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 15: The heads of charity in comparative perspective

Debra Morris


This chapter traces the development of the ‘heads’ of charity from Elizabethan times to the modern legislative restatements that may be found across the common law world. The chapter concentrates on three areas: the charitable status of religion; the charitable status of advancement of education; and the charitable status of sport. In relation to religion, the chapter contrasts the relatively accommodating approach in jurisdictions such as Australia and Ireland, with the more sceptical approach of England and Wales and Scotland. The treatment of education touches on the question whether independent schools should be recognized as charities even where their fees are unaffordable to the poor. The discussion of sport raises the question: why do countries with strong and enduring sporting traditions, such as Australia and New Zealand, nonetheless refuse to recognize the promotion of amateur sport as a type of charitable purpose?

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