NCVO and Social Enterprise UK
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Case Study: Amnesty International UK

Name of organisation

Amnesty International UK Section

Legal form

Company limited by guarantee (CLG) without charitable status

Where, what and how

Amnesty International UK Section is a company limited by guarantee without charitable status. Historically, Amnesty has not been able to register as a charity because the promotion of human rights, until recently, was not recognised as a charitable purpose. In recent times, this purpose has been recognised by the Charity Commission as a charitable purpose but with certain restrictions which do not allow Amnesty the freedom it believes it needs.

As an incorporated entity, it is able to appropriately deal with the risks associated with a large and complex organisation. It has provisions included within its Articles of Association which prevent the distribution of profits so that all of its assets are used for the purpose of promoting human rights.


Amnesty is a democratic organisation with a large membership. Each of the members have different voting rights depending on their role. There is a sophisticated system of governance to ensure the appropriate balance of power between the different stakeholders.

Why the form fits

As a company limited by guarantee Amnesty International UK section is able to be a democratic organisation giving each member a vote, as well as protecting its social mission. As a non charity it is not obliged to comply with sometimes restrictive charity regulation.