In re Compton; Powell v Compton: CA 1945

The court considered the charitable status of a trust ‘for the education of Compton and Powell and Montague children’.
Held: It was not charitable. If the group of beneficiaries is distinguishable from other members of the community by a relationship with a particular individual or entity, whether as a result of family ties, or through contract, or by their employment or by membership of an association, that group will not be considered to constitute the public for charitable purposes.
The essential requirement of a public charity is that it dispenses aid to all members of the relevant class of beneficiaries irrespective of all factors other than need.
Lord Greene MR said: ‘I come to the conclusion, therefore, that on principle a gift under which the beneficiaries are defined by reference to a purely personal relationship to a named propositus cannot on principle be a valid charitable gift. And this, I think, must be the case whether the relationship be near or distant, whether it is limited to one generation or is extended to two or three or in perpetuity. The inherent vice of the personal element is present however long the chain and the claimant cannot avoid basing his claim on it.’


Lord Greene MR


[1945] Ch 123, [1945] 1 All ER 198, (1945) 61 TLR 167

Cited by:

CitedDingle v Turner and Others HL 16-Feb-1972
Gift to Specified person not Charitable
The testator left part of his property on charitable trusts for the relief of the poverty of ‘the poor employees’ of a company. The appellant argued that it was not a charitable gift, and that the gift failed.
Held: The purpose will not be . .
CitedHelena Partnerships Ltd v HM Revenue and Customs CA 9-May-2012
The company had undertaken substantial building works and sought associated tax relief. The court was asked whether, following a change in the company’s memorandum and articles of association, the company, a registered social landlord, remained a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.181253