Charity law is a specialist area of law and one that our solicitors are highly experienced in. As one of the largest and oldest law firms in Cornwall, we have helped hundreds of charitable organisations establish themselves over the last 200 years.

Setting up a charity involves many intricate steps. Because people are relying on you to use their donations of money, resources and time for the betterment of a cause, it is important to do everything by the book. Our solicitors will work with you to ensure your charity is set up correctly – we can help you choose the right charity structure, put in place the appropriate constitutional documents and register your charity with the Charity Commission.

Once your charity is up and running, we can advise on all aspects of charity law, including general governance and day to day management issues, including trustees’ powers and duties.

Before setting up, it is important to consider whether charity status is the best option for your organisation. Strict rules apply to how charities can operate and these may negatively affect how you want to run your not-for-profit organisation. If a charitable structure does not suit your needs, our solicitors are skilled in dealing with other forms of social enterprise, including Community Interest Companies (CICs).

Our solicitors can advise you on setting up and running a charity or social enterprise. We encourage long-term relationships with our clients and as the founder of the Nalders Foundation, we have a strong first-hand understanding of charity law that we strive to pass onto the community for their benefit.

We can assist you with any legal issues your charity or social business may face.

To find out more about how we can advise you on charity law matters, please fill in our contact form, or phone our Truro office on 01872 241414.

Choosing Your Structure

We can help you choose the right legal structure for your charity or social business, whether this be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), Community Interest Company (CIC), company limited by guarantee, charitable trust or unincorporated association.

Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO)

CIOs were created in response to requests from charities for a new structure which could provide some of the benefits of being a company, but without some of the burdens. Previously, charities that wished to have the benefit of being a separate legal personality, and give their directors/trustees the benefit of limited liability, would incorporate as a company limited by guarantee. This would mean having to register with both the Charity Commission and Companies House. A CIO, however, only has to register with the Charity Commission, but still has separate legal personality (like a company).

Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) status enables a charity to enter a contract as an independent entity and limits the responsibility of the charity’s members for any debt and liabilities the charity may obtain. As a CIO does not need to be registered with the Companies House, it is not required to file annual accounts.

Community Interest Company (CIC)

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a platform that is suitable for organisations that operate purely for the benefit of society and reinvest all the proceeds of the organisation back into the community.

The core features of any company holding CIC status are;

  • Assets owned by the company are held in an asset lock which secures those assets to applications for the good use of community
  • Limitations applied to dividend and interest payments made to shareholders and financiers ensure a profit can be made, but the primary focus remains on achieving benefit for the community


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