Many of the learned societies in England and Wales are incorporated by royal charter1. The oldest of these, the Royal Society of London, was thus incorporated by Charles II in 16622. Others have taken advantage of the provisions of the Companies Acts3. However, the majority of the literary and scientific institutions are not incorporated. Under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, incorporated friendly societies may include among their purposes the carrying on of social or benevolent activity, including fund-raising and other activities carried out for a charitable purpose
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