Charitable status
Charitable status

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charitable status
  • Charity definition
  • Charitable purpose
  • Exclusively charitable
  • Public benefit
  • The Commission

Charity definition

For the purposes of the law in England and Wales, charity means an organisation established for charitable purposes only and falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to charities.

Charitable purpose is a purpose which falls within subsection 3(1) of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011) and is for the public benefit.

Charitable purpose

CA 2011, s 2 defines a charitable purpose as one that falls within a list of thirteen descriptions of purposes in CA 2011, s 3 and is for the public benefit. This updates the common law based on the preamble to the Charitable Uses Act 1601. That statement evolved into four categories of charity:

  1. relief of poverty

  2. advancement of education

  3. promotion of religion

  4. other purposes beneficial to the community in a way recognised as charitable

The new list of purposes is:

  1. the prevention or relief of poverty

  2. the advancement of education

  3. the advancement of religion

  4. the advancement of health or the saving of lives

  5. the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science

  6. the advancement of amateur sport

  7. the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation, or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity

  8. the advancement of environmental protection or improvement

  9. the relief of those in need,

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