Outcomes from the Charitable Purpose forum

Before its functions were taken over by the Department of Internal Affairs (on 1 July 2012), the Charities Commission invited a wide cross-section of people from the charitable sector and a range of expert speakers to a two-day forum to discuss what the legal definition of “charitable” should be.

At the forum, participants discussed and debated the issues related to defining a “charitable purpose”, to help inform the review of the Charities Act 2005 that is scheduled for 2015.

The forum also provided participants with an opportunity to better understand the complexities of charities law and the difficulties around succinctly defining a “charitable purpose”.

The forum included presentations from keynote speakers from:

  • The United Kingdom – Lindsay Driscoll
  • Canada – Bob Wyatt
  • Australia – Professor McGregor-Lowndes and Dr Turnour

These were complemented by a presentation on the New Zealand legal perspective from Justice Joe Williams.

In addition to the keynote presentations, four panels of speakers made presentations on the existing definition, funding perspectives, ethnic perspectives, and what a future definition might be. After each panel discussion, participants held group discussions to provide input into the concepts, issues, and possible solutions.

If you’d like to hear the presentations or read the papers presented at the forum, please see the Charities Commission website (still active, but now maintained by the Department of Internal Affairs).