High Court gives charities say in Norfolk case 

DoveTrust124The High Court has ruled that charities and good causes owed money by the online giving website CharityGiving, run by the Mid Norfolk-based Dove Trust, will be able to have their say as part of a court case to decide how available funds should be distributed.

At a directions hearing at the end of March, the Court confirmed that any charity or good cause that considers they wish to be heard on this matter have until April 23 to serve evidence and anyone wishing to be heard at court has until May 1 to serve notice to be joined to the proceedings.  Evidence should be shared with the Charity Commission, which will present it to court. 
The CharityGiving site was suspended in July 2013 by the Interim Manager, appointed to run the Dove Trust, as part of a Charity Commission investigation. The regulator is investigating serious concerns about the charity’s governance and management. That investigation is ongoing. 
Norfolk-based charities listed on the Charitygiving.co.uk website included Oak Grove Trust, The Mancroft Advice Project, Bryan Gunn’s Appeal, Families House and Voice for Change as well as national faith charities such as Christians Against Poverty, Youth2000 and Make Poverty History.
In December, the Charity Commission asked the court to decide how the Interim Manager can lawfully distribute funds to those owed money by the charity; there are several approaches that could be taken in distributing these funds. The purpose of the hearing was to clarify the options to be considered and to fix a date for the hearing to take place. 
Kenneth Dibble, Chief Legal Adviser and Head of Legal Services at the Charity Commission, said: "I welcome this decision to give charities the opportunity to present their evidence to the court. We do not expect that all charities affected will wish to present evidence, but we know that some charities affected do have coherent legal arguments or evidence to support a certain approach to distributing the funds. I am confident that the substantive case will be heard soon, so that the available funds are distributed as early as possible.” 
In December, the Commission announced that the Interim Manager has concluded that there is, at present, around £500,000 available for an initial distribution to over 1,800 charities and good causes owed around £2.2m by the Dove Trust. The Commission has been advised that, given the complexity of the charity and trust law issues involved, the court must decide on the fairest and most equitable approach to distributing currently available funds. 

Source: www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news

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