Q&As

Do you have specific information on at what point the Attorney-General would join in court proceedings in relation to charity litigation?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/11/2018

The following Private Client Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Do you have specific information on at what point the Attorney-General would join in court proceedings in relation to charity litigation?

There are a number of cases (among them Re King, Jackson v A-G) that have indicated that objects of a charity are never parties to charity proceedings—they are more properly represented, if necessary, by the Attorney-General.

At one point the Attorney-General was a party to all charity proceedings, but that rule is now excepted in cases where the Charity Commission takes proceedings in the place of the Attorney—General. A 1945 Practice Note stated:

‘….where there is a charitable gift to specified persons on trust, and a question of validity arises, the trustees are the proper parties and it is not universally necessary that the Attorney-General should be a party, although it is generally desirable that he should be. However, where the gift is not to specific persons or trusts, the Attorney-General is the only person who is entitled to represent the charity, and persons who merely conceive themselves to be interested in establishing the validity of the trust are not proper parties.’

Now, section 114 of the Charities Act 2011 states (inter alia):

‘(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Commission may exercise the same powers with respect to—

(a) the taking of legal proceedings with reference to charities or the property or affairs of charities, or

(b) the compromise of claims with a view to avoiding or ending such proceedings,

as are exercisable by the Attorney General acti

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