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Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008

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Changes over time for: Cross Heading: Extended powers of Court and variation of charters

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Changes and effects yet to be applied to Part 6 Crossheading Extended-powers-of-court-and-variation-of-charters:

Extended powers of Court and variation of chartersN.I.

Occasions for applying property cy-prèsN.I.

26—(1) Subject to subsection (3), the circumstances in which the original purposes of a charitable gift can be altered to allow the property given or part of it to be applied cy-près shall be as follows—

(a)where the original purposes, in whole or in part—

(i)have been as far as may be fulfilled; or

(ii)cannot be carried out, or not according to the directions given and to the spirit of the gift; or

(b)where the original purposes provide a use for part only of the property available by virtue of the gift; or

(c)where the property available by virtue of the gift and other property applicable for similar purposes can be more effectively used in conjunction, and to that end can suitably, regard being had to the appropriate considerations, be made applicable to common purposes; or

(d)where the original purposes were laid down by reference to an area which then was but has since ceased to be a unit for some other purpose, or by reference to a class of persons or to an area which has for any reason since ceased to be suitable, regard being had to the appropriate considerations, or to be practical in administering the gift; or

(e)where the original purposes, in whole or in part, have, since they were laid down,—

(i)been adequately provided for by other means; or

(ii)ceased, as being useless or harmful to the community or for other reasons, to be in law charitable; or

(iii)ceased in any other way to provide a suitable and effective method of using the property available by virtue of the gift, regard being had to the appropriate considerations.

(2) In subsection (1) “the appropriate considerations” means—

(a)(on the one hand) the spirit of the gift concerned, and

(b)(on the other) the social and economic circumstances prevailing at the time of the proposed alteration of the original purposes.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not affect the conditions which must be satisfied in order that property given for charitable purposes may be applied cy-près except in so far as those conditions require a failure of the original purposes.

(4) In authorising property comprised in a charitable gift to be applied cy-près, the Court or the Commission shall have power to alter—

(a)the purposes for which the property given may be applied; and

(b)the provisions and conditions governing the application of the property for those purposes;

so as to secure that the property is applied as beneficially as is possible, consistently with the spirit of the gift.

(5) In ascertaining the spirit of a gift for the purpose of subsection (1)(a)(ii) or (4) the Court or the Commission may take into account the conduct, and any habits or actions, of the donor and any written or oral declarations made by the donor at any time in relation to the gift.

(6) References in the foregoing subsections to the original purposes of a gift shall be construed, where the application of the property given has been altered or regulated by a scheme or otherwise, as referring to the purposes for which the property is for the time being applicable.

(7) It is hereby declared that a trust for charitable purposes places a trustee under a duty, where the case permits and requires the property or some part of it to be applied cy-près, to secure its effective use for charity by taking steps to enable it to be so applied.

Commencement Information

I1S. 26 in operation at 24.6.2013 by S.R. 2013/145, art. 2, Sch.

Application cy-près of gifts of donors unknown or disclaimingN.I.

27—(1) Property given for specific charitable purposes which fail shall be applicable cy-près as if given for charitable purposes generally, where it belongs—

(a)to a donor who after—

(i)the prescribed advertisements and inquiries have been published and made, and

(ii)the prescribed period beginning with the publication of those advertisements has expired,

cannot be identified or cannot be found; or

(b)to a donor who has executed a disclaimer in the prescribed form of the donor's right to have the property returned.

(2) Where the prescribed advertisements and inquiries have been published and made by or on behalf of trustees with respect to any such property, the trustees shall not be liable to any person in respect of the property if no claim by that person to be interested in it is received by them before the expiry of the period mentioned in subsection (1)(a)(ii).

(3) For the purposes of this section property shall be conclusively presumed (without any advertisement or inquiry) to belong to donors who cannot be identified, in so far as it consists—

(a)of the proceeds of cash collections made by means of collecting boxes or by other means not adapted for distinguishing one gift from another; or

(b)of the proceeds of any lottery, competition, entertainment, sale or similar money-raising activity, after allowing for property given to provide prizes or articles for sale or otherwise to enable the activity to be undertaken.

(4) The Court or the Commission may by order direct that property not falling within subsection (3) shall for the purposes of this section be treated (without any advertisement or inquiry) as belonging to donors who cannot be identified where it appears to the Court or the Commission either—

(a)that it would be unreasonable, having regard to the amounts likely to be returned to the donors, to incur expense with a view to returning the property; or

(b)that it would be unreasonable, having regard to the nature, circumstances and amounts of the gifts, and to the lapse of time since the gifts were made, for the donors to expect the property to be returned.

(5) Where property is applied cy-près by virtue of this section, the donor shall be deemed to have parted with all of the donor's interest at the time when the gift was made; but where property is so applied as belonging to donors who cannot be identified or cannot be found, and is not so applied by virtue of subsection (3) or (4)—

(a)the scheme shall specify the total amount of that property; and

(b)the donor of any part of that amount shall be entitled, if the donor makes a claim not later than 6 months after the date on which the scheme is made, to recover from the charity for which the property is applied a sum equal to that part, less any expenses properly incurred by the charity trustees after that date in connection with claims relating to the donor's gift; and

(c)the scheme may include directions as to the provision to be made for meeting any [F1claims made in accordance with paragraph (b)].

(6) Where—

(a)any sum is, in accordance with any such directions, set aside for meeting [F2claims made in accordance with subsection (5)(b)], but

(b)the aggregate amount of any such claims actually made exceeds the relevant amount,

then, if the Commission so directs, each of the donors in question shall be entitled only to such proportion of the relevant amount as the amount of that donor's claim bears to the aggregate amount referred to in paragraph (b); and for this purpose “the relevant amount” means the amount of the sum so set aside after deduction of any expenses properly incurred by the charity trustees in connection with claims relating to the donors' gifts.

(7) For the purposes of this section, charitable purposes shall be deemed to “fail” where any difficulty in applying property to those purposes makes that property or the part not applicable cy-près available to be returned to the donors.

(8) In this section “prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Commission; and such regulations may, as respects the advertisements which are to be published for the purposes of subsection (1)(a), make provision as to the form and content of such advertisements as well as the manner in which they are to be published.

(9) In this section references to a donor include persons claiming through or under the original donor, and references to property given include the property for the time being representing the property originally given or property derived from it.

(10) This section shall apply to property given for charitable purposes, notwithstanding that it was so given before the commencement of this section.

Textual Amendments

Commencement Information

I2S. 27 in operation at 24.6.2013 by S.R. 2013/145, art. 2, Sch.

Application cy-près of gifts made in response to certain solicitationsN.I.

28—(1) This section applies to property given—

(a)for specific charitable purposes, and

(b)in response to a solicitation within subsection (2).

(2) A solicitation is within this subsection if—

(a)it is made for specific charitable purposes, and

(b)it is accompanied by a statement to the effect that property given in response to it will, in the event of those purposes failing, be applicable cy-près as if given for charitable purposes generally, unless the donor makes a relevant declaration at the time of making the gift.

(3) A “relevant declaration” is a declaration in writing by the donor to the effect that, in the event of the specific charitable purposes failing, the donor wishes the trustees holding the property to give the donor the opportunity to request the return of the property in question (or a sum equal to its value at the time of the making of the gift).

(4) Subsections (5) and (6) apply if—

(a)a person has given property as mentioned in subsection (1),

(b)the specific charitable purposes fail, and

(c)the donor has made a relevant declaration.

(5) The trustees holding the property must take the prescribed steps for the purpose of—

(a)informing the donor of the failure of the purposes,

(b)enquiring whether the donor wishes to request the return of the property (or a sum equal to its value), and

(c)if within the prescribed period the donor makes such a request, returning the property (or such a sum).

(6) If those trustees have taken all appropriate prescribed steps but—

(a)they have failed to find the donor, or

(b)the donor does not within the prescribed period request the return of the property (or a sum equal to its value),

section 27(1) shall apply to the property as if it belonged to a donor within paragraph (b) of that subsection (application of property where donor has disclaimed right to return of property).

(7) If—

(a)a person has given property as mentioned in subsection (1),

(b)the specific charitable purposes fail, and

(c)the donor has not made a relevant declaration,

section 27(1) shall similarly apply to the property as if it belonged to a donor within sub-paragraph (b) of that subsection.

(8) For the purposes of this section—

(a)solicitation” means a solicitation made in any manner and however communicated to the persons to whom it is addressed,

(b)it is irrelevant whether any consideration is or is to be given in return for the property in question, and

(c)where any appeal consists of both solicitations that are accompanied by statements within subsection (2)(b) and solicitations that are not so accompanied, a person giving property as a result of the appeal is to be taken to have responded to the former solicitations and not the latter, unless the person proves otherwise.

(9) In this section “prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Commission.

(10) Subsections (7) and (9) of section 27 shall apply for the purposes of this section as they apply for the purposes of section 27.

Commencement Information

I3S. 28 in operation at 24.6.2013 by S.R. 2013/145, art. 2, Sch.

Cy-près schemesN.I.

29—(1) The power of the Court or the Commission to make schemes for the application of property cy-près shall be exercised in accordance with this section.

(2) Where any property given for charitable purposes is applicable cy-près, the Court or the Commission may make a scheme providing for the property to be applied—

(a)for such charitable purposes, and

(b)(if the scheme provides for the property to be transferred to another charity) by or on trust for such other charity,

as it considers appropriate, having regard to the matters set out in subsection (3).

(3) The matters are—

(a)the spirit of the original gift,

(b)the desirability of securing that the property is applied for charitable purposes which are close to the original purposes, and

(c)the need for the relevant charity to have purposes which are suitable and effective in the light of current social and economic circumstances.

The “relevant charity” means the charity by or on behalf of which the property is to be applied under the scheme.

(4) If a scheme provides for the property to be transferred to another charity, the scheme may impose on the charity trustees of that charity a duty to secure that the property is applied for purposes which are, so far as is reasonably practicable, similar in character to the original purposes.

(5) In this section references to property given include the property for the time being representing the property originally given or property derived from it.

(6) In this section references to the transfer of property to a charity are references to its transfer—

(a)to the charity, or

(b)to the charity trustees, or

(c)to any trustee for the charity, or

(d)to a person nominated by the charity trustees to hold it in trust for the charity,

as the scheme may provide.

[F3(7) In this section references to the original purposes of a gift are to be read, where the application of the property given has been altered or regulated by a scheme or otherwise, as referring to the purposes for which the property is for the time being applicable.]

Textual Amendments

Commencement Information

I4S. 29 in operation at 24.6.2013 by S.R. 2013/145, art. 2, Sch.

[F4Gifts for mixed purposesN.I.

29A(1) This section applies where property is given for purposes so described that, consistently with the terms of the gift, the property could all be used for charitable purposes but could equally well be used wholly or partly for purposes which are not charitable.

(2) If, but for this section, the gift would be invalid, the gift shall have effect as a gift for such charitable purposes as may be determined by a scheme made by the Court or the Commission.

(3) Where the terms of a gift and the surrounding circumstances appear to the Court or the Commission to show a predominant intention on the part of the donor to further a particular charitable purpose, the Court or the Commission shall, in making a scheme under subsection (2), have regard, so far as practicable, to that intention.

(4) Where—

(a)property is disposed of by way of successive gifts so that a gift is dependent upon a prior gift; and

(b)the prior gift has been made the subject of a scheme under this section,

any gift dependent upon the prior gift shall have the like effect as it would have had if the prior gift had at all times been for the purposes determined by that scheme.]

Textual Amendments

Charities governed by charterN.I.

30  Where a Royal charter establishing or regulating a body corporate is amendable by the grant and acceptance of a further charter, a scheme relating to the body corporate or to the administration of property held by the body (including a scheme for the cy-près application of any such property) may be made by the Court under the Court's jurisdiction with respect to charities notwithstanding that the scheme cannot take effect without the alteration of the charter, but shall be so framed that the scheme, or such part of it as cannot take effect without the alteration of the charter, does not purport to come into operation unless or until Her Majesty thinks fit to amend the charter in such manner as will permit the scheme or that part of it to have effect.

Commencement Information

I5S. 30 in operation at 24.6.2013 by S.R. 2013/145, art. 2, Sch.

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