THE CURIOUS CASE OF KENNEDY v CHARITY COMMISSION

THE CURIOUS CASE OF KENNEDY V CHARITY COMMISSION

By Richard Clayton QC

On 26 March 2014 the Supreme Court gave a lengthy judgment in Kennedy v Charity Commission [2014] UKSC 20, running to 248 paragraphs.  The Supreme Court decision is full of surprises.  The Court decided to depart from the arguments of the parties- the majority insisted that common law rights rather than the Human Rights Act were the key to the case; and then embarked on an extended and wide ranging obiter discussion of public law issues, revealing further disagreements between the Justices.

Mr Kennedy, a Times journalist, raised concerns about how George Galloway MP ran his controversial Iraq charity, the Miriam Appeal.  He alleged that public donations were used to fund visits by Mr Galloway to Iraq and to support political campaigns against UN sanctions and against Israel.  As a result, the Charity Commission which held three inquires under the Charities Act 2006, which dismissed the complaints in very brief terms, leaving unanswered questions which the Supreme Court thought were of considerable public importance.

Richard Clayton QC