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14th November 2011

Small Charities and the Law

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A research report commissioned by the Legal Services Consumer Panel shows that small charities, i.e. those having an annual income under £1m, are finding it difficult to remember what they are obliged to do under law, resulting in an increased risk of serious problems.

In particular, the report shows that:-

1. Half of small charities have limited or no understanding of the laws applying to them. They only deal with legal issues as and when they come up;

2. The Charity Commission and umbrella bodies are the main sources of free information and support. Recent decisions relating to funding cuts may have a considerable impact on the provision of these services;

3. Free legal advice (pro bono) is often sought and appreciated by small charities. However, very small charities find it hard to access this or admit legally trained trustees;

4. Small charities are put off by legal costs so that any legal advice is usually sought on a fixed fee basis. Most small charities find legal advice given to them useful and are satisfied with the service provided.

Let Hewitsons help you

Small Charities Services: We offer a fixed fee assessment for very small charities (annual income under £10k) so you can find out if there are ways to improve your charity’s effectiveness. Further details can be found here.

Charities Health Check: We also offer anon-intrusive health check that works around you, supporting both you and your charity. The health check has been designed for charities of all shapes and sizes and covers many aspects of charity life. If you would like to discuss these and other ways Hewitsons can help you, including fixed fee advice and pro bono work, please contact Chris Knight, Head of Charities on 01604 233233 or e-mail him at