Brethren welcome Charity Commission agreement to put tribunal appeal on hold

Preston Down Trust says it looks forward to positive dialogue as it seeks to avoid what it calls the undue expense of litigation

Preston Down Trust meeting hall
Preston Down Trust meeting hall

The Preston Down Trust has said it is pleased that the Charity Commission recognised the "undue expense" of a charity tribunal hearing in going along with the trust’s request to put its appeal on hold for three months.

The trust, a Devon-based Plymouth Brethren congregation, appealed to the tribunal after the commission refused it charitable status. The commission said it was not satisfied that it had been established for the advancement of religion for public benefit.

However, the commission announced yesterday that the judge had decided the case, which was due to be heard at the end of March, should be put on hold for three months because of Brethren concerns about the cost of litigation.

The two sides will discuss alternative avenues to a charity tribunal hearing in an attempt to settle the case.

A statement released today by the Brethren said: "We are glad the commission has acknowledged the undue expense of seeking to resolve matters such as this by litigation, and are looking forward to a positive dialogue with the commission which results in the presentation of our charities in a manner that ensures their Christian purposes, and the manner in which they are fulfilled, is understood by the commission and the wider public."

The commission said yesterday that it preferred to settle the matter of the trust’s charitable status through the tribunal, because it would be dealt with "authoritatively and independently", but added that it had a responsibility to explore other options.

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