Appeal against Charity Commission decision will be considered, charity tribunal rules

The commission wanted the tribunal to strike out a local resident's appeal against its decision to keep a charity in Cumbria on the register of charities

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The charity tribunal has refused a request by the Charity Commission not to consider an appeal against a commission decision to keep a local charity on its register.

Christopher Lasper, a local resident, asked the regulator to remove from its register The Town Field, which maintains a small recreation ground in Keswick, Cumbria.

Lasper argued that legal changes made since 1951, when Keswick Town Council took on responsibility for maintaining the land, had meant that any charitable trusts on the field no longer existed. But the commission refused his request and Lasper appealed to the charity tribunal.

Under the Charities Act 1993, the tribunal can hear cases brought by "any person who is or may be affected by the decision". The commission asked the tribunal to strike out the case on the grounds that Lasper would not be affected by its outcome.

But in a ruling published last week the tribunal said the fact that the commission had responded to Lasper's original complaint meant he was an interested party.

Vivien Rose, the judge who heard the case, ruled that because the commission had dealt with Lasper's original request it could not now insist he was unaffected by the decision. The ruling means other people whose complaints have been considered by the commission will have the right to appeal to the tribunal.

A commission spokeswoman said: "The tribunal has not specifically defined what counts as being a 'person affected' by a commission decision.

"But it has accepted there will be a limitation on the class of persons who may appeal. The tribunal's ruling is based on consideration of the rather unusual facts of the case."

The tribunal will consider the case on the basis of written submissions without a hearing.

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