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The place of charity law in the life of the nation is a hot topic. As the government retreats from the direct provision of social welfare and public goods, and as charities seek as never before to integrate commerce and advocacy with their traditional purposes, much attention is being focused on charity law. These profound developments also suggest that charity law is becoming as important to contemporary societies as corporations law or administrative law. In this subject, we will look in depth at the key elements of this critical body of law. We will reflect on important questions raised by charity law in its contemporary setting, questions relating to the definition of charity, the taxation of charities, and charity regulation. We will adopt comparative, theoretical and practical perspectives in working through these questions. The subject will be taught by two of Australia’s leading charity law experts.
Principal topics include:
- The legal definition of charity in Australia and other analogous jurisdictions
- The public benefit test and recent developments in the law of public benefit in Australia and abroad
- The extent to which charities can undertake for-profit activities and member benefit arrangements
- The treatment of religion in charity law
- The treatment of political advocacy in charity law
- The tax treatment of charities from a critical perspective
- Charities and discrimination on grounds like race, religion and sex
- A comparative examination of the regulation of the charity sector.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of Australian charity law, including recent developments in this field of law and practice both in Australia and in other jurisdictions
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess legal rules, principles, policies and doctrines relating to charity
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the treatment of political advocacy in charity law, charities and discrimination, and the tax treatment of charities
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving charity law reform and regulation of the charity sector
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to charity law and practice, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to charity law and practice.
Last updated: 2 December 2019