Charity Commission not liable for legal costs of wrongly disqualified trustee

Charity tribunal rules disqualification of trustee of Sivayogam temple 'was not unreasonable'

The charity tribunal has decided against instructing the Charity Commission to pay the legal costs of a trustee it wrongly disqualified.

The tribunal decided in October that the commission should not have removed Nagendram Seevaratnam as a trustee of the Sivayogam temple in south London. 

The tribunal was also critical of the commission's conduct in investigating the complaints against Seevaratnam, which included alleged links to the Tamil Tigers.

However, it agreed with the commission that he had been guilty of misconduct and mismanagement in various ways and has accepted the regulator's submission that, for that reason, its decision to disqualify him was not unreasonable, which is the criterion for making an award of costs.

Seevaratnam was represented pro bono during his tribunal hearings in July and August but incurred legal costs at an earlier stage of his appeal. His counsel's submission to the tribunal also noted that the commission had breached Seevaratnam's human rights and that the proceedings had taken a "great toll" on his health.


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