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General Law on Non-profit Legal Persons

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Translation from Spanish (6 pages)

LAW No. 147
Makes it known to the Nicaraguan people that:
by its authority;
has dictated the following


Article 1. –The purpose of this law is to regulate the constitution, authorization,
operations, and dissolution of not-for-profit civic and religious legal persons currently
existing in the country and those that may be organized in the future.

Article 2. –Non-profit Associations, Foundations, Federations, and Confederations,
whether civic or religious, shall enjoy legal status once they have met the requirements
established by this law.

Article 3. –The articles of incorporation of Associations, Foundations, Federations, and
Confederations shall be authorized in a public document with the participation of at least
five people who are able to take on such responsibility.

Foundations shall have their origin in an auth entic act of discretional giving on the part of
its founder or founders and according to the ends they designate.

Founders may be natural or legal persons who have the ability to authorize the act of
discretional giving referred to in this article.

Article 4. –Foundations are legal persons not dependent on the existence of members.
Their essential components are assets designa ted to serve a purpose of public good and a
regulated administration.

Article 5. –Two or more Associ ations with legal status may form a Federation. This new
entity shall acquire a legal status independent of the status of its member organizations.

Federations may likewise join to form Confederations with their own legal status.

Both Federations and Confederations shall be su bject to all of the provisions of this law.

For a Federation or Confederation to be constituted, its member organizations must be
dedicated to similar purposes in the same areas of activity.


Article 6. –Legal status shall be gran ted and cancelled by decree of the National
Assembly. The respective decrees and the by-la ws of the Associations shall be published
in La Gaceta, Official Journal. Additionall y, the by-laws must be registered in the
corresponding records book.

Article 7. –Persons interested in acquiring a legal status shal l submit a written request and
a Statement of Purpose to the Secretary of the National Assembly. These must be signed
and presented by one or more Representative s of the National Assembly. The testimony
of the Public Document of Incorporation sha ll be attached along with two copies of the

Article 8. –The Public Document of In corporation shall contain the following

a) The nature, goals, purpose, and denomination of the entity being formed, along
with the name, address, and other general information regarding members and
founders according to law.
b) The headquarters of the Association and the places where its activities will be
carried out.
c) The name(s) of its representa tive or representatives.
d) The length of time for which the legal status is valid.

Article 9. –The Statement of Purpose alluded to in Article 7 of this law shall express the
reasons for which legal status is being sought, the significan ce of the organization, and its
impact on the civic or religious life of the country.

Article 10. –If an application for legal status does not meet the requirements established
by this law, the Secretary of the National A ssembly shall return the request citing the
irregularities that must be corrected.

If the application for legal status meets the requirements established in this law, the
Secretary shall send it through th e process stipulated in the General Statutes of the
National Assembly.


Article 11. –Associations, Foundations, Federation s, and Confederations that enjoy legal
status according to the terms of this law shal l be able to exercise all of the rights and
obligations related to their legitimate interests according to existing laws.

Article 12. –Legal persons constituted by this law will have the following rights:

a) To enjoy the use of a name or social purpose, which once the legal status is
registered shall not be able to be used by any other person.
b) To enjoy legal status starting on the date in which the National Assembly decree
granting this status is published in La Gaceta, Official Journal.
c) To have its own assets.
d) To maintain offices according to its needs.
e) To put out publications related to its purposes.

Article 13. –The obligations of legal persons are as follows:

a) To present its by-laws to the Department for the Registration and Control of
Associations in the Ministry of the In terior [Ministro de Gobernación] with a
period of thirty days from the date in which the National Assembly decree
granting legal status is published in La Gaceta, Official Journal.
b) To present before the Secretary of the National Assembly—along with the
documents mentioned in Article 7 of this law—the testimony and two copies of
the Public Document or two certified copies of the document showing the
approval of the by-laws of the respective Association, Foundation, Feder
ation, or
c) To register in the Non-Profit Legal Persons Registry of the Ministry of the
Interior within a period of 15 days from the date of the publication of the decree
granting legal status.
d) Associations, Foundations, Federations, and Confederations shall keep records of
its meetings, members, and accounting, and shall comply with the other
requirements established in th e regulations of this law.
All books will be sealed and signed by the responsible official at the Department
for the Registration and Contro l of Associations in the Ministry of the Interior.
e) To comply with the legal requirements established for donations from abroad and
to inform the Associations Office of the Mi nistry of the Interior and the Ministry
of Foreign Cooperation about the donations it receives.
f) To send a financial statement to the Ministry of the Interior at the end of each
fiscal year.
g) To comply with all of the provisions, regulations, and statutes of this law.


Article 14.—The Department for the Registra tion and Control of Associations of the
Ministry of the Interior shall be charged with enforcing this law.

