Regulation of charities

The Department is responsible for the policy and legal framework for charity regulation in Northern Ireland.  The Department is also responsible for overseeing the work of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commission) which is one of the Department’s Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

In February 2020 the Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal by the Charity Commission against Madam Justice McBride’s High Court Judgment of May 2019. The Judgment found that the Charity Commissioners were the body corporate, “the Commission”, and that they do not have implied or express power to delegate their functions to staff acting alone. This means that decisions previously taken by the staff of the Commission are now unlawful.

The Minister for Communities has taken legal advice on the complex issues which the judgments have raised and secured agreement from Executive colleagues to bring forward a Bill to amend the Charities Act (NI) 2008. 

In parallel to the proposal for legislation change, the Minister for Communities has commissioned an Independent Review of Charity Regulation, to include the performance of the current Regulator.

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