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Certificate in Charity Law and Governance

ICSA: The Governance Institute


What will I learn?


'People in a leadership position in a medium, large or complex charity need this technical knowledge. I now have a much better sense of what the requirements and pitfalls are, what to look for and the differences between corporate and charity law. It has enabled me to effect continuous improvement within my own organisation.'Student, CEO, Housing Trust

Free affiliateship

Students who successfully complete the Certificate in Charity Law and Governance qualification are eligible for 12 months free affiliateship. Continue to benefit from the knowledge and support of our governance and compliance community.


The ICSA Level 4 Certificate in Charity Law and Governance qualification (equivalent to first year undergraduate) is an introductory programme that has been developed for individuals working in charities (registered and unregistered) in England and Wales. It is ideal for those working in roles affected by legal regulation and governance issues and for those with governance responsibilities.

The qualification introduces the legal framework within which the law and regulation of charities and charitable activity in England and Wales is set, and it covers the key components of effective governance in charities in relation to issues such as generating income and managing assets.

The qualification comprises six compulsory modules followed by one exam that tests knowledge of all six modules. Successful completion of all six modules results in the awarding of a certificate.


The ICSA Level 4 Certificate in Charity Law and Governance syllabus comprises six modules covering key aspects of charity law and governance:

  • Module 1: Charity Law
  • Module 2: Structures and Legal Forms
  • Module 3: Compliance and Regulation
  • Module 4: Governance
  • Module 5: Sources of Income (Generating Resources)
  • Module 6: Stewardship of Funds and Assets

Assessment of the course is via one exam (3 hours with an extra 15 minutes reading time), taken in June and November each year. The exam paper contains a mixture of short- and extended-answer questions.


This course is based around a self-study model, and therefore requires a significant commitment to study, on top of the provided webinar sessions.

Recommended study time for the whole course is 200 hours (which includes all webinar sessions and the examination), which is approximately 6-9 months of study.

Why study with ICSA?

Every ICSA registered student gets the following study support:

  • Access to past papers, suggested answers and other study materials via MyICSA, the secure area of our website especially for ICSA students and members.
  • Access to module-specific webinars and recordings, presented by the examiner of the module.
  • A comprehensive study skills e-book
  • Free study support webinars in areas such as planning your study and exam techniques.


Receive 50% off your course fee with a bursary from ICSA

Supported by The Chartered Secretaries’ Charitable Trust, ICSA are delighted to offer a £750 bursary to one eligible student for the next exam session (June 2018).

To apply for an ICSA bursary, your charity must:

  • be registered with the Charity Commission
  • have submitted its last three annual returns to the Commission on time
  • have a gross annual income in the region of £10,000 - £100,000
  • be able to provide £750 towards your qualification fee

What do I need to know?

The ICSA Level 4 Certificate in Charity Law and Governance qualification is open entry, which means you do not need any prior qualifications to register on it, although it does help to be working in a related field.

Course info


Course Provider Diploma/Certificate/Award (this must include an assessed element)

Study Hours

200 hours

Study mode




Total time for completion

Variable - to suit the learner

More info on price

*Additional fees will apply for exam re-sits and postponements. Additional fees Postponement fee (per exam): £75 Resit fee (per exam): £150 Deferment (per exam): £25

Who runs this course?



The ICSA has been supporting governance professionals for over 125 years. Our globally respected programme delivers the authoritative training  and  qualifications that build careers. Whatever your experience, we can help you develop your understanding of the law, compliance, governance and administration. In addition to the courses and qualifications offered here, ICSA is a community of 15,000 professionals and over 100 local branches around the world. ICSA Qualifications  Our core qualification is the internationally recognised  ICSA Qualifying Programme which leads to chartered status and full membership of ICSA. It can be studied through classroom-based tuition, online

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