In re Hummeltenberg; Beatty v London Spiritualistic Alliance Limited: ChD 1923

A testator by his will bequeathed 3,000 pounds to the London Spiritualistic Alliance Limited to form the nucleus of a fund for the purpose of establishing a college for the training and developing a suitable person’s male and female as mediums, preference being given to healing mediums, and those for diagnosis of disease.
A committee of three of the council was to control the money, and invest and use the interest for the above-mentioned purpose; and if that became impracticable, then for the advancement of the cause of spiritualism as seemed best to the council. Should at any time the alliance cease to exist, the testator directed his residuary estate to be divided equally between certain hospitals.
Held: The request was invalid, involving, as it did, a perpetuity, because it had not been established that the trust was one which was, or might be, operative for the public benefit, or one of the administration of which the court could, if necessary undertake or control. It was therefore not a valid charitable gift, and fell into residue. Whether a gift or trust was or might be operative for the public benefit was a question to be determined by the court, by forming an opinion on the evidence before it, the personal or private opinion of the judge being immaterial; but it was not a question of which the donor of the gift or the creator of the trust was as had been contended, the only judge.

Russell J
[1923] 1 Ch 237, [1923] All ER 49
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedGilmour v Coats HL 1949
Prayers Alone did not make Convent Charitable
A trust to apply the income of a fund for all or any of the purposes of a community of Roman Catholic Carmelite nuns living in seclusion and spending their lives in prayer, contemplation and penance, was not charitable because it could not be shown . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.653057