Morice v Bishop of Durham: HL 1805

The court was asked whether a gift of residue to be applied ‘to such objects of benevolence and liberality as the Bishop of Durham in his own discretion shall most approve of’ was valid as being confined to purposes that were charitable.
Held: For a non-charitable trust to be given effect at law, the beneficiaries of the trust must be identifiable.
Lord Eldon referred to the preamble to the 1601 Statute, saying: ‘where there is a gift to charity, in general, whether it is to be executed by individuals selected by the testator himself or the King as parens patriae is to execute it . . it is the duty of such trustees, on the one hand, and of the Crown, upon the other, to apply the money to charity in the sense, which the determinations have affixed to that word in this court, viz. either such charitable purposes as are expressed in the Statute . . or to purposes having analogy to those. I believe the expression ‘charitable purposes,’ as used in this court, has been applied to many acts described in that Statute, and analogous to those, not because they can with propriety be called charitable, but as that denomination is by the Statute given to all the purposes described.’ and
‘As it is a maxim, that the execution of a trust shall be under the control of the Court, it must be of such a nature, that it can be under that control; so that the administration of it can be reviewed by the Court; or, if the trustee dies, the Court itself can execute the trust; a trust therefore, which, in case of maladministration could be reformed; and a due administration directed; and then, unless the subject and the objects can be ascertained, upon principles, familiar in other cases, it must be decided, that the Court can neither reform maladministration, nor direct a due administration.’
Lord Eldon LC, Sir William Grant MR
(1805) 10 Ves Jun 522, [1805] EWHC Ch J80, (1805) 10 Ves 522, (1805) 32 ER 947
Statute of Charitable Uses 1601
England and Wales
See AlsoMorice v The Bishop of Durham 1789
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See AlsoMorice v The Bishop of Durham 1789
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See AlsoMorice v The Bishop of Durham 1789
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Appeal fromMorice v The Bishop of Durham CA 26-Mar-1804
Bequest, in trust for such objects of benevolence and liberality as the trustee in his own discretion shall most approve, cannot be supported as a charitable Legacy ; and is therefore a Trust for the next of kin.
Ann Cracherade by her Will, . .

Cited by:
CitedHunt and Another v McLaren and others ChD 4-Oct-2006
Land had been given to a football club under a trust for its exclusive use as such. That land was sold and a new ground acquired and a stadium built, but the land was subject to restrictive covenenats limiting its use to sports, which considerably . .
CitedGibbs v Harding and others ChD 12-Jan-2007
The testatrix left a will anticipating making another. The court was asked whether a clause leaving her estate to ‘be taken over by the Diocese of Westminster to hold in trust for the Black community of Hackney’ was valid.
Held: The gift was . .
CitedMorice v The Bishop of Durham 20-Mar-1805
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See AlsoMorice v The Bishop of Durham 21-Jun-1805
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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 . .
CitedInland Revenue v Broadway Cottages CA 26-Jul-1954
Two charitable trusts appealed against decisions disallowing their claim to allowance for relief against income tax of certain incomes.
Held: To be valid, a trust must be one which the Court can control and execute. In this case, the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 January 2021; Ref: scu.220236