Baddeley (Trustees of the Newtown Trust) v Inland Revenue Commissioners: HL 17 Feb 1955

Land had been conveyed to trustees for the moral, social and physical well-being of a community. The court considered whether the trust was charitable in nature, where it was said that it confined the benefits to a class of people who do not constitute either the public or a relevant section of the public.
Held: It was not charitable, in particular that it failed for its vagueness and generality.
Lord Simonds distinguished between ‘a form of relief extended to the whole community yet, by its very nature, advantageous only to the few, and a form of relief accorded to a selected few out of a larger number equally willing and able to take advantage of it’, saying ‘Somewhat different considerations arise if the form, which the purporting charity takes, is something of general utility which is, nevertheless, made available not to the whole public but only to a selected body of the public – an important class of the public it may be. For example, a bridge which is available for all the public may undoubtedly be a charity and it is indifferent how many people use it. But confine its use to a selected number of persons, however numerous and important: it is then clearly not a charity. It is not of general public utility, for it does not serve the public purpose which its nature qualifies it to serve.’ and ‘The moral, social and physical well-being of the community, or any part of it, is a laudable object of benevolence and philanthropy, but its ambit is far too wide to include only purposes which the law regards as charitable.’
Viscount Simonds, Lord Porter, Lord Reid, Lord Tucker, Lord Somervell of Harrow
[1955] UKHL 1, [1955] AC 572, [1955] 1 All ER 525
England and Wales
CitedVerge v Somerville PC 1924
On an appeal from New South Wales, The Board considered the validity of a gift ‘to the trustees’ of the Repatriation Fund or other similar fund for the benefit of New South Wales returned soldiers’.
Held: Trusts for education and religion do . .

Cited by:
CitedGuild v Inland Revenue Commissioners HL 6-May-1992
The will left land for a sports centre to a local authority which no longer existed. If the gift was charitable, the gift would be applied cy pres, but if not it would fail and pass to the family and be subect to Inheritance Tax.
Held: A gift . .

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Updated: 01 February 2021; Ref: scu.248522