Charity tribunal confirms it cannot intervene in trustees' dispute with Charity Commission

It has no power to act because the commission has not made a 'decision, order or direction' in the case

Alison McKenna, principal judge of the tribunal
Alison McKenna, principal judge of the tribunal

The charity tribunal has struck out an appeal that asked it to review the refusal of the Charity Commission to intervene in a dispute between the trustees of a charity.

Last October, David Holland and Vince Piffero, former trustees of the charity Litcham Relief in Need in Norfolk, asked the tribunal to direct the commission to intervene in a dispute between members of its board over whether the charity should sell land that it held as investment property.

In November, the tribunal declined to tell the regulator to intervene on the grounds that  it did not have the power to do so under the Charities Act 2006.

Holland and Piffero launched a further appeal, asking the tribunal to review the decision. Documents about the case, published by the tribunal this month, show the pair argued that the tribunal’s inability to act meant the commission could not be properly held to account.

"The tribunal’s decision that it lacks jurisdiction means that [the commission’s] decisions are effectively exempt from appellate review, and this is unjust," their appeal said.

Holland and Piffero also argued that the tribunal should direct the commission to intervene because neither the commission nor the tribunal had said that the charity was being run in accordance with its governing document.

The tribunal declined to review its earlier decision, and also declined to refer the case to the Upper Tribunal for a further hearing.

Alison McKenna, the principal judge of the tribunal, said in the judgement: "The  tribunal does not have an inherent supervisory jurisdiction in relation to charities and therefore has no power to hear appeals in the absence of a specified decision, order or direction being found to have been made by [the commission]."

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