REGISTRATION OF CHARITIES AND PROVISIONS FOR INQUIRING INTO CHARITIES
—(1) The Commissioner shall continue to keep a register of charities in which shall be entered such particulars as he may from time to time determine of any charity registered therein.
(2) There shall be entered in the register every charity not excepted by subsection (4); and a charity so excepted may be entered in the register at the request of the charity, but (whether or not it was excepted at the time of registration) may at any time, and shall at the request of the charity, be removed from the register.
(3) Any institution which no longer appears to the Commissioner to be a charity shall be removed from the register with effect, where the removal is due to any change in its purposes or trusts , from the date of that change; and there shall also be removed from the register any charity which ceases to exist or does not operate.
(3A) The Commissioner shall refuse to register an institution as a charity —
if it appears to the Commissioner that the registration of the institution will be contrary to the public interest; or
on such other ground as the Minister may prescribe.
(3B) The Commissioner shall remove an institution from the register of charities —
if it appears to the Commissioner that the continued registration of the institution as a charity is contrary to the public interest; or
on such other ground as the Minister may prescribe.
(4) The following charities are not required to be registered:
any charity specified in the Schedule; and
any charity which is excepted by regulations made under this Act.
(5) Any application to the Commissioner for a charity to be registered shall be accompanied with copies of its trusts (or, if the trusts are not set out in any document, particulars of them) and such other documents or information as the Commissioner may require for the purpose of the application.
(6) It shall be the duty of —
the charity trustees of any charity which is not registered nor excepted from registration to apply for it to be registered, and to supply the documents and information required by subsection (5), within 3 months after its establishment or such longer period as the Commissioner may, in his discretion, allow; and
the charity trustees (or last charity trustees ) of any institution which is for the time being registered to notify the Commissioner if it ceases to exist, or if there is any change in its trusts, or in its particulars entered in the register, and to furnish the Commissioner with particulars of any such change and copies of any new trusts or alterations of the trusts, within 7 days after such cessation or change or such longer period as the Commissioner may, in his discretion, allow,
and any person who makes default in carrying out any of the duties imposed by this subsection shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction, and the Commissioner may by order require that person to make good that default.
(7) The register (including entries cancelled when institutions are removed from the register) shall be open to public inspection at all reasonable times, except in so far as regulations otherwise provide.
(8) The register of charities may be prepared and kept in such manner as the Commissioner may think fit, including in electronic form in a computer.
(9) Where any information contained in the register is not in documentary form, subsection (7) shall be construed as requiring the information to be available for public inspection in legible form at all reasonable times.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 5]
—(1) An institution shall, for all purposes other than rectification of the register, be conclusively presumed to be or have been a charity at any time when it is or was on the register of charities.
(2) Any person who is or may be affected by the registration of an institution as a charity may, on the ground that it is not a charity, object to its being entered by the Commissioner in the register, or apply to the Commissioner for it to be removed from the register; and such objection or application shall be made or dealt with in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations made under this Act.
(3) An appeal against any decision of the Commissioner to enter or not to enter an institution in the register of charities, or to remove or not to remove an institution from the register, may be brought in the High Court by the persons who are or claim to be the charity trustees of the institution, or by any person whose objection or application under subsection (2) has been disallowed by the Commissioner; and a copy of every notice of such appeal shall be transmitted to the Attorney-General.
(4) If there is an appeal to the High Court against any decision of the Commissioner to enter an institution in the register, or not to remove an institution from the register, then until the Commissioner is satisfied whether his decision is or is not to stand, the entry in the register shall be maintained, but shall be in suspense and marked to indicate that it is in suspense; and for the purposes of subsection (1) an institution shall be deemed not to be on the register during any period when the entry relating to it is in suspense under this subsection.
(5) Any question affecting the registration or removal from the register of an institution may, notwithstanding that it has been determined by a decision on appeal under subsection (3), be considered afresh by the Commissioner and shall not be concluded by that decision, if it appears to the Commissioner that there has been a change of circumstances or that the decision is inconsistent with a later judicial decision, whether given on such an appeal or not.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 6]
—(1) The Commissioner may, with respect to a charity to which this subsection applies, give a direction requiring the name of the charity to be changed, within such period as is specified in the direction, to such other name as the charity trustees may determine with the approval of the Commissioner.
