Personal liability

Updated 13 May 2024

People often ask us to clarify their personal liabilities as an officer of a charity. Your personal liability depends on the structure of your charity.

As an officer, you should have a good understanding of your charity’s rules document and its legal structure. You should also understand laws that may apply to your charity such as health and safety, tax, contract and labour laws.

If your organisation is an unincorporated group, you may be personally liable for any obligations the group takes on and for any judgments made against the group by the courts.

If you are an incorporated society or a charitable trust, in general there is limited personal liability, provided decision makers act honestly, prudently, within the group's charitable purposes and not for personal gain.

Note: Make sure you are familiar with the legislative requirements that apply to your organisation’s legal structure, e.g. Incorporated Societies Act 2022(external link) and Charitable Trusts Act 1957(external link).

Some key places to learn more about personal liability are: