblies. It seeks to take into account a reasonable geographical rotation between the various countries represented.

Art. 2 – The minutes of the General Assemblies, regional meetings and sessions of the Council must be deposited by the Secretary General in the archives of the Academy and kept at the disposal of each academician.

Art. 3 – General assemblies are private meetings where applicants can be admitted to the Academy.

Art. 4 – Academicians have deliberative votes and associate members have an advisory voice.

Art. 5 – The Council may accept the organisation of regional meetings, under the chairmanship of an academician whom it designates for this purpose, on the occasion of a particular event.

Art. 6 – In the event of an international crisis, such as a war or pandemic recognised by the United Nations, making it dangerous, impossible or illegal to travel from one country to another, the Council has the power to decide to hold meetings of Council and of the General Assembly virtually, using electronic technology.  The Council will determine the methods for holding such virtual meetings.

Chapter II Council

Art. 7 – The five-year period (statutes, art. 8 § 3) for which each member of Council is elected ends at the General Assembly of the fifth year following that in which he or she was elected or, if this cannot take place, at the first subsequent General Assembly.

Art. 8 – Members of Council who resign from an office on Council do not automatically lose their status as a Counsellor.

Art. 9 – If necessary, the President shall be replaced, during a period which he or she cannot act, successively by the First and Second Vice-Presidents, the Secretary-General or the most senior member of Council. The same shall apply in the event of the death or resignation of the President, until the next Council meeting which will appoint a new President. The death or resignation of the Secretary General or Treasurer shall result in a new nomination to the position in question by the Council.

Art. 10 – Each member of the Council shall, at the end of his or her duties, hand over all the papers received in that capacity to the designated successor or to the Council of the Academy.

Chapter III Members

Art. 11 – In the selection of candidates, account will be taken of the skills and merits of the candidates, their personal qualities and an equitable distribution of representation, both from the point of view of geographical areas and scientific specialisations.

Art. 12 – Any person being considered for membership shall be proposed and seconded in a personal capacity by two academicians. The official procedure of the application commences only after the preliminary consent of the interested party and the lodging of personal information together with an account of the applicant’s achievements, submitted in French or English, on the standard form and should not exceed 500 words.  Each applicant is required to provide details of any orders, decorations or distinction held at the time of application.

Art. 13 – Each academician or associate member is required to inform the Secretary General of any orders, decorations or distinctions granted to him or her after election and the Council shall determine the validity of such orders, decorations or distinctions.

Art. 14 – At least one month before the date scheduled for the General Assembly the proposer sends to the Secretary-General the complete file of the candidate proposed.  The Secretary-General shall draw up a summary which he shall send to the members of the Council.  Members of Council may submit comments in writing or at the Council meeting.  The absence of a notice counts as approval. On the advice of the replies received, the President shall decide whether the application may be accepted or whether further investigation should be requested. In the first case, the application will be submitted to the General Assembly.

Art. 15 – Any candidate, unless justified exception, enters the Academy as an associate member.  The bearers of false titles, false orders or false decorations shall not be admitted as an academician or as an associate member.  The Council shall determine the validity of any titles, orders or decorations presented to it and if a decision is made on these grounds not to admit a candidate shall give the reason.

Art. 16 – The Secretary-General shall give a copy of the statutes and rules of procedure to the newly admitted members.

Art. 17 – Academicians have the right to have their name followed by the inscription “of the International Academy of Heraldry” or “AIH”, the associate members to put “associate of the International Academy of Heraldry” or “aih”.

Art. 18 – Academicians and associates must keep the Secretary-General informed of the distinctions they receive, the work they publish as well as their changes of postal or electronic address or civil status. Anyone nominated for an academic or associate seat will be required to provide an up-to-date curriculum vitae.  

Art. 19 – Each academician or associate member shall provide the Secretary-General with informationregarding their status, name, address, positions and academic degrees and any other valid post-nominals.  Each academician or associate member joining the Academy consents to the Secretary-General retaining such registers with this and other information which may be necessary for the internal workings of the Academy.  Each academician or associate member shall consent to such information being published on a members’ only area of the website.

Chapter IV Honours and awards

Art. 20 – The Academy may award, through the Council and at the proposal of one of its members, the title of “draughtsman” or “engraver” of the International Academy of Heraldry.

Art. 21 – The Academy may award prizes that will be subject to special regulations.

Chapter V International relations

Art. 22 – The Academy may take part in the organisation of international or regional congresses and conferences, devoted to science or heraldic art, or dealing with related subjects.

Art. 23 – The Academy may send observers to such events, with the letters of credentials established by the Secretary-General, and having to report on their mission to the Council.

Art. 24 – The Academy may grant its patronage to such events or exhibitions after examining the request presented for this purpose in a meeting of the Council.

Art. 25 – The representatives of the Academy to international and national organisations are appointed and dismissed by the Council: their mandate is for three years and runs from 1 January of the year of appointment: it is renewable.

Chapter VI Seats of Academicians

Art. 26 – The seats of the Academy are numbered from 1 to 99. Vacant seats will always be filled before new seats are filled.


At the General Assembly of the Academy in November 1965, it was decided to award prizes to honour heraldic works of international value. Agreements have been concluded with various personalities willing to contribute financially to the institution of these awards, usually biennial.

Materially, the prize consists of a silver plaque of about 10 x 6 cm, mentioning the name of the prize, the year of its award, the name of the laureate and the title of the crowned work, as well as the emblem of the Academy and, possibly, the arms of the donor’s family.

Several prizes were founded, of which only one is still awarded today:

Prix Paul ADAM-EVEN Founded on December 4, 1970 in Paris by Mr. and Mrs. TOINET, brother-in-law and sister of President Paul ADAM-EVEN,who died in 1964, to reward a work of international value devoted exclusively to medieval armorials by a specialist whether a member or not of the Academy.