Independent schools failing to provide some benefits for their potential beneficiaries other than its fee-paying students would be falling foul of the law, an appeal tribunal ruled last week as it rejected most of a claim challenging the interpretation of the concept of ‘public benefit’ as set out by the Charity Commission.

Ruling in Independent Schools Council v Charity Commission [2011] UKUT 421 (TCC) the Upper Tribunal decided that each case depended on its own facts and that – provided the de minimis threshold was crossed – it was a matter for the trustees of a charitable independent school, rather than up to the Charity Commission or tribunal, to decide how trustees’ obligations might best be fulfilled in the light of...

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