Phillips casts doubt on case law behind public benefit deal

The 'concordat' between the Home Office and the Charity Commission might not succeed in resolving the question of public benefit and the draft Charities Bill, according to Lord Phillips of Sudbury.

He told a meeting of charity lawyers last week that the concordat, backed by the scrutiny committee on the Bill, could be "insufficiently helpful", given the nature of the case it relies upon.

This is known as re Resch, in which the courts established that a charity charging high prices for its services is not necessarily failing to provide public benefit. It has been suggested this could protect private schools and hospitals from the removal of the presumption of public benefit.

Lord Phillips, a member of the scrutiny committee, said it was clear there was "no official agreement as to what the effect of the Bill would be for private schools".

See Finance, p9 and Editorial, p17.

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