Search Legislation

Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2013

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The primary reason for the Act is to amend the public benefit provision of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 (“the 2008 Act”) to provide clarity on the requirement to be met in determining whether an institution is, or is not, a charity within the meaning of that Act.

4.The need for clarity on the public benefit provision was first identified when the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) sought legal opinion on the draft public benefit guidance which it is statutorily obliged to issue. Opinion was that the provision in section 3 of that Act (“the public benefit” test) created legal uncertainty arising from the inclusion of an element of the public benefit provision contained in the Scottish Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the Scottish Act”).

5.The Act amends section 3 of the 2008 Act by removing the provision taken from the Scottish Act and making provision for the determination of the public benefit requirement to be based on the law relating to charities in Northern Ireland.

6.While the primary reason for the Act is the amendment of the public benefit provision, it also provides a legislative vehicle for a number of other outstanding amendments to the 2008 Act. Company law references are amended to reflect changes made under the Companies Act 2006 since the 2008 Act was enacted. Amendments made to charity legislation in England and Wales prior to consolidation by the Charities Act 2011 are replicated to modernise language, clarify existing legislation, repeal provisions now obsolete and make consequential amendments that were previously missed.

7.The Act also makes certain other provision. It provides for the transfer of functions which are of a regulatory nature, but which still remain within the Department’s jurisdiction, to that of the CCNI. It also re-enacts provision in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 1964 that was repealed by the 2008 Act but which on reconsideration is believed to be a worthwhile mechanism for saving a charitable gift that would otherwise fail.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources