DETERMINING PUBLIC BENEFIT

Determining Public Benefits that support Rights and Freedoms for All

Charitable status should not depend on the priorities or “values” of the majority – especially if those “values” are used to exclude certain voices from the public square. The presumption of public benefit for religious charities is an effective and appropriate way to ensure that those charities function legally and for the good of their communities.

“Unpopularity of causes otherwise charitable should not affect their charitable status,” and neither should “lack of controversy … be determinative”

2015 – New Zealand Chief Justice Elias

“If popularity, or lack of controversy, were requirements of public benefit, the result would … be contrary to the very spirit of charity law. For example, once upon a time, it would have been inconceivable that purposes such as encouraging the abolition of the slave trade, promoting civil rights or … environmental protection would be construed as charitable”

– Chevalier-Watts 2020, 10