Charities Bill introduced to Northern Ireland Assembly

The Northern Ireland Charities Bill 2007 is going through its first reading at the Northern Ireland Assembly today, after its introduction to the Northern Ireland Executive last month.

The bill will be made public today; it is not expected to be much different from the Charities (NI) Order 2007, which was laid before Parliament in January this year. The process had been put on hold after the restoration of devolution in May. A timetable will be announced for the passing of the bill after the debate.

The order is expected to define the terms ‘charity’ and ‘charitable purpose’ and to establish a charity commission for Northern Ireland and a charity tribunal, a body that will provide a quick and easy way to appeal against commission decisions and deal with questions independent of any dispute. The order will also create a register of charities and set out new rules on fundraising and collections.

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