Law Report: Charitable purpose fulfilled elsewhere: Oldham Borough Council v Attorney General - Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Dillon, Lord Justice Russell and Lord Justice Farquharson), 28 July 1992

Where the charitable purpose of a gift of land, namely the provision of playing fields for the inhabitants of a particular area, could be carried out just as well on other land, the court had power to authorise the original land to be sold for development and alternative land provided with the proceeds.

The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by Oldham Borough Council against the declaration by Mr Justice Chadwick (The Independent, 29 April 1992) that the council had no power to sell or develop Clayton Playing Fields, comprising 23 acres of open space in Oldham, which the donor, Ina Clayton, had conveyed by deed of gift in April 1962, to the council as trustee, 'for the purposes of playing fields solely'.

The council wished to sell the land for development and use the substantial proceeds thus generated to provide alternative land with much better facilities.

But the judge held that so long as the original land could be used for the stated purpose, the council had to go on administering the charity exactly as the donor wished.

David Lowe QC and Hubert Picarda QC (Sharpe Pritchard, for David Shipp, Olham) for the council; David Unwin (Treasury Solicitor) for the Attorney General (representing the interests of charity generally).

LORD JUSTICE DILLON said that under section 13 of the Charities Act 1960, an alteration of the 'original purposes' of a charitable gift could only be authorised by a scheme for the cy-pres (as near as possible) application of the trust property in circumstances set out in subheads (a) to (e) of section 13(1).

Since this case did not fall within those subheads, if, on a true appreciation of the deed of gift and of section 13, the retention of the existing site was part of the original purposes of the charity, the court could not authorise any sale. There was no doubt on the wording of the deed of gift that the donor intended the land to be used for ever for the purposes of the charity.

Did 'original purposes' in section 13 include the intention and purpose of the donor that the land given should be used for ever for the purposes of the charity, or were they limited to the purposes of the charity?

Section 13 was concerned with the principles for applying property cy-pres and nothing else, and there was nothing to suggest any legislative intention to extend the cases where a cy-pres scheme was necessary to cases where before the 1960 Act no scheme was required.

Cases decided before the 1960 Act were consistent in indicating that a sale of charitable property, and reinvestment of the proceeds in the acquisition of other property, to be held on the same charitable trusts or for the same charitable purposes, could be decreed otherwise than by way of a cy-pres scheme where the court was satisfied that the charity would benefit thereby.

There were cases where the qualities of the property itself, such as a house once owned by a historical figure, or a building of architectural merit, were themselves the factors which made the purposes of the gift charitable. In such cases, any other property acquired with the proceeds of sale could not possibly be applied for the original charitable purpose.

But that was far away from cases such as the present, where the charitable purposes could be carried on on other land. LORD JUSTICE RUSSELL and LORD JUSTICE FARQUHARSON agreed.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before