Sir: You report (6 October) that Michael O'Mara, the publisher of Diana, Her True Story - In Her Own Words, may establish a new charity dedicated to the removal and banning of land mines if the charities to which he planned to make a "substantial" donation decide not to accept his money. Apparently, the chief executives of the proposed recipient charities said they would not accept what they saw as "dirty money". Two points arise.
First, there is clear legal authority that the trustees of an established charity cannot properly disclaim an unconditional gift of cash unless they can make out a case that, by accepting the gift, they would in some way prejudice or compromise the achievement of their charitable purposes. An order of the Charity Commissioners or of the court would normally be required before an unconditional gift of cash could be disclaimed. The grounds for granting such an order might include the adverse effect acceptance of the gift would have on the charity's supporters and/or beneficiaries.
Secondly, it is not for the chief executive of any charity to decide whether or not a "substantial" donation of cash should be refused. This is a matter for the trustees.
S J Berwin & Co, Solicitors
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