08 December 2016

Consultation on the 'advancement of health' as a charitable purpose

Alison Paines
Partner | UK

The non-for-profit organisation 'Good Thinking Society' threatened to apply for judicial review if the Charity Commission (the 'Commission') did not remove those charities which promote homeopathy from the register of charities, arguing that charities that promote 'disproven treatments' (such as homeopathy, in their opinion) should lose their charitable status, and that they do not meet the public benefit requirement.

Homeopathy is a form of medical treatment developed in the 18th century by german doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. It is not available on the NHS except for two hospitals (and some GP practices). In 2010, the House of Commons science and technology committee described homeopathy as being based on 'scientifically implausible' principles.

In response to the threatened action, the commission has agreed to review the law around 'the advancement of health or the saving of lives for the public benefit' more generally, as one of the charitable purposes that a charity can be registered under; it is expected that this review will be completed by July 2017 and if deemed necessary by the Commission, a public consultation will be carried out.

Click “here” to read the Good Thinking Society's article on the possible challenge.   

Alison Paines Partner | London, Cambridge

Category: Article

Client types: Charities and non-profit