Legal Support

Legal Support 


TrustLaw - Free legal Service 

Foundation Logo.jpgScotland's International Development Alliance is an official referral partner of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme. We have partnered with TrustLaw to facilitate free legal assistance for social enterprises and NGOs that we support.  TrustLaw  is a global programme of Thomson Reuters Foundation that connect the world's leading legal teams to provide free legal assistance to organisations working for social and environmental change. Applying and using the service is entirely free of charge.
TrustLaw works with over 600 legal teams across 175 countries that generously support the legal needs of our member organisations for free.

To access this pro bono support, you will need to sign up to their free service:

Make sure  that you indicate in your membership application that you are a member of Scotland's International Development Alliance. Since we are an official referral partner of this programme your application will be fast tracked.

For more information: 


Answers to your legal FAQs

In addition to offering access to the TrustLaw service, the Alliance is working with legal professionals to help answer our members' most common questions. If there is a topic you would like to see covered here or in our training please get in touch with us. 

How will GDPR affect me?

How do I set up a charity?

An answer has been provided by Morton Fraser LLP

What are the differences between Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOS), Community Interest Companies (CICS) and Companies?

An answer has been provided by Morton Fraser LLP

What are the legal duties of charity trustees?

An answer has been provided by Morton Fraser LLP

We have international board members, is there anything to bear in mind?

Answer provided by Turcan Connell

A key point from a practical point of view, is that you must ensure your constitution or governing document permits board meetings to take place over video-conference or other facilities if all Trustees cannot physically be in the same place. 

We regularly transfer money to our overseas partners. What do we have to consider in doing this?

Answer provided by Turcan Connell

When transferring any money, but particularly overseas, you should carry out sufficient due diligence to ensure that you have the correct recipient and bank details. International transfers often attract charges from either or both of the transmitting and receiving banks. It should be clear who is to pay these or whether they are to be deducted from the funds being transferred. Also, currency conversion may affect the amount of funds being transferred; it should be clear what is being transferred and in what currency. If time is of the essence, international transfers will generally take longer than transfers within the UK. You can mitigate the risk of international payments by transferring the funds to a UK registered charity or an NGO who can carry out work directly. From a grant-giving perspective, will there be a representative from your charity to monitor the use of funds/progress of the project being funded? If not, a robust monitoring and reporting policy should be put in place. In such cases, issuing funds in smaller instalments is good practice, with the next instalment being released subject to satisfactory reports. This allows the brakes to be applied to a funding stream if the project is not being run properly.

Charities may need to bear in mind sensitives around transferring money to sanctioned regimes.  

Although published for charities registered in England and Wales, the Charity Commission’s guidance for charities working internationally may be useful and provides guidance on international transfers.

Where can individuals get free legal advice?

The University of Edinburgh Law School runs a Free Legal Advice Centre. Indiviudals can book an appointment with a postgraduate student and supervising solicitor. 
Areas covered include Contract, Employment, Property, Wills and Inheritance, Family, Intellectual Property, Company and Commercial, Landlord and Tenant.
Please note that this service only runs at certain times of year. Find out more about this service here. 

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