The Charity Commission has appointed interim managers to take over from the trustees of Legal Action, with the interim managers asked to make "recommendations as to the future operation of the charity".
The London-based charity, which is also known as Charles Henry and had an income of £134,417 in the year to 31 March 2013, registered with the commission in 2003. It has objects including the provision of legal support to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
In 2010, it was the subject of regulatory interest when concerns were first raised that the charity was not operating in accordance with its objects.
In March 2014, the commission wrote to the charity with an action plan it should follow in order to address the concerns. It opened a statutory inquiry in August after deciding that Legal Action had failed to respond adequately to those recommendations.
In December, the charity attempted to appeal against the opening of this inquiry at the charity tribunal. This was rejected in February for falling outside the time limit. An appeal by the charity against that rejection was also rejected.
On 9 April, the commission appointed Paul Ridout and Con Alexander, partners at the law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards, as interim managers.
A commission statement issued today said: "The appointment is a temporary and protective measure. The interim managers have been appointed to act, jointly and severally, in the administration of the charity, having all the powers and duties of the trustees to the exclusion of the trustees."
Their tasks include reviewing the charity’s ongoing activities, "bringing to an end any inappropriate activities", looking into the charity’s finances and reporting on all these matters to the commission, and "making recommendations as to the future operation of the charity and the application of its property", the statement said.
The commission’s statement does not spell out what any inappropriate activities might be.
"The interim managers would be pleased to hear from anyone who has had dealings with Legal Action or Charles Henry or Charles Henry & Co (whether or not in the context of court proceedings) and who has any information which is or may be relevant to their interim managership," the statement said.