Regulator begins statutory inquiry into Legal Action

Concerns have been raised that the charity, also known as Charles Henry, has not been operating in accordance with its objects

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Legal Action in response to concerns that the charity has been operating outside its objects to provide legal facilities to people who could not otherwise afford them.

The London-based charity, which is also known as Charles Henry, first came to the commission’s attention in 2010, when concerns were first raised that the charity was not operating in accordance with its objects. In March this year, the commission wrote to the charity with an action plan it should follow in order to address the concerns.

The commission subsequently decided that Legal Action had failed to respond adequately to its recommendations, and opened a statutory inquiry.

As part of the inquiry, opened on 28 August, the commission said it would investigate the charity’s lack of cooperation and non-compliance in failing to implement the action plan, the trustees’ discharge of their duties as trustees and whether the charity was fulfilling its objects for the public benefit.

Earlier this year, Legal Action – which is distinct from another charity, the Legal Action Group – appealed to the charity tribunal on unknown grounds but was told its attempt was not a valid appeal.

The charity, which as well as providing legal facilities promotes welfare and debt assistance for the poor, was registered in 2003. It had an income of £134,000 and expenditure of £135,000 in 2012/13, according to the latest accounts logged with the Charity Commission.

The charity’s website says is it in "maintenance mode".

A spokeswoman for Legal Action said the charity was unable to comment in time for publication of this article.

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