Charity creation - legal points
Charity creation - legal points

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

  • Charity creation - legal points
  • Charitable purposes
  • Charity registration
  • Gifts to charities
  • Trustees and their duties
  • The constitution of charities

A charity is either a corporate or unincorporated institution with purposes exclusively charitable in law. The purposes must be legally binding and it must be outside the powers of a charity to do anything which does not further or help to further a charitable purpose.

Charitable purposes

The Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011) sets out a list of purposes which are charitable if they are directed to the benefit of the public as opposed to the benefit of specified individuals or private groups. The list is not closed. It contains a blanket provision which covers purposes which are already accepted as charitable though not listed, and analogous purposes. Benefit to the public is essential but not enough in itself to demonstrate charitable status.

It has recently been held that, in order to fulfil the public benefit requirement, the purposes of an independent school the educational benefits must extend not only to those who can afford the fees but also (in some way to be selected to by the trustees) to those otherwise qualified for benefit who cannot afford the fees. It has also been held that in the case of a charity for the prevention or relief of poverty it is legitimate to select a narrow class of beneficiaries such as the poor members of a club or the poor employees

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