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Charity Law in England and Wales


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The history of the Charity law in England and Wales dates back after the death of Queen Elizabeth the First in the 17th century. For 400 hundred years, this law has been governing charities in the United Kingdom. In the 19th century, one judge took the initiative to categorise the different type of charities. The categories included advancement of education, relief of poverty, advancement of religion and the rest.

Stagnation, Change and Resistance

A lot of people contested that it should change because the times have changed already, and the principles and situation in the 17th century did not factor in the political, economic and other changes in society. Thus, the Charity law of England and Wales was changed in 2005 when the government proposed and implemented a new Charity Bill that changed the four charity categories in 13 fold categorisation.

The Thirteen Categories of the Charity Act 2006 included the advancement of the following: education, religion, health or the act of saving lives, citizenship or the development of the community, the arts, culture, heritage or science category, amateur sport, human rights which include conflict resolution or reconciliation, promotion of religious and racial harmony, equity and diversity, environmental protection and improvement, animal welfare. It also includes the promotion of the efficiency of the different defence organization such as the police, rescue, fire and hospital services as well as the forces that protect the Crown and relief for those who are in need such as kids, old folks, ill-health, disabled, financially challenged and other disadvantages.

However, this change was not accepted by the public. This caused a stir among different organization stating that even if the categories changed, the content of the material did not change. Thus, the people called for an amendment to the Charities Act 2006 or the official Charity law in England and Wales during that time.

For five years since its implementation, a couple of amendments were conducted such as the Charities Act 2006 Order 2008 and the Charities Order 2011. Finally, in March 2012, the amended and consolidated Charities Act 2011 was enacted and today Charity law in England and Wales is based on this consolidated law.

Though the Charities Act 2011, which governs Charity law in England and Wales, is an amended and consolidated form of the Charities Act 1993, it is still different because of the number of repealed amendments from different Charities Act; this includes the amendment in the Charities Act 1995, the Recreational part of the Charities Act 1958, a part of the Charities Act 1993 Order 1995 and a part of the Charities Act 2006 Order 2008 as well as the Charities Order 2011 which was made before the amendments were consolidated.

The Future of the Charity law of England and Wales

Though the Charity law of England and Wales has undergone changes during the past decade, it is still under the heavy influence of the charity law that was made 400 hundred years ago. The question is, can this amendment sustain the needs of the changing times? Will the Charity law of England and Wales be able to standardize the different charities that abound in the United Kingdom?

Like any other thing, change is inevitable, and though this law is still under the influence of the law made hundreds of years ago. It is changing and though the future is unclear, it will undoubtedly continue to prevail as it did for 400 years.

Blandy and Blandy Solicitors is a regional firm of lawyers and solicitors in Reading, Berkshire at the heart of the Thames Valley. We are highly regarded for the quality of our legal services with eleven of our practice areas rated in the legal directories and twelve of our partners recognised by Chambers and Partners legal directory as ‘Leaders in their field’.


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