Scottish law change should cover all of UK, say charity lawyers

Unincorporated associations 'should have legal personality'

Proposals to give legal personality to unincorporated associations in Scotland should be extended to the whole of the UK, according to the Charity Law Association.

The Scottish Law Commission, which advises the Scottish Government on law changes, published a discussion paper earlier this year proposing the changes, which would allow associations to contract, hold property and sue and be sued in their own names, as well as limiting the personal liability of associations' trustees.

In response, a CLA working party, chaired by Simon Mackintosh, a partner at law firm Turcan Connell, said the fact that any legislation would have to be passed in Westminster rather than Edinburgh indicated there should be a UK-wide reform of the law.

"The working party is conscious of the unintended consequences of charity law reforms that have taken place at different times in the different jurisdictions in the UK," the CLA response said. "There would be considerable cost and professional benefits in a single, comprehensive set of UK-wide legislation."

The CLA also said legal personality should be acquired voluntarily by associations if their constitutions fulfil minimum criteria.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Law Commission said it hoped to submit a report and a draft bill to the UK Government by the autumn.

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