Scottish charity law
This section contains information about the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (as amended).
The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005
The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005(the 2005 Act), which received Royal Assent on 14 July 2005, is the first comprehensive piece of legislation dedicated to the governance of charities in Scotland. The 2005 Act established the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), the independent registrar and regulator for charities in Scotland, taking over this responsibility from HM Revenue Customs (HMRC) and the Scottish Charities Office.
The Act contains a legal definition of charity (the charity test), as well as setting out the duties and responsibilities of charity trustees.
The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010
The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 makes a number of changes to Scottish charity law, including removing the prohibition on the purchase of trustee indemnity insurance.
The majority of the provisions on charity matters came into force on 1 August 2010, with the exception of the provision on the reorganisation of restricted funds which is expected to be implemented by spring 2012.
Under Part 9 of the 2010 Act (which amends the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005):
- a charity can ask OSCR to amend or withdraw a direction
- a charity will be able task OSCR to approve a reorganisation of its restricted funds
- a charity can ask OSCR for assistance in appointing trustees where the required constitutional levers to do so are not in place
- the Court of Session can prevent a former charity trustee from ever being a charity trustee again
- the Court of Session can permit a charity to alter its charitable purpose(s)
- a charity is required to refer to its charity number on its website
- a charity can purchase trustee indemnity insurance
The Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006
The Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006(the 2006 Regulations) set out the accounts and independent scrutiny requirements for charities in Scotland. For periods commencing on or after 1 April 2011, amendments to the 2006 Regulations come into force. Access the Amendment Regulations.
Trustee indemnity insurance
Changes to the law to regularise the purchase of trustee indemnity insurance, contained in section 27 of the Public Services Reform(Scotland) Act 2010, came into force on 1 August 2010.
Charities with a prohibition on the purchase of trustee indemnity insurance within their constitutions will not be able to take advantage of this change in the law. However, charities do have the option of amending their constitutions through OSCR's consent procedures.