It is well established in international law that the right to freedom of association equally protects registered and non-registered associations (Does an association need to be registered to be protected? See Association Section 1.1). The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association has on numerous occasions emphasized that the right to freedom of association applies to informal associations and does not require that a group be registered.
Depending on the national legal context, registration and/or legal personality may be required to fulfill certain functions or access to certain benefits, which associations may wish to have access to.
Registration and obtaining legal personality may be – but are not necessarily – the same process in different legal systems. However, the standards and principles applied in international law for both processes are very similar; therefore the arguments below are valid for both.