Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law
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Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law

Edited by Matthew Harding

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of scholarship on not-for-profit law. The chapters, written by world leading experts, explore key ideas and debates in relation to: theories of the not-for-profit sector, the composition and scope of that sector, not-for-profit organisations and the constitution, the legal conception of charity, the tax treatment of not-for-profit organisations and the regulation of not-for-profits. The book serves to represent not-for-profit law as a field of academic inquiry, and to point the way to future research in that field.
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Chapter 3: A charity law perspective on a liberal perspective on charity law

Adam Parachin


This chapter takes up questions about the justification of the state’s treatment of charities from the liberal perspective that has too often neglected such questions. It does so via a critical examination of Matthew Harding’s recent book, Charity Law and the Liberal State. The chapter argues that Harding does not do enough to address and understand the particular ways in which the liberal state, with an eye to the value of autonomy, promotes the pursuit of charitable purposes. It also questions whether Harding defends sufficiently his chosen methodology of seeking to interpret charity law ‘from within’, and it worries that Harding’s treatment of political purposes reveals that Harding’s primary concern is not charity law per se but rather the duties and responsibilities of the liberal state. The chapter also argues that Harding fails to explain why the state, via charity law, promotes only autonomy-enhancing purposes that are pursued altruistically.

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