Professional bodies and charity law
Chevalier-Watts, J. (2014). Professional bodies and charity law. New Zealand Law Journal, April, 97–101.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9696
The word “charity” can mean many things to many people. The legal definition is inevitably rather complex and for the layperson, the general notion of charity is that of benevolence and philanthropy, and whilst the legal meaning and the layperson’s meaning of charity may diverge in some respects, it is widely accepted that the social construct of charity is seen as “means of redressing wrongs in society” so where “a State may have been unable to provide a function or service, charity could fill that void, and the voids would depend on the government and policies at the time.” It would also be fair to say that the four heads of charity, as will be addressed shortly, are rooted in government policy. Whilst this notion of redressing societal wrongs has been subject to some criticism, in particular that of Victorian society, where attempts were made to distinguish between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor and who should be most entitled to receive charitable gifts, and whilst the inherent issues relating to the concept of charity generally are outside the scope of this article, it is undoubtedly correct that charity itself is recognised as a socially cohesive part of society, both in terms of its origins, where charity “has been seen from the earliest days of Christianity as one of the central tenets of the Christian faith” to contemporary times, where the central obligation is to put others first, thus engaging the ephemeral concept of the spirit of charity.
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This is the submitted version of an article published in the journal: New Zealand Law Journal. ©2014 LexisNexis NZ Ltd. Used with permission
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