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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12076
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I built a free community interested in a specific

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I built a free community for people interested in a specific hobby, and both our online and offline/live activities are attracting a lot of attention from companies who want to support us e.g. provide free venues for events related to the hobby.
There is absolutely no money involved and I intend to keep it 100% free and simple, so I thought of structuring it as an "unincorporated association".
However, is an "unincorporated association" sufficient to protect the group in case of any legal issues? What's the best structure and legal "protection" I can create for this community to stay out of trouble, without turning this hobby into a job?
Thank you for your question.
An unincorporated association would be OK other than it wouldn't avoid individuals such as yourself incurring personal liability. I would suggest a company limited by guarantee. That is a company which doesn't have shares. The members of the company each guarantee the company's obligations to a maximum amount, usually one pound. If th company runs into difficulties, the individual members are personally protected from liability.
I hope that helps.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear JGM,Thank you for your reply, though I am still a bit confused or unclear about whether this would result in becoming an occupation:- If I wanted to create it as a company limited by guarantee, wouldn't that require that it has an office and managers or owners, e.g. myself?- If I run the community for free (no money spent or received), during my free time, and if every community participant agrees to a disclaimer, what sort of personal liability could I incur and how else could I protect myself if I chose to keep it unincorporated?The reason I am asking this follow up is that it's paramount that running this community stays a hobby and does not become an actual job or occupation, because I am already employed in a full-time position that doesn't allow me to have second job.Hope this clarifies
Thanks for your reply. Suppose just as an example you occupy a premises and someone causes damage. If you were the name on the let you could incur personal liability. a company limited by guarantee has to have a director but it is no more an occupation than if you were the head of an unincorporated association. A company limited by guarantee has the added advantage of removing personal liability on your part.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you once again. Final clarification: why is the "company limited by guarantee" better than the CIO or "charitable incorporated organization"? The latter seems less complex?
Appreciate your time and patience
It isn't better or worse than a CIO if you seek charitable status. The guarantee company doesn't require you to establish charitable status. The CIO does.
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