London – In a landmark decision, the High Court today granted permission to proceed with the Judicial Review of the Charity Commission on the grounds that it may have acted outside of its remit in pressuring charities to stop funding and associating with CAGE.
It will be argued at a hearing in October that the Charity Commission overstepped its powers and acted outside of the law in seeking assurances that charities should cease funding CAGE and never to do so in the future.
CAGE launched the Judicial Review in relation to letters sent out in March by the Charity Commission to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation, pressuring them to commit to never funding CAGE again. The Charity Commission also contacted several other charities to pressure them into not associating with CAGE, creating a dangerous precedent for civil society by threatening the freedom of association.
Not only did the Charity Commission spread false information based on certain media reports about CAGE, but it also assumed the role of counterterrorism police rather than a charity sector regulator in reacting to CAGE’s decision to question the role of the security forces in radicalising Mohammed Emwazi prior to him leaving for Syria.
Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said:
“We are pleased at today’s decision. The rule of law remains an ideal worth striving for in the interests of good government and peace at home and abroad.”
“The Charity Commission’s actions against CAGE have sent a chill through the charity sector, and this is a welcome step in the right direction for all members of civil society.”
Zoe Nicola of HMA Solicitors, representing CAGE said:
“We are grateful to the Court for granting permission to pursue the Judicial Review against the Charity Commission, on the basis that there was an arguable case that they acted beyond their statutory powers in seeking assurances that, in essence, prevented the provision of future charitable funding to CAGE.”
“The case raises major constitutional issues on whether the Commission can require assurances from charities not to spend private money in support of controversial causes. We welcome the Court’s decision that the Judicial Review raises sufficiently important matters that the full appeal should be unusually determined by a full Divisional Court.”
“Given that this matter is going before the full Court, we cannot make any further comment at this stage.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)