About Us


Our Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement

INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR CHARITY SECTOR LAW

AN ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW

MISSION: TO PROMOTE AN ENABLING LEGAL ENVIRONMENT FOR THE CHARITY SECTOR AND CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

Formed in 2003 by legal professionals and social entrepreneurs Leon Irish and Karla Simon, ICCSL is a unique organization. It seeks to protect human freedoms by improving the legal environment for charity organizations, thus protecting organizations they fund that affect the social, economic, and cultural freedoms as well as civil and political freedoms protected under international law.

ICCSL pursues its mission through four separate but inter-related programs: The International Journal of Charity Sector Law; research and publications; technical assistance; and education and professional development.

1. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CHARITY SECTOR LAW PROGRAM

The INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CHARITY SECTOR LAW (IJCSL) program publishes IJCSL and it also supports the ICCSL Facebook Page and the ICCSL Twitter feed, where sometimes daily updates on its issues can be found.

In addition, it sponsors the ICCSL Documentation Center; the ICCSL Link Library; and symposia on important CHARITY SECTOR LAW topics.

2. THE RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS PROGRAM

ICCSL research has resulted in the publication of numerous papers, book chapters, and articles on laws affecting civil society. Recent titles include --

  • CIVIL SOCIETY IN CHINA (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Christian Thought and Social Development (forthcoming 2006, NORWEGIAN INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS) (Simon)
  • Tax Rules for Not-for-Profit Organizations: A Survey of Practice (forthcoming 2005, AUSTRIAN RESEARCH SOCIETY) (Simon)
  • Reform of China’s Laws for NPOs – A Discussion of Issues Related to Shiye Danwei Reform, Z CHIN R 2005, at 71 (Simon)
  • CHINA’S TAX RULES FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS (A Study Prepared for the World Bank by Irish, Jin Dong Sheng, and Simon, 2004)
  • GUIDELINES FOR LAWS AFFECTING CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS (Irish, Kushen, and Simon) (Open Society Institute, revised, second edition, 2004) (a detailed outline of essential issues in laws affecting civil society)
  • Tax preferences for non-governmental organizations (Irish and Simon) in THE TAX TREATMENT OF NGOS (Bater, Hondius & Lieber eds) (Kluwer Law International, 2004)
  • Tax Law and Tax Incentives in THE FUTURE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN CENTRAL EUROPE (Simon) (Priller and Zimmer eds) (Leske & Budrich, 2004)
  • The legal framework for voluntary and non-profit activity (Simon and Pekkanen) in THE VOLUNTARY AND NON-PROFIT SECTOR IN JAPAN (Osborne, ed) (Routledge Curzon, 2003)
  • CASES AND MATERIALS ON COMPARATIVE LAW AFFECTING CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS (Irish and Simon) (a casebook for use in NPO/CSO law courses around the world)
  • THE HUMAN RIGHTS IDEA (cases and materials for teaching Human Rights Law at Central European University) (Irish)

ICCSL also cooperates with the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law and Practice by publishing in the Annual Review of International Law a survey of important developments in civil society law – the past two issues of THE INTERNATIONAL LAWYER include ICCSL’s contributions.

3. THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Each of ICCSL’s founders—Leon E. Irish and Karla W. Simon—has provided technical assistance in the development or improvement of laws affecting civil society in over 40 countries, in all major legal systems, and on all continents. This work builds on the knowledge and skills they developed in the private practice of law (Prof. Irish engaged in the private practice of law for over 25 years) and in teaching law (Prof. Simon has been a full-time law teacher since 1978). Prof. Irish and Prof. Simon developed a methodology for building and working with teams representing both government and stakeholder interests at the time they were with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (which they founded in 1992). They are effective advocates for sound, informed, consensual, and locally mandated legal reform.

Founded by two of the principal researchers and practitioners in the field of civil society law, ICCSL is thus well positioned to address both theoretical and practical aspects of legal issues affecting civil society and citizen participation. Current country technical assistance projects include Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ghana, Japan, Mongolia, South Africa, Timor Leste, and Viet Nam. Regional projects are underway for Southern Africa and East Asia. ICCSL works with local partners, including civil society organizations (CSOs), bilateral and multi-lateral donors (e.g., UNDP and the World Bank), and government officials to devise sound legal and fiscal framework structures that will promote and encourage civil society and citizen participation.

ICCSL is also a partner with the Council on Foundations for providing technical assistance to US grant-makers that will encourage and facilitate international grantmaking. It works with the United States International Grant-making (USIG) Project to write legal Country Notes and NPO accounting updates; Karla Simon serves on the USIG Steering Committee.

4. THE EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

A. TEACHING

Professors Irish and Simon developed and teach a course in comparative not-for-profit law or comparative civil society law (CSL). For the past seven years, they have taught the course at

  • Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)
  • The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)
  • Peking University School of Law (Beijing, China) (fall 2005)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) (spring 2006)
  • University of Bologna (Italy) (spring 2006)

Prof. Irish also taught the course at

  • The Temple University School of Law (Philadelphia, PA).

In addition, they are in the process of finalizing new teaching materials, which will allow others to teach this course.

B. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

In addition to teaching CSL as a professional discipline at established law schools, ICCSL provides professional training through seminars and workshops. In August 2003 and March 2004 Professors Irish and Simon conducted such seminars in China; in 2005 they attended and spoke at such seminars in China and Norway.

ICCSL professionals work with students at universities throughout the world to develop capacity in the legal profession and to create more legal professionals who are knowledgeable about the relevant issues. For example, Professors Simon and Irish are advising students in the preparation of theses for the degrees of Ph.D. or S.J.D. and L.L.M at various universities, including Central European University, University of Leiden, Peking University, Viet Nam National University, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

ICCSL’s commitment to professional development can be seen also in IJCSL. It is a student-edited Journal (with students writing as well as editing). In addition, the April issue of each volume includes student-written articles from around the world.

ICCSL Symposia are designed to produce significant scholarship and to provide professional development opportunities for those who attend. Based on the world-wide network of CSL professionals developed by ICCSL, these meetings will also sponsor student fellowships so that law students from around the world will be able to attend.

"The best international resource for comparative knowledge on civil society
law and citizen participation."