Cases & Deals

London Irish Center changes to meet evolving needs and interests of city's significant Irish community

Clients The London Irish Centre

The London Irish Center has been a 'home away from home' for the city's Irish community for over fifty years. Established in the 1950's to meet the welfare needs of the huge wave of Irish immigrants arriving in the UK, the Center has had to change to meet the evolving needs and interests of the city's significant Irish community.

Jones Day has been involved in assisting with this change at a legal level. The charity's corporate governance structure has been based on a 1950's model, with a very limited range of objects no longer in line with the Center's current activities. The charity has also faced difficulties in the appointment of trustees and more generally with the division of powers within the charity.

Over the past year, we have been working with the Center to bring its constituting documents and corporate governance in to the 21st century and in compliance with charity law. We have undergone a process together with the Board of Trustees, the Charity Commission and the members themselves to set up a new charity under the new Charitable Incorporated Organization ('CIO') model.

A CIO offers the benefits of incorporation and a single regulator to charities. In the past, a charity wishing to get the benefits of incorporation would need to have formed a separate company thereby triggering company law obligations and possible dual governance structures.

Last year we drafted a new constitution for the charity which was recently approved at an annual general meeting. It includes a significant broadening of the charitable objects of the Center. It also provides for greater accountability and a significant increase in the powers of the members.

We continue to work with the Charity Commission so that the London Irish Center becomes one of the first CIOs in the UK. The final part of this project will involve making a cy pres application (updating its purpose) to the Charity Commission to permit the transfer of the Center's existing assets in to the new CIO.

This work has been very important to the public standing and on-going funding of the charity.