A Cardiff-based organisation that promotes human rights, justice, sustainability and international development has strengthened its governance structure with the help of Geldards.
With origins dating back to the aftermath of the First World War, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs had been operating as a charitable trust, but the trustees decided that the creation of a new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) would best serve the organisation in the future.
With help from specialist lawyers in the Cardiff office at Geldards, the assets, business and affairs of the original WCIA charity were transferred to a newly created CIO with the same name and branding.
Martin Pollard, WCIA Chief Executive, said there are many advantages of a CIO over the traditional charitable trust.
“As a result the WCIA now has a legal personality of its own, which means it can conduct business in its own name, rather than in the name of the trustees,” he explained.
“Also, a CIO’s trustees are usually personally safeguarded from the financial liabilities the charity incurs, which is not normally the case for unincorporated charities.”
Mr Pollard stressed that the change of status will have no external impact on the WCIA's work and will not affect its aims, activity plans, membership structures, accounting arrangements or ability to fundraise.
“The WCIA is most grateful to the team at Geldards Cardiff office for all their hard work and assistance in effecting a smooth transfer of operations and for the firm's generosity in providing pro bono legal services," he said.
Geldards’ Charities and Social Enterprise team acts for all types of charitable organisations. Giselle Davies, heads the team and explained: “I am delighted that my team was able to support the work of WCIA by dealing with their transition to a corporate body in order to provide a safe platform for the future development of the organisation and the excellent work they undertake for the people of Wales.”
Huw Williams, a Partner in Geldards’ Public Services team, added “The Welsh Centre for International Affairs has a distinguished history.
“It is appropriate in this centenary year to recall that the WCIA is the successor to the League of Nations Union, a voluntary organisation which supported the League’s work to preserve peace in the wake of the First World War.
“Through our community and social responsibility programme, we were pleased to be able to assist the organisation by providing pro bono legal advice on a modernised governance structure to underpin its important work in fostering international peace and understanding.”
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