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Charities Act 2006

Commentary on Sections

Section 20 – Power to give specific directions for protection of charity

78.This section inserts into the 1993 Act a new section 19A, which allows the Charity Commission at any time after it started a statutory inquiry into a charity and has found either:

  • that there is or has been any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity; or

  • that it is necessary or desirable to act for the purpose of protecting the property of the charity or securing a proper application for the purposes of the charity of that property or of property coming to the charity,

to direct any of the persons listed in the subsection (2) of section 19A to take a specific action which the Commission thinks is expedient in the interests of the charity.

79.“Charity trustees” in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) attracts the definition of “charity trustees” in section 97(1) of the 1993 Act: the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) covers a person who is a trustee for the charity but who is not a “charity trustee” within that definition. An example would be a custodian trustee of the charity’s property.

80.Subsection (3) of section 19A:

  • prevents the Commission from directing a person to do something which is expressly prohibited by an Act of Parliament or by his charity’s own constitution; but

  • allows the Commission to direct a person to do something which he does not have power to do under his charity’s constitution or otherwise.

81.Where a person is directed by the Commission to take some action which is not otherwise within his power, and he takes that action in accordance with the Commission’s direction, subsection (4) protects him from any allegation that he acted improperly, although subsection (5) preserves the contractual and other rights of other parties in respect of anything so done.

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