The Charity Commission for England and Wales has published a second monitoring report on the activities of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, on which Nick Kenchington has provided the following guest post.
On 18 April we published a short post on the announcement by the Prime Minister of her intention to move a motion for an early election in the House of Commons on the following day, under the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The House of Commons Library immediately published a helpful short guide to the election, and for anoraks, it answers the question: Will the Manchester Gorton by-election go ahead? vide infra. The House of Commons Library has also produced a briefing on the Fixed Term ParliamentsAct.
The Chancery Division has handed down the latest judgment in the long-running saga about the disputed trusteeship of two Sikh gurdwaras in High Wycombe and Birmingham. In Shergill & Ors v Khaira & Ors EWHC 883 (Ch), HHJ Purle QC, sitting as a Judge of the High Court, found for the claimants. Continue reading →
In Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses 2016 ABCA 255 (CanLII), Mr Wall had sought judicial review of his expulsion from the Highwood Congregation. A chambers judge had concluded that the Court of Queen’s Bench had jurisdiction to hear the application and the Court of Appeal of Alberta (Paperny & Rowbotham JJ: Wakeling JA dissenting) upheld that ruling, concluding that
“… a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged … We note as well that the respondent appears to have exhausted all avenues of appeal within the church so jurisdiction could also be found on that basis” .
The case was remitted to the Court of Queen’s Bench to be heard by a judge other than the chambers judge, but on 13 April the Highwood Congregation was granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada: see Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v Randy Wall, 2017 CanLII 20389 (SCC). Continue reading →
In a recent hearing in the Chancery Division, the employment status of a minister of religion arose once again…
…in this case, coloured by a factional dispute within the congregation. The Court also addressed the interesting question of whether or not a charity could maintain an action in tort for passing-off, even though it was not engaged in trading.
The facts in Celestial Church of Christ, Edward Street Parish (A Charity) v Lawson EWHC 97 (Ch)were as follows. The Celestial Church of Christ was founded by the Revd Samuel Oshoffa in the Republic of Benin in 1947 and incorporated in Nigeria in 1958; its present written constitution dates from 1980 . Continue reading →
Readers may recall that in January 2014 the Charity Commission for England and Wales agreed to accept an application for registration from the Preston Down Trust of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. The Commission has now published a report on its monitoring of the activities of the Trust, (registered charity no. 1155382): the publication is the first monitoring report into a newly-registered Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
The Commission did not identify any evidence of significant issues relating to the Trust’s compliance with its governing document and the promises made to the Commission as a condition of registration. Continue reading →
As AGM time comes round again for many charities – churches included – the Charity Commission for England and Wales has issued a reminder, well worth reading in its own right, about the need for charities and their trustees to think very hard about their operations. The Commission suggests that if they have not already done so they should read Charity trustee meetings: 15 questions you should ask [updated March 2017] – the principles of which are equally apposite to Scotland and Northern Ireland even though they have separate and rather different legislation.
In brief, the questions are as follows:
1. What effect is the current economic climate having on our charity and its activities? What do we see in the future? How can we best reflect this in any scenario or forward planning that we do? Are we focusing on the right things, or have we drifted into activities that are over and above our core charitable aims? If we have, is it justified? Continue reading →