Who is a Charity Trustee?

Charity trustees are the people who ultimately exercise control over, and are legally responsible for, the charity.

Who is a charity trustee?

Charity trustees are the people who ultimately exercise control over, and are legally responsible for, the charity.

  • If the charity is a company, these people may also be known as directors or board members.
  • In an unincorporated association – an association that has a legal form with a governing document – they may be known as committee members.  In the case of a trust it can be more complicated.  If the trustees of the trust are the ones who decide policy and control the assets, then they are also charity trustees.

If you are unsure as to whether you are a charity trustee or not, then it is important that you check the legal structure of your charity to clarify your position and consult your charity’s constitution or deed of trust (‘governing document’).

At the end of September 2018 there were more than 60,000 charity trustees in the Republic of Ireland.

If you are a charity trustee check your charity’s entry on the Register of Charities to ensure your details are correctly recorded.

What are the legal duties of a charity trustee?

Charity trustees have specific duties under the Charities Act 2009 and must make sure that their charity complies with the requirements of other relevant legislation.

To read more on legal duties of a charity trustee, see our Guidance for Charity Trustees document.

Legal duties of a charity trustee

Other relevant legislation includes:

  • data protection legislation;
  • employment legislation; and
  • health and safety legislation.

Where a charity is a company, a charity trustee who is also a director of the company has additional duties under company law and common law in their capacity as company directors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for charity trustees