B5.811 Advancement of religion—pre-Charities Act 2006
This article considers the case law which applied to define charitable purposes before Charities Act 2006. Although that Act introduced a definition of charitable purpose, the case law listed in this article may still be of relevance.
Although the only object among those enumerated in the preamble to 43 Eliz I, c 4, falling under the head of advancement of religion was 'the repair of churches', historically 'charitable purposes' have been closely bound up with medieval religious corporations. There is a long line of authorities, which establishes that religious purposes are prima facie charitable purposes1. Consequently, gifts expressed in general terms as being for the advancement of religion, such as 'the promotion of religion'2, 'for religious and charitable institutions and purposes'3, 'the worship of God'4, 'for the spread of the Gospel'5 or for Christianity generally6, are for charitable purposes within this head.
Gifts to particular religious institutions of recognised public character as, for example, a gift to the Church of England7 and a bequest 'to the Roman Catholic Church for the use thereof'8 are for charitable purposes. A gift to a particular church by name is a valid charitable gift to be applied for purposes connected with the services of the church9.