Q&As

Does the definition of 'Charity' in Northern Ireland vary from the definition in England & Wales, eg in section 1 of the Charities Act 2011?

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Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 23/09/2016

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does the definition of 'Charity' in Northern Ireland vary from the definition in England & Wales, eg in section 1 of the Charities Act 2011?
  • Northern Ireland

In England and Wales, the definition of ‘Charity’ is governed by section 1 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011). It provides that a charity means an institution which is established for charitable purposes only and is subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction in respect to charities. In other words, the institution must be established for purposes which are exclusively charitable and is subject to the control of the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales (eg in relation to cy-pres schemes).

Unless the context otherwise admits, an institution for these purposes means an institution whether incorporated or not, and includes a trust or undertaking (CA 2011, s 9(3)(4)). In practice charities are structured as either trusts, unincorporated organisations, unincorporated associations or charitable companies.

By CA 2011, s 2, charitable purposes means purposes which are for the public benefit and fall within any of the descriptions in CA 2011, s 3, namely:

  1. the prevention or relief of poverty

  2. the advancement of education

  3. the advancement of religion

  4. the advancement of health or the saving of lives

  5. the advancement of citizenship or community development

  6. the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science

  7. the advancement of amateur sport

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