The Charities Act (NI) 2008 (the Act) as amended by the Charities Act (NI) 2013, is the key legislative framework containing new regulations which charities operating in Northern Ireland must abide by.
The Act provides for the establishment of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland which, since coming into being in 2009, has been given various powers including those of investigation and enforcement. The Charity Commission established the Register of Charities in December 2013 and is calling on all charitable organisations to come forward and register with it.
Not all the provisions of the Act have been introduced as further secondary legislation is required to bring all of the provisions into being, for example, the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) legal structure is not available yet and is unlikely to be for some time. Likewise the new rules for public collections and control of fundraising are not likely to be included in the Commission's strategic agenda for the next three years.
For more detailed information on the passage of the Act, including various briefing papers, please see the Charity Law Reform Timeline below.
We keep the sector informed of all key charity law updates and developments. If you need further advice on any aspect of charity regulation, please contact our Governance and Charity Advice team.