The review is expected to examine five issues highlighted by Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006, including whether some of the Charity Commission’s powers should be reformed.
The Law Commission expects to review some of the powers of the Charity Commission and the charity tribunal as part of its review of charity law.
These could include whether the Charity Commission should be able to require an organisation to change its name before registration, which it is currently able to do only after it has joined the register of charities. It might also consider the possibility of reforming the grounds on which charity trustees can be suspended or removed by the regulator and the circumstances in which a person can be disqualified from being a charity trustee.
The review is also expected to look at whether the charity tribunal should have additional powers, including the ability to suspend Charity Commission decisions or schemes while the tribunal is considering a case.
It is also expected to cover charity insolvency law, charity mergers and incorporations and charitable corporations established by royal charter.
The Law Commission is also expected to consider a number of areas in which charity trustees could have more autonomy. These include the disposal of and creation of charges relating to charity land and the making from charity funds of ex-gratia payments – payments that are not allowed by a charity’s governing document and are not strictly in the best interests of the charity.
If the project proceeds to a final report with a draft bill, the Law Commission expects this to be published in March 2016.
For any information or advice on charity accounting please contact Lesley Malkin