Attorney General v British Museum: ChD 27 May 2005

The trustees brought a claim against the Attorney-General seeking clarification of their duties and powers to return objects which were part of the collection in law, but where a moral duty might exist to return it to a former owner. Here drawings had been looted in Czechoslovakia in 1939 by the Gestapo.
Held: The court reviewed the authorities. The A-G does not have the authority to suspend the operation of an Act of Parliament. The 1963 Act prohibited any disposition by the trustees. No moral obligation can justify a disposition by the Trustees of an object forming part of the collections of the Museum in breach of s.3(4).
The Vice-Chancellor, Sir Andrew Morritt
[2005] EWHC 1089 (Ch), Times 02-Jun-2005, [2005] 3 WLR 396, [2005] Ch 397
Museum Act 1753 9 14, British Museum Act 1963, Charities Act 1993 27(3)
England and Wales
CitedRe Snowden ChD 1970
Two summonses came before the court arising form wills of a Mr Snowden and a Mrs Henderson. Norman Snowden, had made sales adeeming bequests but, in consequence, pecuniary legacies and bequests of shares of residue were greater than contemplated. . .
CitedRe Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society ChD 1959
The court approved a scheme conferring wider powers of investment than those authorised by the statute incorporating the charity: ‘It is said on behalf of persons interested in the charity that the court is empowered to make a scheme to authorize a . .
CitedRe: Shrewsbury Grammar School 1849
Trustees of the school had accumulated income in excess of what was required to achieve the objects of the charitable trust, and asked the court how to apply them. Having upheld the contention that what was described as Sir S. Romilly’s Act . .
CitedThe Berkhamstead School Case 1865
The school was regulated inter alia by a statute of Edward VI.
Held: The court approved a scheme for its further regulation which permitted the charging of fees for all pupils, notwithstanding that the statute provided that some boys should be . .
CitedHazell v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council HL 1991
Swap deals outwith Council powers
The authority entered into interest rate swap deals to protect itself against adverse money market movements. They began to lose substantial amounts when interest rates rose, and the district auditor sought a declaration that the contracts were . .
CitedConstruction Industry Training Board v Attorney-General CA 1973
The principal issue was whether a body set up by statute and subject to the control of a minister of the Crown was a ‘charity’ within the meaning of section 45(1) of the Charities Act 1960, for which purpose it had to be subject to ‘the control of . .
CitedAttorney General and Another v Great Eastern Railway Company HL 27-May-1880
An Act of Parliament authorised a company to construct a railway. Two other companies combined and contracted with the first to supply rolling stock. An injunction was brought to try to restrain this, saying that such a contract was not explicitly . .
CitedBinder v Alachouzos CA 1972
A contract recited that the parties had been advised by solicitors and counsel that the Moneylenders Acts did not apply to transactions which were the subject of legal proceedings between them, and went on to provide for a compromise.
Held: . .
CitedAttorney-General v Governors of Christ’s Hospital 3-Mar-1896
The Attorney-General proposed a scheme to except certain endowments from the 1869 Act. They would be made over to another governing body in augmentation of the endowments held by them subject to the provisions of that Act.
Held: The court . .
CitedNational Anti-Vivisection League v Inland Revenue Commissioners HL 2-Jul-1947
The main object of the Society was political viz, the repeal of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, and for that reason the Society was not established for charitable purposes only and was not entitled to exemption from tax. An organisation whose aims . .
CitedIn re Whitworth Art Gallery Trusts 1958
. .
CitedRe Royal Society’s Charitable Trusts 1956
The Society, a charitable company regulated by statute, requested that it be permitted inter alia, to consolidate various different trust funds of which it was trustee for investment and accounting purposes.
Held: The application did not come . .

Cited by:
CitedLehtimaki and Others v Cooper SC 29-Jul-2020
Charitable Company- Directors’ Status and Duties
A married couple set up a charitable foundation to assist children in developing countries. When the marriage failed an attempt was made to establish a second foundation with funds from the first, as part of W leaving the Trust. Court approval was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 August 2021; Ref: scu.225333