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Charity law update

Do members of charities have any duty towards the furtherance of the charitable purpose, asks Stephen Roberts

13 February 2014

Members of charitable companies and charitable unincorporated associations have limited powers. In general, they tend to be about changing the constitution, appointing or removing the charity trustees, and deciding whether the charity should be wound up.

Sometimes, the assertion is made that members of charities are not obliged to act in the interests of the charity as trustees must, but they can exercise their powers as members in their own interests.

The general position regarding members of companies is set out in Greenhalgh v Arderne Cinemas Ltd [1951] Ch 286. This was that members, in discharging their role as a member, could act in their own interests rather than in the interests of the company. In Girls' Public Day School Trust Ltd v Minister of Town and Country Planning [1951]

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