chapter  4
24 Pages

Alienation, philanthropy and the common law

The common law heritage, underpinning the statutory infrastructure of many modern western nations, has proved enduring. Some of its characteristic components have been very serviceable. The public benefit test, for example, has lent itself as a means for the flexible reinterpretation of what in law can be defined as charitable in the light of changing social and economic circumstances. The protective nature of the parens patriae jurisdiction,1 coupled with the prerogative powers of the High Court, for centuries provided a supportive framework for sustaining charities and their activities. However, for common law nations the charity law framework may now provide an inadequate and in some respects even an obstructive means for addressing the social inclusion issues.