Six year battle confirms that human rights is a legitimate charitable objective
The Peter Tatchell Foundation has secured charity status from the Charity Commission, after a six year battle, with the Commission confirming the Foundation’s human rights and charitable bona fides.
The Peter Tatchell Foundation seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations in the UK and internationally in accordance with established national and international human rights law.
The director of the foundation, Peter Tatchell, commented:
"This decision has confirmed the Foundation’s charitable work and status, and our legitimacy as a mainstream human rights organisation. It will enhance the credibility, authority and effectiveness of our work promoting and protecting human rights in the UK and around the world. It has been a long six-year struggle to achieve this goal. We are thankful to the Charity Commission and to Mishcon de Reya who assisted our application. I hope that our precedent will aid the bids of other human rights organisations striving for charitable status."
Law firm Mishcon de Reya represented the Peter Tatchell Foundation pro bono for two years in its quest for charity status.
Commenting on the approved charity application, Mishcon lawyer Matt Ingham said:
"This long awaited approval reflects the Charity Commission's more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of how the campaign for human rights is distinct from establishing a charity for political purposes. It is important to understand the barriers that prevent legitimate charitable entities from gaining approval in order to properly address them. With the valuable cooperation of the Charity Commission we were able to reach a great result for The Tatchell Foundation, which will have positive implications for other campaigning organisations going forward."
The chair of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Jeremy Hooke, added:
“Having official charitable status will open many doors to us and thereby enable us to better help the individuals and organisations who seek our advice and support. We are immensely grateful to Matt Ingham and the team at Mishcon de Reya for their invaluable legal support during our application to the Charity Commission.”
The Peter Tatchell Foundation's conversion to a registered charity is the latest example of the precedent set in the 2014 decision in Human Dignity Trust v Charity Commission.
In that case, the Human Dignity Trust successfully appealed the Charity Commission's refusal of charity status on the grounds that the charitable purpose of advancing human rights was distinct from campaigning to change the law. The Charity Commission stipulates that no charity can be established for political purposes or make campaigning its main focus. The Peter Tatchell Foundation does neither. Most of its endeavours involve information, education, awareness raising, advice and casework.