(2) Subsection (1) shall apply to a charity if —
it is a registered charity and its name (referred to in this Act as the registered name) is the same as, or is in the opinion of the Commissioner too like, the name, at the time when the registered name was entered in the register in respect of the charity, of any other charity (whether registered or not);
the name of the charity is in the opinion of the Commissioner likely to mislead the public as to the true nature of —
the purposes of the charity as set out in its trusts ; or
the activities which the charity carries on under its trusts in pursuit of those purposes;
the name of the charity includes any word or expression which in the opinion of the Commissioner is likely to mislead the public in any respect as to the status of the charity;
the name of the charity is in the opinion of the Commissioner likely to give the impression that the charity is connected in some way with the Government or any public authority, or with any other body of persons or any individual, when it is not so connected; or
the name of the charity is in the opinion of the Commissioner offensive,
and any reference in this subsection to the name of a charity is, in relation to a registered charity, a reference to the name by which it is registered.
(3) Any direction given by virtue of subsection (2)(a) shall be given within 12 months of the time when the registered name was entered in the register in respect of the charity.
(4) Any direction given under this section with respect to a charity shall be given to the charity trustees; and on receiving any such direction the charity trustees shall give effect to it notwithstanding anything in the trusts of the charity.
(5) Where the name of any charity is changed under this section, it shall be the duty of the charity trustees to notify the Commissioner, within 7 days after such change or such longer period as the Commissioner may, in his discretion, allow, of the new name of the charity and of the date on which the change occurred.
(6) A change of name by a charity under this section shall not affect any rights or obligations of the charity; and any legal proceedings that might have been continued or commenced by or against it in its former name may be continued or commenced by or against it in its new name.
(7) Any reference in this section to the charity trustees of a charity shall, in relation to a charity which is a company, be read as a reference to the directors of the company.
(8) Where any direction is given under this section with respect to a charity which is a company, the direction shall be taken to require the directors of the company to take the necessary steps to effect the change of the name of the company, including applying to the Registrar of Companies for the reservation and approval of the new name under section 27 or 378 of the Companies Act (Cap. 50), as the case may be.
(9) Nothing in this section shall apply to an exempt charity.
[UK Charities Act 1993, s. 6]
—(1) The Commissioner may from time to time institute inquiries with regard to charities or a particular charity or class of charities, either generally or for particular purposes.
(2) The Commissioner may either conduct such an inquiry himself or appoint a person to conduct it and make a report to him.
(3) For the purposes of any such inquiry, the Commissioner or a person appointed by him to conduct the inquiry may by order require any person —
to furnish accounts and statements in writing with respect to any matter in question at the inquiry, being a matter on which that person has or can reasonably obtain information, or to return answers in writing to any questions or inquiries addressed to him on any such matter, and to verify any such accounts, statements or answers by statutory declaration;
to furnish copies of documents in his custody or under his control which relate to any matter in question at the inquiry, and to verify any such copies by statutory declaration; and
to attend at a specified time and place and give evidence or produce any such documents,
and any person who fails to comply with any requirement specified in the order shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.
(4) For the purposes of any such inquiry, evidence may be taken on oath, and the person conducting the inquiry may for that purpose administer oaths, or may instead of administering an oath require the person examined to make and subscribe a declaration of the truth of the matters about which he is examined.
(5) Where the Commissioner proposes to take any action in consequence of an inquiry under this section, the Commissioner may publish the report of the person conducting the inquiry, or such other statement of the results of the inquiry as he thinks fit, in any manner calculated in his opinion to bring it to the attention of persons who may wish to make representations to him about the action to be taken.
(6) A copy of the report of the person conducting an inquiry under this section shall, if certified by the Commissioner to be a true copy, be admissible as evidence of any fact stated in the report, and as evidence of the opinion of that person as to any matter referred to in the report, in any legal proceedings instituted by the Commissioner under section 25 and in any legal proceedings instituted by the Attorney-General in respect of a charity.
(7) A document purporting to be a certificate issued for the purposes of subsection (6) shall be received in evidence and be deemed to be such a certificate unless the contrary is proved.
