Charity trustees' functions
Produced in partnership with Francesca Quint of Radcliffe Chambers
Charity trustees' functions

The following Private Client guidance note Produced in partnership with Francesca Quint of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charity trustees' functions
  • Functions of trustees of charitable trusts
  • Basic powers of charity trustees
  • Holding charity property

There are many trusteeship roles which may arise from the structure and administration of a charitable trust, from that of a classic all-purpose trustee, to a far more limited or specialised role such as a bare trustee or nominee.

Functions of trustees of charitable trusts

In the simplest situation there is a single body of individual trustees which, in the case of a charitable, as opposed to a private trust, is not limited in number even if the trust property includes land. In this situation, the trustees are responsible for:

  1. holding the legal title to the trust property

  2. taking all banking, property management, insurance and investment decisions

  3. employing staff and entering into contracts

  4. receiving and applying the income, and (if there is a power to spend it) the capital for the purpose of meeting the administrative expenses and furthering the charity’s purposes

  5. producing the annual return and accounts

  6. otherwise complying with charity law requirements imposed on charity trustees

  7. representing the charity in the outside world

A trustee for all purposes is a ‘charity trustee’ within the meaning of section 177 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011, s177). The general rule is that, unlike the trustees of a private trust, for whom the default position is that they must act unanimously, the trustees of a charitable trust are bound by decisions