Category Archives: cy-pres

Cy-Pres and the Redistribution of Charitable Wealth

John Picton: Liverpool University

The charitable cy-pres doctrine permits the alteration of trust purposes. It is a complex and famously technical area of law. It was described as ‘arcane’ by Lord Diplock, and as ‘metaphysics’ by Lord Neuberger. But it is important. It permits trusts to be changed. It is also a powerful mechanism. Where once weak common law rules inhibited reform, under statute, it has real teeth. Since the enactment of pioneering legislation in the 1960s, it has been possible to reform trusts on the straightforward basis that they are unsuitable or ineffective. That broad and discretionary standard promotes active trust reform.

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