In Lithuania, most cultural organisations have the legal forms of budgetary institution, public institution or association and their activities are regulated by the respective laws.
The Law on Budgetary Institutions (1995) (last edition in 2020) regulates the establishment, restructuring, liquidation, operation and management of budgetary institutions. A budgetary institution is defined in the Law as a public legal entity with limited civil liability, which performs state or municipal functions and is maintained from the appropriations of the state or municipal budgets, as well as from the budgets of the State Social Insurance Fund, Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and other state monetary funds. Many Lithuanian cultural organisations, such as theatres or museums owned by the state or municipalities, have the legal form of budgetary organisations.
The Law on Associations (2004) (last edition in 2021) regulates the formation, management, activities, specific features of restructuring and termination (reorganisation and liquidation) of legal persons whose legal form is an association. The association is defined in the Law as a public legal person of limited civil liability which has its name and whose purpose is to coordinate the activities of the association members, to represent interests of the association members and to defend them or to meet other public interests. An association may include one of the following words in its name: “association”, “public organisation”, “confederation”, “union”, “society” or other. Many professional organisations of Lithuanian artists have the legal form of association.
The Law on Public Institutions (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the procedure of founding, management, operation, reorganisation, and liquidation of public institutions. A public institution is defined by the Law as a non-profit organisation, founded according to the procedure established by the Law from the assets of partners (owner) engaged in social, educational, scientific, cultural, sport or any other analogous activities that are accessible to the members of the community as regards the services it provides. A non-profit organisation is an entity possessing the rights of a legal person which has been set up in accordance with the procedure established by law and has a non-profit purpose of activities. Its profit cannot be distributed to its founders, members, or partners (owner).
The Law on Charity and Sponsorship Funds (1996) (last edition in 2021) regulates the establishment, management, activities, reorganisation and liquidation of charity and sponsorship Funds. The Fund is defined by the Law as a non-profit organisation without a membership and with the purpose of activities related to the dispensing of charity or (and) sponsoring in the fields of science, culture, education, art, religion, sports, health care, social care and assistance, and environmental protection (and other areas specified in the Law on Charity and Sponsorship).
The Law on Centres for Culture (2004) (last edition in 2019) establishes the founding, reorganisation, liquidation, management, activities, classification, and financing, as well as other relations pertaining to activities of centres for culture.