Inland Revenue Commissioners v McMullen: CA 1979

The Football Association had set up a trust to promote football in universities and schools, claiming this was charitable under the 1958 Act.
Held: The trust was not charitable whether as being for the advancement of education, or in the fourth head of charity, or under the Recreational Charities Act 1958.
Bridge LJ (dissenting) said: ‘I turn therefore to consider whether the object defined by clause 3(a) is charitable under the express terms of section 1 of the Recreational Charities Act 1958. Are the facilities for recreation contemplated in this clause to be ‘provided in the interests of social welfare’ under section 1(1)? If this phrase stood without further statutory elaboration, I should not hesitate to decide that sporting facilities for persons undergoing any formal process of education are provided in the interests of social welfare. Save in the sense that the interest of social welfare can only be served by the meeting of some social need, I cannot accept the judge’s view that the interests of social welfare can only be served in relation to some ‘deprived’ class. The judge found this view reinforced by the requirement of subsection (2)(a) of section 1 that the facilities must be provided ‘with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities are primarily intended;’ Here again I can see no reason to conclude that only the deprived can have their conditions of life improved. Hyde Park improves the conditions of life for residents in Mayfair and Belgravia as much as for those in Pimlico or the Portobello Road, and the village hall may improve the conditions of life for the squire and his family as well as for the cottagers. The persons for whom the facilities here are primarily intended are pupils of schools and universities, as defined in the trust deed, and these facilities are in my judgment unquestionably to be provided with the object of improving their conditions of life. Accordingly the ultimate question on which the application of the statute to this trust depends, is whether the requirements of section l(2)(b)(i) are satisfied on the ground that such pupils as a class have need of facilities for games or sports which will promote their physical education and development by reason either of their youth or of their social and economic circumstances, or both. The overwhelming majority of pupils within the definition are young persons and the tiny minority of mature students can be ignored as de minimis. There cannot surely be any doubt that young persons as part of their education do need facilities for organised games and sports both by reason of their youth and by reason of their social and economic circumstances. They cannot provide such facilities for themselves but are dependent on what is provided for them.’


Stamp, Orr, Bridge LJJ


[1979] 1 WLR 130


Recreational Charities Act 1958 1


Appeal fromInland Revenue Commissioners v McMullen ChD 1978
The Football Association set up a trust to promote football and other sports in schools and universities. The parties disputed whether a valid charitable trust had been created.
Held: The trust was not valid as one for the advancement of . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromInland Revenue Commissioners v McMullen HL 6-Mar-1980
HL Charity – Promotion of sport – Trust created ‘to organise or provide or assist in the organisation and provision of facilities which will enable and encourage pupils of schools and universities in any part of . .
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 . .
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: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.273192