The legal regimes in place in a number of countries are discussed in this
Appendix. The selection of countries examined is not exhaustive, but has been
chosen as being broadly illustrative of current overseas practice and of most
direct relevance to Australia’s circumstances. Extracts from the relevant
legislation in a number of countries are included as attachments to this
Common law countries
Barbados appears to be the only common law country in the world that has
attempted a major statutory redefinition of charity. In 1978 the Barbados
Parliament, in light of the Goodman report1 and as part of an attempt to attract
the headquarters of major international charities to Barbados, passed the
The term ‘charity’ is defined within this Act, in part, as a body which ‘is
established for charitable objects or purposes, and is intended to and does
operate for the public benefit’. ‘Charitable purposes’ is defined by means of a
non-exhaustive list covering 26 main purposes and 14 amplifying
sub-headings. ‘Public benefit’ is defined, in part, as a ‘benefit of a kind
comprised within the scope of charitable purposes which is available to
members of the public at large or to a section of the public ascertained by
reference to some specified geographical area’. Relevant excerpts from the
Barbados legislation, including the full list of charitable purposes, are included
at Attachment E.1.
It is clear that the list contained in the definition of ‘charitable purposes’ closely
follows that suggested in the Goodman report, applying a traditional common
law understanding of charity to modern examples.
1 National Council of Social Service 1976, Charity Law and Voluntary Organisations: Report of an
independent committee of inquiry (Lord Goodman: Chairman) to examine the effect of
charity law and practice on voluntary organisations, Bedford... [continues]
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