Defining public benefit in the draft Charities Bill would be difficult and confusing, according to the Charity Law Association.
Judith Hill, chair of several of the association's working parties, told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the draft Bill that there was a wide range of existing case law about public benefit.
She said any definition would have to spell out who the public was and whether any particular class of people was large enough to constitute 'the public'.
"If you put a definition on the face of the bill, you are changing the law and the whole thing would be thrown into disarray."
Stephen Lloyd, chairman of the association, told the committee that one of the draft Bill's regulatory objectives - maximising the social and economic impact of charities - should be dropped.
See Hot Issue p15.