Body-freezing organisation restored to the charity register

The Human Organ Research Preservation Trust was deregistered by the Charity Commission last year, but the charity tribunal has overruled the decision

An organisation that freezes dead bodies in the hope that they can be brought back to life in the future will be put back on the register of charities after winning an appeal at the charity tribunal.

The Human Organ Research Preservation Trust, which operates under the name Cryonics UK, was deregistered as a charity by the Charity Commission last year after the regulator received a complaint about a High Court case involving a 14-year-old girl who died having made arrangements for the charity to freeze her body.

The commission had said that the initial registration of the charity in 1991 was "a mistake" and its activities did not meet its charitable objects.

But in a hearing held earlier this summer, the charity said the commission had been made aware of its activities and it did carry out charitable purposes because its current activities had become possible only years after the charity was set up.

The tribunal ruled that the original trust deed was acceptable, that the commission had probably been made aware of the charity’s purposes and that the term "cryonics" was not used at the time of the original registration.

The decision was therefore taken to restore the charity to the register.

A spokesman for Cryonics UK said the charity was pleased with the result and it had always felt it was run for legitimate purposes.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator respected the tribunal’s decision.

"We will not appeal the decision, but we maintain that we are right to take steps to ensure an accurate and up-to-date register of charities, in line with our duty to act on behalf of the public, who place high importance on charities," she said.

"We want to reassure people that we will continue to uphold the integrity of the register of charities."

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