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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Kerry O’Halloran


Kerry O’Halloran This volume began with an overview of developments in charity law since 2001, as apparent from the charity legislation recently introduced in the UK and Irish jurisdictions, and so also in Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It explored the meaning of ‘public benefit’, as now newly defined in such legislation, giving particular attention to its distinctive attributes in Irish law and to its significance as the principle that ultimately distinguishes charity in a common law as opposed to a civil code context and as illustrated by the progress currently being made in China and Japan. That led, inevitably, into the matter of central concern to the book and to the future of charity: a consideration of the fluctuating boundaries between charity, religion and the more sectoral interests of business and government; noting also the significance of jurisdictional boundaries, the impact of global anti-terrorism provisions and economic recession, and the particular difficulties faced by federated jurisdictions. Beginning with a focus on the charity–business boundary, it explained why charity is now a growing presence in the marketplace and assessed the significance of: marrying public and private interests; corporate philanthropy; partnerships between charity and business; and the challenge of social entrepreneurship. Turning then to focus on the charity–government boundary, it explored and explained the reasons why this boundary is now changing: the rolling back of the ‘welfare state’; governments retreating from providing to regulating public benefit services and broadening the range of charitable purposes as a means of...

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