Modernising Charity Law

Modernising Charity Law

Recent Developments and Future Directions

Edited by Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Kerry O’Halloran

In recent years the pressure for charity law reform has swept across the common law jurisdictions with differing results. Modernising Charity Law examines how the UK jurisdictions have enacted significant statutory reforms after many years of debate, whilst the federations of Canada and Australia seem merely to have intentions of reform. New Zealand and Singapore have begun their own reform journeys. This highly insightful book brings together perspectives from academics, regulators and practitioners from across the common law jurisdictions. The expert contributors consider the array of reforms to charity law and assess their relative successes. Particular attention is given to the controversial issues of expanded heads of charity, public benefit, religion, competition with business, government participation and regulation. The book concludes by challenging the very notion of charity as a foundation for societies which, faced by an array of global threats and the rising tide of human rights, must now also embrace the expanding notions of social capital, social entrepreneurism and civil society


Myles McGregor-Lowndes

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law


Myles McGregor-Lowndes This volume about modernising charity law results from a conference held at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland University of Technology in April 2009. It came at a pivotal moment in Australian charity law reform, as the first term federal Labor government began a number of overlapping inquiries touching upon charity reform. Many hoped that this government would eventually lay down a blueprint for charity law reform in Australia and perhaps even Third Sector reform, which had generated only glimmers of interest under the previous 13 years of conservative administration. A previous conference was held at the Centre in 2001 – the impetus being the recommendations of the Charity Definition Inquiry,1 which held much promise – and it resulted in a collection of papers being published in a special issue of Third Sector Review.2 That conference brought together scholars and regulators from across the globe, including United Kingdom and Canadian policy makers who were at that time tasked with providing options to reform charity law and regulation in their respective countries. The Australian legislative outcome of the Charity Definition Inquiry was meagre when compared with reform in the UK, New Zealand and Singapore: a very short Act applying only to the federal jurisdiction and addressing just three issues.3 The draft bill was much more ambitious, but attracted significant opposition from the sector and legal practitioners as it departed from the carefully crafted inquiry recommendations. The 2009 conference again brought together scholars and regulators from...