Volume 24 (2016) / Issue 6
This article examines the control framework for the supervision and oversight of charitable trusts in the common law world. It outlines in Section 1 the fundamental differences between private and public trusts that necessitate a separate enforcement regime for charitable trusts before exploring in Section 2 the historical and political powers and duties of the Attorney General as parens patriae of charities. In light of the limitations of the Attorney General’s effective scrutiny, Section 3 considers the emergence of alternative charity regulators – from tax authorities to independent charity commissions – comparing the relative regulatory achievements of these agencies with that of the Attorney General (AG). Section 4 turns its attention to the role of the courts and tribunals in the enforcement of the interests of donors, beneficiaries and charitable entities. The article concludes in Section 5 with a discussion of the merits and demerits of the charitable trust vis-à-vis the public benefit foundation and explores whether civil law systems intent on adopting the trust need to rethink their enforcement options when it comes to charitable trust enforcement.
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