Charity Commission faces judicial review over seeking assurances from charities funding CAGE

The High Court has granted an application brought by CAGE which will review whether the Charity Commission exceeded its statutory powers by seeking assurances from charities not to fund CAGE due to its employees’ comments regarding a radicalised extremist.

We have previously reported on the Charity Commission’s actions in respect of charities that funded the non-charitable organisation CAGE. In brief the Charity Commission sought unequivocal assurances from the Joseph Roundtree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation that they would not fund CAGE, following comments by CAGE’s director in relation to an Islamic State militant suggesting that his radicalisation may have been caused by the security services. For further details see Charity Commission reminds trustees their obligation of due diligence includes grant making.

CAGE brought the challenge before the High Court arguing that the Charity Commission’s actions to pressure the two charities went beyond the powers granted to it by the Charities Act 2011. On this ground the High Court granted the request for review and a hearing is likely to be held later in the year in the Divisional Court.

While CAGE and its legal team has welcomed the decision, the Charity Commission has said that it will defend the actions it took and explain why its actions were firmly within its powers. In particular, the Charity Commission points out that it took action with the aim of protecting the public trust and confidence in charity and to ensure that trustees of the charities concerned were complying with their legal duties towards the charity. For further details on the Charity Commission’s response see the Charity Commission statement.

The forthcoming decision is an important one as it will shed light on whether the Charity Commission’s engagement was an appropriate one and how trustees should be going about meeting their obligations when making grants to non-charitable organisations.

Further details of the forthcoming decision will be provided on our blog. If you would like advice or assistance in relation to grant making or charity governance, please contact Daniel Milnes.

Nat Avdiu

About Nat Avdiu

Nat Avdiu is a Paralegal in the Contracts and Projects team at Forbes Solicitors. Nat provides updates for clients on a range of issues including: governance, data protection and freedom of information, procurement and charity law.
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