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cy-près doctrine


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[French: cy, here; près, near]

A doctrine that in some circumstances enables a gift to charity that would otherwise fail to be diverted to another related charitable purpose. If, for example, the purpose for which a charitable gift is made cannot be achieved in exactly the way intended, or if the funds available are more than sufficient to achieve the purpose, the court or the Charity Commissioners may make a scheme for the funds to be applied to a charitable purpose as close as possible to the original one. If the gift fails after it has come into effect, cy-près will operate automatically. If a gift fails at its inception, the application of the doctrine will depend on a court's perception of the settlor's intention; to apply the funds of cy-près, a general charitable intention must be found. Applications for a cy-près scheme are governed by the Charities Act 1993, primarily section 14 as amended by chapter 4 of the Charities Act 2006.

Subjects: Law.


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