National Anti-Vivisection League v Inland Revenue Commissioners: HL 2 Jul 1947

The main object of the Society was political viz, the repeal of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, and for that reason the Society was not established for charitable purposes only and was not entitled to exemption from tax. An organisation whose aims could be seen as harmful to the public could not be recognised as a charity. the object of repealing the Act of 1876 was ‘a main object, if not the main object, of the Society, to obtain an alteration of the law.’
Seeking an amendment of acts of parliament, or even their repeal, where that is ancillary to one of the established charitable objects in common law did not deprive an organisation of its charitable status. But this society ‘has chosen to restrict its attack upon cruelty to a narrow and peculiar field, and it has adopted as its leading purpose the suppression of vivisection by legislation’
Lord Simonds said that there may be circumstances in which the Court will in a later age hold an object not to be charitable which has in earlier ages been held to possess that virtue. And the converse case may be possible. That degree of uncertainty in the law must be admitted.
Lord Simonds said: ‘Nowhere perhaps did the favour shown by the law to charities exhibit itself more clearly than in the development of the doctrine of general charitable intention, under which the court, finding in a bequest (often, as I humbly think, on a flimsy pretext) a general charitable intention, disregarded the fact that the named object was against the policy of the law . .’

Wright, Porter, Simonds, Norman LL
[1948] AC 31, [1947] UKHL 4, [1947] 2 All ER 217
Cruelty to Animals Act 1876
England and Wales
CitedIncome Tax Special Commissioners v Pemsel HL 20-Jul-1891
Charitable Purposes used with technical meaning
The House was asked whether, in a taxing statute applying to the whole of the United Kingdom and allowing for deductions from and allowances against the income of land vested in trustees for charitable purposes, the words ‘charitable purposes’ . .

Cited by:
CitedAttorney General v British Museum ChD 27-May-2005
The trustees brought a claim against the Attorney-General seeking clarification of their duties and powers to return objects which were part of the collection in law, but where a moral duty might exist to return it to a former owner. Here drawings . .
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 . .
CitedLehtimaki and Others v Cooper SC 29-Jul-2020
Charitable Company- Directors’ Status and Duties
A married couple set up a charitable foundation to assist children in developing countries. When the marriage failed an attempt was made to establish a second foundation with funds from the first, as part of W leaving the Trust. Court approval was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Charity, Income Tax

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.220239