The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, intends to make a reference to the Tribunal to determine whether trusts with a restricted pool of beneficiaries defined by a relationship to an individual or a company - e.g. an employees’ benevolent fund - and established for the purpose of relieving poverty, satisfy the test of public benefit following the implementation of the Charities Act 2006.
The Attorney General has the power to make a Reference on any matter of charity law in his public interest role as protector of charity.
Under the Act all trusts now have to show they are for the public benefit if they are to be given charitable status. Formerly, public benefit was understood to be able to apply to trusts with a restricted pool of beneficiaries defined by a relationship to an individual or a company for charities for the relief of poverty
He is seeking clarification on whether the effect of the case law on this issue has been changed by the Act.
Kenneth Dibble, Director of Legal Services at the Charity Commission, said:
The Charity Commission recognises that the Act may have changed the law so far as these charities are concerned. The reference by the Attorney General, to which the Commission is a party, will seek to clarify the law in this area. The Commission welcomes this reference.