What makes a charity (CC4)

This guide outlines what the law in England and Wales says a charity is.


What makes a charity (CC4)

Flowchart: how the law decides what is a charitable purpose

Beth sy'n gwneud elusen

Legal analysis: public benefit


In England and Wales, a charity is an organisation that is:

  • established for charitable purposes only, and
  • subject to the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction

Purposes are what your charity is set up to achieve - they are explained in your governing document. To be charitable, your charity’s purposes must:

  • fall within the descriptions of purposes
  • be for the public benefit

This guidance explains what you need to think about when setting up a charity. It can also be used if you are already a charity and want to change your purposes.

Published 1 September 2013