(8) If any person wilfully alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys any document which he may be required to produce under this section, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 7]
—(1) The Commissioner may, for the purpose of discharging his functions under this Act, by order —
require any person to furnish the Commissioner with any information in his possession which relates to any charity; and
require any person who has in his custody or under his control any document which relates to any charity —
to furnish the Commissioner with a copy of or extract from the document; or
unless the document forms part of the records or other documents of a court or public authority, to transmit the document itself to the Commissioner for his inspection.
(2) The Commissioner shall be entitled without payment to keep any copy or extract furnished to him under subsection (1); and where a document transmitted to him for his inspection relates only to one or more charities and is not held by any person entitled as trustee or otherwise to the custody of the document, the Commissioner may keep it or may deliver it to the charity trustees or to any other person who may be so entitled.
(3) The Commissioner or any officer authorised by him in that behalf shall at all times have full and free access to all buildings, places, books, documents and other papers for the purpose of discharging his functions under this Act, and may, without payment, inspect, copy or make extracts from any such books, documents or papers.
(4) The Commissioner may take possession of any books, documents or papers where in his opinion —
the inspection, copying thereof or extraction therefrom cannot reasonably be performed without taking possession;
the books, documents or papers may be interfered with or destroyed unless possession is taken; or
the books, documents or papers may be required as evidence in proceedings for an offence under this Act or any regulations made thereunder.
(5) The Commissioner may require any person to give orally or in writing, as may be required, all such information concerning any charity as may be demanded of him by the Commissioner for the purposes of this Act.
(6) The rights conferred by this section shall, in relation to information recorded otherwise than in legible form, include the right to require the information to be made available in legible form for inspection or for a copy or extract to be made of or from it.
(7) Any person who fails to comply with any requirement specified in any order under subsection (1) or any requirement under subsection (5) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.
(8) Subject to section 11(2), no person shall by virtue of this section be obliged to disclose any particulars as to which he is under any statutory obligation to observe secrecy.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 8]
—(1) Any person who knowingly or recklessly provides the Commissioner with information which is false or misleading in a material particular shall be guilty of an offence if the information is provided —
in purported compliance with a requirement imposed by or under this Act; or
otherwise than as mentioned in paragraph (a) but in circumstances in which the person providing the information intends, or could reasonably be expected to know, that it would be used by the Commissioner for the purpose of discharging his functions under this Act.
(2) Any person who wilfully alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys any document which he is or is liable to be required, by or under this Act, to produce to the Commissioner shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) Any person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
(4) In this section, references to the Commissioner include references to any person conducting an inquiry under section 8.
[UK Charities Act 1993, s. 11]
—(1) Subject to subsection (2) and to any express restriction imposed by or under any other written law, a body or person to whom this section applies may disclose to the Commissioner any information received by that body or person under or for the purposes of any written law, where the disclosure is made by the body or person for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Commissioner to discharge any of his functions.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not have effect in relation to the Comptroller of Income Tax; but the Comptroller may disclose to the Commissioner the following information:
the name and address of any institution which has for any purpose been treated by the Comptroller as established for charitable purposes;
information as to the purposes of an institution and the trusts under which it is established or regulated, where the disclosure is made by the Comptroller in order to give or obtain assistance in determining whether the institution ought for any purpose to be treated as established for charitable purposes; and
information with respect to an institution which has for any purpose been treated as so established but which appears to the Comptroller —
to be, or to have been, carrying on activities which are not charitable; or
to be, or to have been, applying any of its funds for purposes which are not charitable.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), the Commissioner may disclose to a body or person to whom this section applies any information received by him under or for the purposes of any written law, where the disclosure is made by the Commissioner —
for any purpose connected with the discharge of his functions; and
for the purpose of enabling or assisting that body or person to discharge any of its or his functions.
(4) Where any information disclosed to the Commissioner under subsection (1) or (2) is so disclosed subject to any express restriction on the disclosure of the information by the Commissioner, the Commissioner’s power of disclosure under subsection (3) shall, in relation to the information, be exercisable by him subject to any such restriction.
(5) This section shall apply to the following bodies and persons:
any Government department;
any statutory authority;
any police officer; and
any other body or person discharging functions of a public nature (including a body or person discharging regulatory functions in relation to any description of activities).
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting any power of disclosure exercisable apart from this section.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 10]