Charities Act, 1961

Application cy-près of gifts of donors unknown or disclaiming.

48.—(1) Property given for specific charitable or non-charitable purposes which fail shall be applicable cy-près by a Court of competent jurisdiction as if given for charitable purposes generally, where it belongs—

(a) to a donor who, after such advertisements and inquiries as are reasonable, cannot be identified or cannot be found; or

(b) to a donor who has executed a written disclaimer of his right to have the property returned,

but in applying cy-près property given for specific non-charitable purposes regard shall be had to the wishes of the trustees or other persons in charge of the property.

(2) For the purposes of this section property shall be conclusively presumed (without any advertisement or inquiry) to belong to donors who cannot be identified, in so far as it consists—

(a) of the proceeds of cash collections made by means of collecting boxes or by other means not adapted for distinguishing one gift from another; or

(b) of the proceeds of any lottery, competition, entertainment, sale or similar money-raising activity, after allowing for property given to provide prizes or articles for sale or otherwise to enable the activity to be undertaken.

(3) A Court of competent jurisdiction may by order direct that property not falling within subsection (2) shall for the purposes of this section be treated (without any advertisement or inquiry) as belonging to donors who cannot be identified, where it appears to the Court either—

(a) that it would be unreasonable, having regard to the amounts likely to be returned to the donors, to incur expense with a view to returning the property; or

(b) that it would be unreasonable, having regard to the nature, circumstances and amount of the gifts, and to the lapse of time since the gifts were made, for the donors to expect the property to be returned.

(4) Where property is applied cy-près by virtue of this section, the donor shall be deemed to have parted with all his interest at the time when the gift was made; but where property is so applied as belonging to donors who cannot be identified or cannot be found, and is not so applied by virtue of subsection (2) or (3)—

(a) the scheme shall specify the total amount of that property; and

(b) the donor of any part of that amount shall be entitled, if he makes a claim not later than twelve months after the date on which the scheme is made, to recover from the charity for which the property is applied a sum equal to that part, less any expenses properly incurred by the charity trustees after that date in connection with claims relating to his gift; and

(c) the scheme may include directions as to the provision to be made for meeting any such claim.

(5) For the purposes of this section, purposes shall be deemed to fail where any difficulty in applying property to those purposes makes that property, or, in the case of property to be applied for charitable purposes, the part not applicable cy-près under section 47, available to be returned to the donors.

(6) In this section, except in so far as the context otherwise requires, references to a donor include references to persons claiming through or under the original donor, and references to property given include references to the property for the time being representing the property originally given or property derived from it.

(7) (a) The powers conferred by this section on a Court of competent jurisdiction in relation to property given for specific charitable purposes may, where the property does not exceed one thousand pounds in value, be exercised by the Board, and, for the purposes of such exercise, references in the preceding subsections of this section to a Court of competent jurisdiction shall be construed as including references to the Board.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a)—

(i) the value of land shall be taken to be fifty times the rateable valuation thereof,

(ii) the value of any periodical payment to which land is subject shall be taken to be fifteen times the annual amount thereof, and

(iii) the value of any other periodical payment shall be taken to be twenty times the annual amount thereof.

(8) This section shall apply to property given for charitable or non-charitable purposes, notwithstanding that it was so given before the commencement of this Act.