Charity terms and their meaning
Charity terms and their meaning

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

  • Charity terms and their meaning
  • Definitions of charity and charitable trust
  • Charitable purposes
  • Public benefit
  • Invalid purposes
  • Charitable trusts v private trusts
  • Identifying a charitable trust

Definitions of charity and charitable trust

The relevant definitions for the purposes of the law in England and Wales are:

  1. 'charity' means an institution which

    1. (a) is established for charitable purposes only and

    2. (b) falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to charities

  2. a 'charitable purpose' is a purpose which falls within section 3(1) of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011) and is for the public benefit

  3. 'charity trustees' means the person having the general control and management of the administration of a charity

  4. 'trusts' in relation to a charity means the provisions establishing it as a charity and regulating its purposes and administration whether those provisions take effect as a trust or not and in relation to other institutions has a corresponding meaning

There is a distinction between a charity and a charitable trust: The charity relates to the personality of those persons which are recognised by the law as having legal existence (namely the trustees) whereas the charitable trust is the totality of the purposes, recognised as wholly and exclusively charitable in law, for which property is held or given whether or not there is a charity then in existence or which is set up for the purpose of carrying out or performing those purposes