- Business rates, charitable relief and the burden of proof (Preservation and Promotion of the Arts Ltd, R (on the Application of) v Manchester Magistrates’ Court)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Procedural JR
- Substantive JR
- Case details
Local Government analysis: As part of a business rates mitigation scheme, Preservation and Promotion of the Arts Ltd (PAPOA) entered into tenancies at will of otherwise unoccupied properties. It held two-three-day arts events during which it displayed pictures. Bolton Borough Council (Bolton), was not satisfied that PAPOA qualified for mandatory charitable relief, and applied for liability orders in respect of unpaid business rates. The District Judge found that PAPOA was a charity but was not satisfied its activities met the public benefit test necessary to establish that it had used/would use the hereditaments wholly/mainly for its charitable purposes. On the substantive judicial review of that decision, Mrs Justice Jefford held that:(i) PAPOA bore the burden of proving that it was entitled to mandatory charitable relief; (ii) that entailed it proving that its use of the premises was/would be wholly/mainly for its charitable purposes and, necessarily, that such use met the section 4 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011) public benefit requirement, and (iii) it was for PAPOA to adduce evidence sufficient to discharge that burden, not for Bolton to adduce evidence rebutting it. The case was heard together with PAPOA’s appeal by way of case stated against the grant of liability orders in favour of Birmingham City Council. That appeal was decided largely on its own facts and is not considered further in this case analysis. Written by Kelly Pennifer, barrister, at Kings Chambers.
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