The Voluntary Organisations (Amendment) Act, 2018 (the "Act") was promulgated on the 6th November, 2018 to amend the Voluntary Organisations Act and to make consequential and other amendments to the Civil Code and to the Second Schedule to the Civil Code, the Public Collections Act, the Notarial Profession and Notarial Archives Act, the Arbitration Act and the Companies Act.
The Act introduces categories of voluntary organisations ("VOs"), namely, government organisations, religious organisations and political organisations. It also incorporates new definitions for lawful purpose, market levels and market conditions and permissible private benefit.
New rules have been introduced vesting the Commissioner for VOs (the "Commissioner") and the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector with legal personality.
The concept of mandatory enrolment has been introduced. VOs may be obliged to enrol with the Office of the Commissioner whilst all other VOs are obliged to notify the Commissioner of their existence.
The Act incorporates the MONEYVAL Regulations, introducing provisions which combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and which give the Commissioner powers to investigate such matters.
Minors who attain the age of 16 years may now establish VOs and may vote in Annual General Meetings of such organisations.
The Act introduces new provisions to regulate VOs and foundations involved in cryptocurrencies. These organisations may receive financial income from innovative technology and other commercial or trading activities. They are also exempted from the general prohibition of such organisations being established for trade. These amendments follow on recent amendmentsto the Civil Code and the Voluntary Organisations Act made with the introduction of the new crypto laws in Malta, which endowed foundations and VOs with the capacity to issue tokens and carry out trading activities resulting from such operations.
The Act eliminates the concept of private interest in VOs and regulates permissible private benefits, the principles of remuneration, the principles regarding shares and other interests and fiduciary obligations.
Amendments have also been made to the provisions regulating public benefits and private foundations.