Article 15. –The Department for the Registra tion and Control of Associations of the
Ministry of the Interior shall keep a Regi stry of Non-Profit Legal Persons in which it

must register all of the legal entities referred to by this law that are established in the

All registered legal persons will be assigned a permanent identification number that must
be used on all of its legal documents and in all of its legal operations.

If legal status has been acquired through a previous law, a permanent identification
number shall be issued upon request.

Article 16. –The ministries, governmental bodie s, and public registries that by law must
process documents related to the legal person s considered in this law shall not process
these documents if the organization does not present its identification number and proof
that it is registered in the Registry of N on-Profit Legal Persons in the Ministry of the

Article 17. –The Department for the Registra tion and Control of Associations of the
Ministry of the Interior shall limit itself to re gistering the legal persons referred to in this

Article 18. –In order to acquire the legal status mentioned in the last paragraph of Article
58 of the Law of Autonomy for Institutions of Higher Education, as long
as it is for a not-
for-profit organization, the inte rested parties shall make the application mentioned in
Article 7 and include the following documents:

a) A copy of the request presented to the National Council of Universities asking for
authorization to ope rate the university.
b) The Secretary of the National Council of Universities certification of the
resolution authorizing the operation of the university. The Secretary of the
National Assembly shall process the a pplication according to that which is
established in the Statutes and Regulations.


Article 19. –Associations, Foundations, Federati ons, and Confederations possessing legal
status authorized in a foreign country and that plan to carry out or are carrying out
activities in Nicaragua must present corres ponding documents to the Department for the
Registration and Control of Associations in th e Ministry of the Interior in order to be
authorized. The Department will determine if the nature and characteristics of the
organization correspond to the nature of th is law in order to proceed with the
corresponding registration. Once au thorized, the organization must comply with this law
and with all of the laws of the Republic.

Article 20. –Foreign legal persons that opera te in the country in accordance with
international treaties, agreements, accords, and protocols shall be guided by these


Article 21. –All Associations, Federations, or Foundations shall elect their highest
authorities in accordance with its articles of incorporation and by-laws.


Article 22. –The Department for the Registra tion and Control of Associations in the
Ministry of the Interior may impose the following administrative sanctions on the entities
considered in this law:

a) A fine of one-thousand córdobas (C$ 1,000.00) to five-thousand córdobas (C$
5,000.00) payable to the Treasury, enforced according to governance procedures
in the case of violations to sections a), b), c), d), e), f), and g) of Article 13 and
Articles 19 and 20 of this law.
b) Intervention for the strictly necessary peri od of time to resolve irregularities that
may have led to violations of Article 13 of this law or in the case of a repeat

Article 23. –When the Department for the Regist ration and Control of Associations issues
the kind of resolution mentioned in the previous article, the organization has the right to
appeal the resolution before the Ministry of the Interior.

Article 24. –The legal status of Asso ciations, Foundations, Federations, and
Confederations subject to this law can only be cancelled by the National Assembly
through the same procedure used for authori zation and after previous consultation with
the Ministry of the Interior in the following cases:

a) When it has been used to commit illegal acts.
b) When it has been used to disrupt public order.
c) When the number of the Association’s members has been reduced to below the
minimum required by this law.
d) For carrying out activities unrelated to the ends for which it was established.
e) For impeding the monitoring and vigilance of the Department for the Registration
and Control of Associations , at a time when measures established in Article 22
have been applied to the organization.
f) When dissolution is agreed upon by the orga nizations ruling body according to its

Article 25. –Once legal status has been cancel led, the goods and shares that belong to the
Association shall be liquidated and distributed according to that which is established in
its articles of incorporation and by-laws. If such provisions have not been made, the
goods and shares will become property of the State.


Article 26. –To be registered in the Registry of Legal Persons, only a request indicating
the date and number of the La Gaceta, Official Journal that published the authorization of
the legal status will be necessary.

Article 27. –For all matters not foreseen in th is law and not in contradiction with it, the
provisions of Book I, Title I, Chapte r XIII of the Civil Code will apply.

Article 28. –Decree No. 639 of February 10, 1981, published in La Gaceta No. 39 of
February 18, 1981 is repealed.


Article 29. –For associations whose legal stat us has been granted by law of the National
Assembly but whose by-laws are pending approv al in the Ministry of the Interior, the
provisions of Decree 639 of February 10, 1981 shall apply for the remainder of the

Article 30. –This law shall ente r into force upon its publication in La Gaceta, Official

Given in the Chamber of Sessions of the National Assembly on the nineteenth day of the
month of March of the year nineteen hundred an d ninety-two.

Therefore let it be published and executed.
Managua, sixth of April of nineteen hundred and ninety-two.

Translated into English from Spanish original
by Kathy Ogle Member of TTIG #100, CWA