Rettendon Parish Council v Hart & ors

WTLR Issue: Autumn 2020 #180

RETTENDON PARISH COUNCIL

V

1. ROY HART

2. JACKIE COPSEY

3. KATHRYN CLARK

4. PAT PREBBLE

5. JONATHAN HAVARD

6. THOMAS MARSHALL

7. HER MAJESTY’S ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Analysis

On 5 December 1861 an award made under the Inclosure Act 1845 created two separate charitable trusts of plots of land within the parish of Rettendon in Essex: the Allotment for Exercise and Recreation (charity number 271480) and the Allotment for the Labouring Poor (charity number 271479).

The claimant was the local civil parish council, established by s1(1) of the Local Government Act 1894. The defendants were current or former members of the parish council. Between 2013 and 2017 a series of appointments of individual parish councillors as trustees of the charities had been made by the claimant.

The claimant contended that, by virtue of s6(1)(c)(iii) of the 1894 Act, it was at all material times the sole trustee of the charities. The defendants contended they were validly appointed as the trustees of the charities and that the statutory power of appointing trustees under s36 of the Trustee Act 1925 now therefore vested in them.

Held: that the defendants were trustees but the claimant held sole power to appoint

Sections 5 and 6 of the Local Government Act 1894 had the effect, on the coming into effect of that Act, of vesting title to all relevant land, including the land of the charities, in the claimant and appointed the claimant as the initial sole trustee of the same.

Section 14(2) of the 1894 Act conferred a continuing power on the claimant as the parish council thereafter to appoint trustees of the charities, to serve for a term of up to four years. That power continued to be exercisable by the claimant pursuant to s300 of the Charities Act 2011, s302 of which Act also empowered the claimant to make appointments to fill casual vacancies. Accordingly, in 2017 the claimant had validly appointed the defendants as trustees of the charities for a term of four years.

As powers to appoint new trustees were vested in the parish council, the defendants could not exercise the statutory power to appoint under s36 of the Trustee Act 1925.

JUDGMENT ZACAROLI J: Introduction [1] On 5 December 1861 by an award (the ‘Award’), made under the Inclosure Act 1845 (the ‘1845 Act’), two plots of land within the parish of Rettendon in Essex were allotted for the benefit of the local inhabitants. It is common ground that the allotments created two separate charitable trusts …
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Counsel Details

Mr Joshua Winfield (Radcliffe Chambers, 11 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QB, tel 020 7831 0081, email clerks@radcliffechambers.com), instructed by Tees Law (95 London Road, Bishop’s Storford CM23 3GW, tel 0808 271 6509, email hello@teeslaw.com) for the claimant.

Mr Roy Hart, the first defendant, appeared in person. None of the other defendants appeared or were formally represented.

Cases Referenced

  • Densham v Charity Commission for England and Wales [2018] UKUT 402 (TCC); [2019] WTLR 473 UT (TCC)
  • Pretty v Solly (1859) 26 Beavan 606 (Ch)
  • Snelling v Burstow Parish Council [2014] 1 WLR 2388

Legislation Referenced

  • Charities Act 1993, s79
  • Charities Act 2011, ss298-302
  • Inclosure Act 1845
  • Local Government Act 1894, ss1(1), 3(9), 5(2)(c), 6(1)(c), 6(4) and 14
  • Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, s33(3)