• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Trust Law: 'The rule that charities must not undertake political activity is unsatisfactory in theo

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Trust Law: 'The rule that charities must not undertake political activity is unsatisfactory in theo Introduction In English law, the legal definition of charities is based upon the Preamble of the 1601 Charitable Uses Act, which provides four grounds that organisations may qualify for charitable status under. These involving advancement of religion or education, relief of poverty and other purposes beneficial to the community, furthermore, all charities must prove to be for the public's benefit. This though has lead to a number of problems where the charity involves a degree of political activity, with charities in general, being prohibited by performing political activities, due to their public benefit being incalculable. Political activity is construed as the support of a political party or policies, or campaigning for a reform of existing law, which is of a political nature. The judiciary is seen to absolve responsibility by refusing to consider the relative merits of such political activity, in order to remain politically impartial. This paper aims to show that the decision to remain impartial is unsatisfactory, due to the inevitable overlap between charity and politics. For in attempt to remain politically impartial, the courts have favoured a particular construct of charities, those which are inherently conservative in nature. Case law The case law concerning political activity in charities highlight how the judges have attempted to avoid controversy by refusing to examine the merits of legislative reform. ...read more.

Middle

unsatisfactory, where the role of many charities is to fill the gaps left by the government in their provision of services and benefits. The attainment of government support thus is often fundamental to the objects of the charity, as this will result in increased awareness and funding. Therefore political activity in this sense will be of great value to the charity, than the actual performing of charitable acts. The conservative approach of the courts may also be explained by fear of abuse if political activity was allowed. Where political organisations would take advantage of charitable status and the subsequent privileges to further their political goals. However, the stimulation of greater political debate is for the public benefit where the democratic process is aided by greater public awareness of fundamental issues regarding governmental policy. In the USA, the overlap between charity and politics is acknowledged to a greater degree, resulting in the law being based on a more logical theory, fairness to the taxpayers. Where unfair burdens upon taxpayers to subsidise non-charitable activities has been significant in the limitation of political activity of charity, impartiality of the courts being irrelevant to the considerations. Although,a test of substantiality is also employed by the courts, there is a more liberal approach to towards the interpretation of charity and political activity. Therefore the theory behind the need for political impartiality is flawed, with the judiciary being inherently bias. ...read more.

Conclusion

The courts moreover, have favoured an image of charity that is inherently conservative, consequently charities have had to adhere to such a construct to avoid loss of status. This highlights the impossibility of judicial impartiality, for even if decisions on public benefit may not be made concerning political activity, this fails to explain the regulating of how the ancillary political activities may be carried out. For by prohibiting the use of campaigning and lobbying, the courts along with the Charity Commissioners, are promoting their own construct of charities. Although the courts have acknowledged that the assessing of public benefit was a question of degree, thus the court has flexibility in its decision making. However, in applying an 'hard and fast rule', the courts have overlooked the need for flexibility, in attempt to impose certainty and neutrality. Neutrality though has not been achieved and whilst with guidelines from the Charity Commissioners, there is now greater certainty over the degree of political certainty this has been at the expense of valuable charitable work. Where charities have been unable to carry out certain forms of campaigning which would increase their profile and subsequently funds, thus benefit the public. Significantly, in light of the Charity Commissioners recent guidelines and Guild, where a more liberal approach was taken towards the definition of charity, this may indicate a general shift in judicial attitude. Thus it is possible that greater political activity will be permitted in accordance with the inevitable overlap between the two, resulting in a more satisfactory approach. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. The Wednesbury test, for all its defects, had the advantage of simplicity, and it ...

    the executive have to make is so large that it is possible that many of the decisions which they make will upset some section of the community. Even if the courts have a different opinion to the other body they should not act upon that, provided that the authority has acted within the law and reasonably.

  2. Precedents are not binding statements which future judges must follow. They are in fact ...

    Note that Lord Diplock is incorrect in suggesting that Parliament necessarily showed their approval of the Act, as they almost certainly did not question the rule of practice.] the justification for by passing the Court of Appeal when the decision by which the judge is bound is one given by

  1. The Rule of Law

    Raz also calls for the need for courts to be easily accessible, however this is not essentially true. Some people may be more financially able to access the court system. Even when legal aid is offered to those who cannot independently support themselves, this is also means tested and therefore

  2. Charitable trusts are public trusts that confer a benefit to the community.

    Museums, zoos and public libraries may also be educational for the public at large. The House of Lords in IRC v McMullen7 made it clear that the legal conception of charity was not static but changed with ideas of social values.

  1. Lon Fuller - professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard.

    emphasis throughout The Morality of Law upon law not only as an enterprise, but as one which is most at home and compatible with the market order, which it itself mirrors. Building upon his examination of "the conditions that make a duty most understandable and most palatable to the man

  2. Ethics in practice

    Temple, who is a married man and has four children of his own, explained that he had suffered serious head injuries as a result of his encounter with the car thieves in 1992, and been forced to retire from Northumbria Police.

  1. Can Arbitration be combined with other forms of dispute resolution?

    CEDR in their literature would support this latter claim. Karl Mackie, Chief Executive of CEDR states "Most mediations last no more than one day and in over three quarters of cases the parties do reach settlement"(10) However, mediation can be as complex and as costly as the parties want it

  2. "Without a credible system of sanctions it is wrong to speak of "International Law". ...

    example in the case of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, as a sanctioning method has been deemed quite effective.19However, doubt surrounding the representative nature of the Security Council calls into question its integrity as an enforcement mechanism. International law recognises various enforcement mechanisms short of Chapter VII sanctions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work