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 9: Not-for-profit organizations, public law and private law

Kathryn Chan


This chapter argues that charity law is best understood as a public-private hybrid in which individual autonomy is valued in certain respects, and collective priorities in others. The chapter contrasts charity law with statutory schemes establishing social enterprise vehicles in the United Kingdom and British Columbia. It concludes that the law enabling and regulating the UK’s ‘community interest company’ balances individual and collective goals in much the same way as charity law; in contrast, the chapter associates the legislation governing British Columbia’s ‘community contribution company’ with a distinct shift towards valuing individual autonomy over collective priorities. Throughout, the chapter argues that the public/private distinction remains both relevant and useful when considering charity law in particular and the legal order generally.

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