Trust for purposes beneficial to the community

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This is the fourth and final category of legally permissible charitable purposes as set out in Pemsels Case 1891.

It is also probably the broadest category; although, as demonstrated by the Scottish Burial Society case, one must still show that a prospective charity falls within the 'spirit and intendment' of the 1601 Act. Generally speaking, all of the following have been classified as properly charitable under this heading: sheltered housing for the elderly, various aids for assisting blind children, hospitals and other providers of medical care, maintenance of national monuments. The courts have not, as a rule, insisted that prospective charities possess only those purposes specifically enumerated in the 1601 Act; rather, they have simply required that a candidate charity have as its end one that is sufficiently analogous to any that is listed in the Act. This "interpretive approach" can be seen in cases concerning animal welfare charities. There is certainly no provision for animal welfare present in the 1601 Act, nor is there anything even remotely resembling this desideratum evident there; yet many animal welfare organisations have been successfully pronounced 'charitable' by the courts. The justification for this is that such an interpretation falls squarely within the spirit of the 1601 Act. This is because it is 'beneficial to the community' that animals and wildlife be adequately protected. However, one should not lose sight of the fact that, from a legal standpoint, charities can exist only for the benefit (however indirect) of human beings. A charity that benefits buildings or animals and not (even remotely) people cannot be deemed 'charitable' in the requisite legal sense (see, e.g., re Grove Grady (1929)).

Trust Law