Charity tribunal rejects two requests to review Charity Commission decisions

Regulator's refusal to investigate allegations against charities is beyond the tribunal's jurisdiction, says principal judge

Alison McKenna, principal judge of the tribunal
Alison McKenna, principal judge of the tribunal

The charity tribunal has struck out two separate requests to intervene against decisions taken by the Charity Commission, on the grounds that it does not have the legal right to do so.

The tribunal declined to launch a review of the commission’s decision not to investigate allegations of bullying, intimidation and financial irregularities at the charity Watford Apostolic Pentecostal Church.

It has also declined to review the commission’s decision not to investigate a claim that the charity Litcham Relief in Need acted outside its objects and had "irregularities" in its appointment of trustees.

In both cases, Alison McKenna, the principal judge of the tribunal, ruled that opening investigations into the commission’s decisions was outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The Charities Act 2006 contains a complex list of circumstances under which the tribunal is permitted to intervene. The list is expected to be re-examined as part of a review of the act that is due to begin next year.

In her report on the tribunal’s decision not to investigate the Watford case, McKenna wrote: "I cannot accept that the tribunal has the power to hear appeals into any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of a charity."

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