Charity Tribunal needn’t be an ordeal

This is just a short blog to say that our guide to the Charity Tribunal is now available for all to download. We’ve worked with the tribunal’s principal judge, Alison McKenna, to produce this guide for charities. It explains when and how you can take a case to the tribunal.

The tribunal has been the subject of some controversy since it was established in 2010. For some it’s an arbiter of charity law that has the benefit of independence from the Commission. But many have lamented its costs, and recently the Public Administration Select Committee criticised it as a convenient way for the Commission to avoid making difficult decisions itself.

The key point is that if you have a disagreement with the Commission, you can turn to the tribunal to resolve it. Our guide gives you a quick overview of how the tribunal works. Taking a case to the tribunal can be quite straightforward, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on lawyers. In fact, the tribunal welcomes people presenting their own cases without the help of lawyers and will do all it can to help them. Often, if both parties are happy, the tribunal can decide a matter just by reading written submissions from the appellant and the Commission with no need for an oral hearing.

Nor will the tribunal land you with the Charity Commission’s legal costs even if they decide against you (as long as you don’t present your case ‘unreasonably’ ). To date no one appealing to the tribunal, with or without lawyers, has been required to pay costs.
The guide is here (NCVO – The Charity Tribunal) and is free for all to use.

p.s. NCVO members get many more guides such as this available free as part of their membership, which starts from just £43 a year, or free for organisations with an income under £30,000.

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Elizabeth Chamberlain Elizabeth is head of policy and public services at NCVO. She has been part of the policy team since 2008, as the expert on charity law and regulation. Her policy interests also include charity campaigning, the sector’s independence, transparency, and accountability.

One Response to Charity Tribunal needn’t be an ordeal

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