Steadfast Trust appeals to charity tribunal against removal of charitable status

The organisation, which featured in an ITV documentary on extremism and was subsequently deregistered by the Charity Commission, says there has been 'no change in law or facts' since it was registered as a charity in 2004

The Steadfast Trust
The Steadfast Trust

The Steadfast Trust, a deregistered charity that identifies its beneficiaries as "members of the Anglo-Saxon community", has lodged a charity tribunal appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to remove its charitable status.

The trust was registered with the commission in September 2004 with objects including relieving poverty and advancing education among "members of the Anglo-Saxon community living in England".

The organisation was featured in the ITV Exposure documentary Charities Behaving Badly, broadcast on 18 February – some supporters of the Steadfast Trust were shown shouting "white power" and "victory to the Aryan race". And two men associated with the charity were subsequently arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The charity had already been removed from the register on 12 February. A spokeswoman for the commission said at the time that it was not clear the trust’s beneficiaries could be identified or were a sufficient section of the public. The commission later said it had taken too long to deregister the charity, having first discovered a potential problem with the organisation’s objects in 2007. It decided on 19 January that it would deregister the charity.

Robin Tilbrook, who runs Tilbrook’s Solicitors and represents the trust, and is also chairman of the English Democrats party, said later in February that his client would appeal against the decision in the charity tribunal. Tilbrook said it was "manifestly motivated by improper and irrelevant considerations of political correctness".

That appeal was submitted on 25 March and made public in an update to the tribunal’s website published last week.

In a document submitted to the tribunal, Tilbrook argues that the Steadfast Trust was not given notice of the decision or the reason behind its removal from the register, or an opportunity to dispute these, and says there has been "no change in law or facts" since the charity was registered in 2004.

It also argues that in reaching its decision the commission "acted irrationally and took into account irrelevant or immaterial factors", including information in the ITV documentary, the "social origin and stereotyped image of possible participants" in the trust’s events, "the UK governmental unofficial (and arguably illegal) public policy against the promotion by a public authority of any form of Englishness as opposed to Britishness" and the commission’s own "unlawful policy of viewing English culture and identity as defined and expressed by English people by descent or origin ‘propagandist’".

In another document submitted to the tribunal, Tilbrook argues that the tribunal should treat 12 February as the date of the commission’s decision to deregister, saying that a 19 January communication of the decision did not reach the charity’s trustees because it was sent to an old email address. If the decision is treated as having been made on 19 January, the appeal will have been made outside the time limit, so Tilbrook also asks for permission for an out-of-time appeal.

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