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Trust issues

Too many basic errors have left the charity sector swarming with conflicts of interest – and it is up to lawyers to sort it out, says Michelle Russell

27 September 2010

Any lawyer who has ever worked with a charity can testify to the commitment, energy and passion most trustees bring to their roles. Charities work at the heart of society providing huge benefits to a wide range of people and causes – from coordinating pro bono legal work to protecting some of our most precious heritage sites.

This work, which is likely to become even more important during the coming months of public spending austerity, would not be possible without the dedication of those volunteering as trustees of charities. However, while the overwhelming majority of trustees do their best for their charities, we are still seeing that many are not aware of or not complying with their legal duties. Some trustees are not taking these duties seriously enough.

As the regulator, it is the role of the Charity Commission to investigate mismanagement or misconduct in charities, and to work with charities where they are at serious risk of abuse or harm. Our work reveals th...

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