SCoJeC today became the first charity in the Jewish Community to be approved by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).
This is a new form of legal entity that was created by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act (2005). Since April this legal form has been available to charities that are not also limited companies, and it will also become available to charitable companies from 1st January 2012. Unless it has a separate legal identity, a club or other organisation cannot enter into contracts on its own behalf, employ staff, rent or buy premises, take out a loan or insurance, or sue or be sued in court. An unincorporated organisation is only a group of individuals, and all of its legal functions are carried out by the officers of the organisation as individuals, so that its office-bearers can potentially be legally liable for its actions. Being a SCIO overcomes all these difficulties, and therefore protects the charity's Trustees from personal liability for its debts.
SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski said, "For a charity that already complies with all the legal requirements, the process of converting to a SCIO is completely painless, involving only a very small number of changes to its constitution, and no significant additional administration. It removes a significant disincentive for people to become Trustees, so that more people will be prepared to get involved in charitable governance. "We have been recommending that all charities in the community go down this path, so we are particularly pleased to have been the first to reach the goal."
For more information about SCIOs see MEMO+ Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations