Essays Charities Act 2006

The Charities Act 2006 (c 50) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to alter the regulatory framework in which charities operate, partly by amending the Charities Act 1993. The Act was mostly superseded by the Charities Act 2011, which consolidates charity law in the UK.

Provisions[edit]

The Act contains three main provisions: definition of the requirements to qualify as a charity, the establishment of a Charity Tribunal to hear appeals from decisions of the Charity Commission, and alterations to the requirements for registering charities.

Charitable status[edit]

The Act imposes conditions on bodies wishing to attain or maintain charitable status.[2]

For the purposes of the law, a charitable organisation must demonstrate that it serves the public interest, and that its purpose lies entirely in the promotion of one or more of the following causes:

  • the prevention or relief of poverty;
  • the advancement of education;
  • the advancement of religion;
  • the advancement of health or the saving of lives;
  • the advancement of citizenship or community development;
  • the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science;
  • the advancement of amateur sport;
  • the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity;
  • the advancement of environmental protection or improvement;
  • the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage;
  • the advancement of animal welfare;
  • the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown, or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services;
  • Any other purposes under ss4 of the 2006 act

Prior to 2008, the law assumed that advancement of education or religion were automatically in the public interest. A "public benefit" now needs to be demonstrated.[2]

Charity Tribunal[edit]

The Act established a "Charity Tribunal" to hear appeals from decisions of the Charity Commission, which previously lay only to the High Court. The Tribunal was abolished in September 2009 and its functions transferred to the First-tier Tribunal.

Registration[edit]

The Act raises the threshold above which registration is required with the Charity Commission from £1,000 to £5,000. This is intended to reduce administration costs for small charities. In addition, charities which fall under certain exempted categories under the 1993 Act (such as certain Christian denominations) are now only exempted if their gross annual income is less than £100,000.

Section 79 - Commencement[edit]

The following orders have been made under section 79(2):

  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 1, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/309 (C. 13))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 2, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/3286 (C. 135))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 3, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/751 (C. 32))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/945 (C. 46))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional Provisions and Savings) (Amendment) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/841 (C. 55))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 5, Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/3267 (C. 150))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 5, Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings) (Amendment) Order 2010 (S.I. 2010/1942 (C. 103))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 6 and Commencement No. 5, Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings (Amendment)) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/2648 (C. 118))
  • The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 7, Transitional and Transitory Provisions and Savings) Order 2010 (S.I. 2010/503 (C. 36))

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

UK Legislation[edit]

Cubillo Barsi, Naomi (2016) A critical analysis of the development of the public benefit requirement of charitable purposes under English and Welsh charity law, from Re Compton [1945] 1 Ch 123 to R (Independent School Council) v Charity Commission [2012] Ch 214. Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research, 2 (1). e19. ISSN 2057-0163

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5920/fields.2016.2119

DOI: 10.5920/fields.2016.2119

Abstract

The enactment of the Charities Act 2006 in November 2006 introduced the first statutory definition of charity into English and Welsh law. Under the provisions of the Act, charitable status requires that an institution must be established for charitable purposes only and that the charitable purposes must be of public benefit. Although, generally, well received the Charities Act 2006 has been criticised as ‘flawed’ on the public benefit requirement of charitable purposes.

The Charities Act 2006 was passed with the principle aim of modernising existing charity law, which was considered outdated and unclear. However, unlike charitable purposes, which are set down within the provisions of the Act, a definition of public benefit is not provided. Section 3(3) of the Charities Act 2006 merely provides that ‘reference to public benefit is a reference to the public benefit as that term is understood for the purposes of the law relating to charities in England and Wales’.
This lack of a definition as to what constitutes public benefit and statutory reliance upon the charities’ regulator, the Charity Commission, to interpret and provide guidance on the public benefit requirement for charitable purposes has led to criticism that the Charities Act 2006 has raised as many uncertainties as it sought to clarify.
In critically evaluating the impact of the Charities Act 2006, and its successor, the Charities Act 2011, upon English charity law, this assessment places the legal definition of charity within its complex and, at times, vague historical context. Thus, providing an ideal backdrop in which to explore the policy objectives behind the Charities Acts and assess the effectiveness of the Charities Acts in achieving those objectives.

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