May 31, 2013

The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 (“2008 Act”) received Royal Assent on 9th September 2008 and is being phased in by a series of Commencement Orders. To date, three Commencement Orders have come into effect. Each Commencement Order gives a date by which each section of the 2008 Act becomes “live”.

The above Commencement Orders have brought into operation the establishment of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (“the Commission”) and enabled the Commission to issue guidance on the public benefit test which is one of two conditions institutions must satisfy in order to be recognised as a charity under the 2008 Act. Further these Orders have brought into operation the provisions which confer regulatory, investigatory and enforcement powers on the Commission.

In June 2012, the Commission referred a technical problem with the wording of the 2008 Act regarding public benefit to the Department of Social Development for consideration Recently the subsequent amendments made by the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 have allowed for the consultation of the pubic benefit and registration guidance to start. This development has also meant that registration of charities in Northern Ireland should commence at the beginning of autumn 2013.

For more information please contact Patricia Cronin at Cleaver Fulton Rankin telephone number 028 9024 3141 or email