02 April 2020 - Article
On 21 October, CAGE withdrew its judicial review of the Charity Commission's actions concerning the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) after the Charity Commission agreed that it _'does not seek to fetter charities' exercise of discretion.' _
In March, CAGE, an advocacy group whose mantra is to help people impacted by the war on terror, made comments which appeared to support the Islamic State terrorist known as Jihadi John. As a result the Charity Commission attempted to stop indefinitely present and future voluntary sector funding for the group. Complying with the Charity Commission's request JRCT issued a statement that it would not fund CAGE at any point in the future but noted that it objected to the 'acute regulatory pressure' it was put under to do so.
Consequently CAGE, with JRCT as an interested party, sought a judicial review claiming that the Commission had acted beyond its powers in demanding assurances that the charities would not fund CAGE now or in the future.
CAGE withdrew the judicial review when the three parties agreed a statement where the Charity Commission recognised that; 'it has no power to require trustees to fetter the future exercise of their fiduciary powers under its general power to give advice and guidance.'
The Charity Commission maintained that it had only ever sought to defend its responsibility for protecting the public trust and confidence in charities while Cage stated the Charity Commission had been wrong to require charities to give indefinite assurances never to fund CAGE.
Lord Chief Justice Thomas, who heard the case with Mr Justice Ouseley, stated that it was 'ludicrous' that the matter had ended up before the Court. The Charity Commission expressed their regret that the judicial process had dragged on, consuming charitable and public funds.