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Uneven ground

The Law Commission’s recommendations on clarifying the legal basis for charity’s to make social investments should be implemented without fail, says Darren Hooker  

16 October 2014

The Law Commission recently published its recommendations regarding the law on social investment by charities, following its consultation earlier in the summer. The Law Commission provides a definition of social investment which broadly means the use of funds to achieve both a financial return and the furtherance of a charity's purposes.

Background

The area of social investment is one of increasing importance to society and one which many charities want to engage in. Although there is a general acceptance that charities can make social investments, the legal basis for them to do so is uncertain. The Charity Commission has produced helpful guidance on the topic but unfortunately, it has no statutory footing. And to make matters worse, any available case law is unhelpful. In particular, Rosemary Simmons Memorial Housing Association Ltd v United Dominions Trust Ltd (Bates & Partners (a firm), third party) makes clear the risk...

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