New protection for Scottish legacies proposed

February 17, 2023

New legal provisions which will help to protect Scottish legacies are expected in proposals brought forward by the Scottish Government.

At present in England and Wales a register of mergers managed by the Charity Commission helps to ensure that legacies to charities which have merged are not lost to the intended beneficiaries. No such provisions exist in Scotland, but new moves to introduce a similar register are now planned.

The Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill contains the new provisions which, if enacted, will go some way to providing protection in Scotland for charity legacies where beneficiaries merge.

Responding to the Scottish Parliament on the proposals, ILM said:

“ILM welcomes the introduction of a register of mergers in Scotland. A register of mergers has been part of the legislative framework in England and Wales for some time now and is a vital part of how charities can ensure that their legacy income is protected when charities merge. The lack of such a register in Scotland has put Scotland behind its neighbours south of the Border. The introduction of a register is a positive move.”

The Bill was introduced in late 2022 and is expected to complete its progress through the Scottish Parliament in the autumn of 2023. It will then go for Royal Assent. We expect that the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) will publish guidance in late 2023 or early 2024 once the register is ready for use. Once the final shape of the new Scottish register of mergers is clear, we will share more information with members to keep you up to date.

If you would like to read our detailed response to the Scottish Parliament on the proposed new register of mergers you can do so here [pdf].

With thanks to Gavin McEwan at our corporate partners Turcan Connell.

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