23 March 2018
The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) first applied for charitable status in 2011. HDT’s application was rejected by the Charity Commission in June 2012, which upheld its decision in October 2013 on the basis that while promoting human rights is a charitable purpose, changing the law was not. HDT appealed to the charity tribunal and a two day hearing took place in June.
In its decision published last month, the tribunal rejected the Commission’s argument that HDT’s purposes are ‘unclear or ambiguous’ and the Commission’s narrower interpretation of the meaning of human rights. The tribunal held that HDT was established for the purposes of protecting and promoting human rights and the sound administration of the law, and that these purposes are exclusively charitable under the Charities Act 2011.
However, the tribunal was careful to limit the case to its circumstances, ‘as a matter of law this decision is confined to its own facts and does not establish a legal precedent for the registration of other prospective charities’. Further, the tribunal added that the judgment would not affect charities which are already registered and would not supersede the Commission’s guidance or the decisions of higher courts.
The full decision is available here.