Before you set up a society

Choosing a legal structure that’s right for you

If you’re setting up a community organisation – whether social, charitable, or something else – you’ll need to consider which legal structure is most appropriate for the group and its activities.

Will an unincorporated group, operating informally, be sufficient? Or will you need something more formalised, with written rules and procedures, such as an incorporated society or charitable trust?

There are a number of legal structures that may be suitable, each with its advantages and disadvantages. These include:

  • unincorporated groups
  • incorporated societies
  • trusts
  • charitable trust boards
  • companies
  • industrial and provident societies.

In considering your options it’s important to understand the benefits and implications of each, particularly when it comes to administration, tax status and legal liability.

Before making a decision you should seek professional legal advice.

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