Modernising Charity Law
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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
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Chapter 5: Developing Issues in the Regulation of Public Benefit Organisations in Japan and China

Karla W. Simon


Karla W. Simon1 INTRODUCTION Japan and China – two civil law2 countries – are in the process of developing new legal regimes for public benefit organisations, which are sometimes known as charities in the common law world. The designations of these new types of organisations vary in translation: ● ● In Japan they are called public benefit or public interest organisations; there is also a chapter on ‘charitable’ trusts in the Law on Trusts. In China the term ‘public welfare’ (gong yi) is generally used; there is a chapter on charitable trusts in the Law on Trusts; and work is being done to develop a ‘charity’ (cishan) law.3 What is meant in general is a subset4 of not-for-profit legal entities that meet the definition of public benefit used in Anglo-American law. In a civil law regime there are generally two legal forms of not-for-profit legal person – associations and foundations. Associations are groups of persons, while foundations have an endowment. Thus, for example, the German Civil Code provides for both registered and unregistered associations and for foundations. Foundations are, however, regulated under the laws of the German states (Länder).5 The similarities between the formal legal regime in China and that of Japan are worth emphasising to the extent of the structural elements of the Civil Codes adopted in Japan at the end of the 19th century and in Republican China at the beginning of the 20th century.6 Regarding juristic persons, both Civil Codes required that: 1. 2. 3. the permissible entities be organised...

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