Jersey introduces new law to govern charities

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A new law governing the way charities operate has been introduced in Jersey after a vote by politicians.

Currently charities are unregulated with no charities law or central register.

Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, brought the law and said it would help charities flourish.

Liz Le Poidevin, from the Association of Jersey Charities welcomed the new law, saying it would better define charities.

The law will establish a charity register, giving those registered access to tax relief and the ability to describe themselves as a charity.

It will also see the creation of a charity commissioner and a tribunal. The commissioner will be responsible for determining if a body qualifies for charity status.

'Unnecessary bureaucratic burden'

It also sets rules for the duties of governors and restrictions on the use of the terms "charity" and "charitable".

She said the law would "define charities as bodies that provide public benefit, which is to the benefit of all of us or a section of us".

In the proposition, Senator Gorst said: "The draft law is intended to help protect public trust and confidence without placing an unnecessary financial or bureaucratic burden on charities or on the public purse."

The only definition of a charity in Jersey is under the income tax law, which sets out which groups can register as a charity for tax purposes and dates back to 1601.

Ms Le Poidevin said: "At the moment we're all scratching our heads about what makes a charity a charity."

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