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The rules on trustee disqualification

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Use this page to find out about the rules on the automatic disqualification of trustees and senior managers.

In January 2018, the Charity Commission published guidance on the rules on the automatic disqualification (a person is disqualified from acting as a charity trustee or holding a senior management position within a charity, if certain legal disqualification reasons apply to them, based in England and Wales) of trustees and senior managers.

One of the biggest changes made by the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 was to extend automatic disqualification to:

  • more circumstances
  • a wider range of people.

The law came fully into force on 1 August 2018.

Read the Charity Commission guidance on the rule on automatic disqualification of trustees and senior managers.

Who is disqualified by law?

Being automatically disqualified means that an individual cannot be a charity trustee, or a charity senior manager.

The Charity Commission doesn’t need to do anything – once the condition applies, and until it ceases to apply, an individual is disqualified unless the Commission gives them a waiver (a waiver brings a person’s disqualification to an end).

Individuals are automatically disqualified as charity trustees or senior managers if at least one of the following points apply.

  • If they have unspent convictions for offences of dishonesty or deception (an offence of dishonesty or deception is one where dishonesty or deception must be proved for someone to be convicted. It doesn’t just mean dishonesty or deception was involved in committing the offence). The same goes for attempting, aiding or abetting (encouraging or assisting someone to commit) these offences. Theft is a good example: dishonesty must be proven for a defendant to be found guilty.
  • If they have previously been removed as a trustee, charity officer, agent or employee, by the Commission or the High Court due to misconduct or mismanagement (or the Scottish equivalents).
  • If they are currently declared bankrupt or subject to bankruptcy restrictions or an interim order
  • If they are subject to a debt relief order, a debt relief restrictions order or interim order
  • If they are disqualified from being a company director.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 28 June 2022

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