In a recent decision, the Charities Registration Board declined to register as charities the Foundation for Anti-Aging Research, and the Foundation for Reversal of Solid State Hypothermia.

While the Foundations’ objects may seem somewhat novel, the decision is an interesting case study on educational purposes, and whether an organisation provides sufficient ‘public benefit’ to be considered charitable.

The Board found that:

The overwhelming purpose of the Foundations was to fund research into cryopreservation and reanimation of deceased individuals;

The proposed research purpose was not education because it was not a "useful subject of study";

Cryopreservation and reanimation “lacked sufficient academic credibility and were too speculative to have an educative purpose”; and

Cryopreservation was too expensive, meaning that the service would be too narrowly available and essentially ‘private’.

The determination of whether a particular area of study is ‘useful’ and has sufficient credibility seems rather subjective.

The Foundations have appealed the Board’s decision to the High Court, and the Court’s decision on whether the Board’s decision was correct may be of interest to other research organisations.

Reminder about the importance of providing information to Charities Services.

In determining a preliminary procedural application, the High Court has provided some useful statements about whether further information can be provided by applicants on appeal from a decision of the Board.

The High Court held that it would only allow more targeted evidence to be provided on appeal if there were ‘special reasons’ for hearing the evidence. When looking at the evidence from the Foundations that it would allow, the Court generally considered whether the information could have been provided to the Board at the time it considered the application, and whether the information would assist the Court.

This is a timely reminder to organisations that when applying for charitable status, it is very important to provide all relevant information to Charities Services at the time of application.