Charity tribunal refuses latest application to appeal by Cup Trust corporate trustee

Mountstar PTC had applied for leave to appeal against the Charity Commission's decision to appoint an interim manager to run the tax-avoidance vehicle

NT Advisors, which devised the Cup Trust scheme
NT Advisors, which devised the Cup Trust scheme

The charity tribunal has rejected an application from Mountstar PTC, the corporate trustee of the tax-avoidance vehicle the Cup Trust, for permission to appeal against a ruling made last year.

In October, the tribunal rejected an appeal from Mountstar against the Charity Commission’s decision to open a statutory inquiry and appoint an interim manager to run the Cup Trust, the charitable tax-avoidance vehicle that raised £176.5m in private donations but spent only £55,000 on good causes over two years.

Mountstar applied in November for leave to appeal against the decision to appoint an interim manager to run the Cup Trust.

But in a ruling handed down from the first-tier tribunal on 24 December, his honour Judge Gerald ruled that the appeal should not be allowed.

The ruling says that, in order to appeal to a higher tribunal, the applicant must identify one or more errors of law made by the initial tribunal.

But Gerald said that "it cannot be said that the ultimate decision of the tribunal erred in law in allowing the continued appointment of the interim manager".

One of the grounds for appeal was the claim that the tribunal had not considered Mountstar’s offer to appoint new directors and run an independent inquiry of its own.

But it was "unrealistic and unnecessary for the tribunal to consider Mountstar’s ‘offer’", the ruling says.

"Further, there was no evidence that Mountstar had appointed any new directors by the time of the hearing."

The regulator announced in May that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the Cup Trust and appointed Jonathan Burchfield, a partner of the law firm Stone King, as its interim manager.

At the end of May, Mountstar appealed for the review and quashing of the decision to open that inquiry.

The latest judgment says that Mountstar can renew its application for permission to appeal, and must do so within a month of that 24 December date.

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