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Neutrality, Charity Law and Public Benefit

Martin, N; (2014) Neutrality, Charity Law and Public Benefit. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis addresses three interrelated problems raised by charity law. The first concerns the conceptual understanding of the practices of charities. Charitable organisations must pursue one or more of a set of designated purposes; and in pursuing those purposes they must provide public benefit. Although these terms may seem clear, their meaning and implications are contested, and there are some authors who even deny that there are two separate tests. The second problem addressed by this thesis concerns the normative principles that might account for the practices of charities. This problem is prompted by the fact that in granting charitable status the state makes a value judgement about certain goods; it tells us that a given set of conceptions are worthy of special provisions, such as tax exemptions, that are not available to the pursuit of other conceptions. In short, there appears to be prima facie conflict between charity law and liberal neutrality. This gives rise to the third problem of what, methodologically, we are to do when considered judgements and theoretical convictions pull in different directions but both with good reason. In seeking to reconcile the practice of charity and liberal neutrality, this thesis takes a reflective equilibrium approach. Having dismissed several accounts of neutrality as either incapable of accounting for the conflict, or entailing unworkable strategies for the practice of charity, this thesis proposes a two-­‐stage argument. The first is a neutral justification for the promotion of altruism in general, and the second draws from neutrality of treatment to explain why all conceptions of the good should have the opportunity to obtain charitable status. This argument contains a proviso for associations to do so, which arises from the conceptual discussion of the two main principles of charity law.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Neutrality, Charity Law and Public Benefit
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1449201
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