On 1 May 2018, Jersey's Charities Law will open for the registration of charities in the Island. The Charities Law positions Jersey at the forefront of the rapidly evolving philanthropy sector and clearly demonstrates a forward-thinking approach.
It has paved the way for the establishment of a voluntary and innovative system of charity registration, and the appointment of a Charity Commissioner, Mr John Mills CBE.
Clearly attitudes in relation to the public profile attached to philanthropy vary from one family to the next, with some being keen to publicise their giving initiatives, whilst others preferring to remain anonymous. This is recognised by the Charities Law, which sets itself apart by offering a restricted section of registration, which is not available in the UK: this will be for entities that do not solicit donations from the public and will provide for a reduced level of information to be accessible on the public register.
The Charities Law introduces a new definition of charitable purposes, and Jersey Finance, together with the Government of Jersey and representatives from seven Jersey Finance Member firms, is working on legislation (which it is hoped will be in place by the end of the year) to apply this definition to the Trusts Law, so that charitable trusts can benefit from it.
In the interim, charitable trusts will be created in accordance with the customary law principles which have long been established in the Island. For those wishing to seek registration as a charity, the charities test contained within the Charities Law will also need to be satisfied. Alternative options will include the use of non-charitable purpose trusts and foundations, with purposes drawn from the Charities Law list of charitable purposes, both of which will be able to seek registration as a charity.
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