Jersey: Philanthropy

Last Updated: 18 April 2012
Article by Zillah Howard

Philanthropy is a topic of increasing importance for many people. In strict terms, philanthropy focuses on the wellbeing of human kind, although the term tends to be given a wider meaning, encompassing a broad range of giving initiatives. Some of those initiatives will be characterised as charitable in the relevant jurisdiction, others - albeit altruistic and benevolent in nature - may not.

Jersey can be an attractive jurisdiction in which to establish philanthropic structures for a variety of reasons. Chief among these will be that the Island offers stability (politically, economically and geographically), a robust regulatory regime, a well-respected judicial system, a depth and breadth of experience amongst its professional advisers, and a body of legislation which places a strong emphasis on the importance of flexibility, allowing for the creation of structures designed to meet an individual client's requirements.

This article uses the term philanthropy to include all giving initiatives, whether intended to promote human wellbeing or not and whether charitable or not, and gives an overview of the two principal structures used in Jersey for philanthropy: the trust and the foundation.


The Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 as amended (the "Trusts Law") allows for the creation of both charitable and non-charitable purpose trusts.

Charitable trusts

Whilst the Trusts Law allows for the creation of charitable trusts, it does not define "charity". The position is therefore covered by case law and the leading case on the topic establishes the following:

(1) There must be a clear intention on the part of the settlor to devote the whole of the property to charitable purposes.

(2) The purpose must be enforceable by the court.

(3) The purpose should be within the express terms or the "spirit and intendment" of the preamble to the English Charitable Uses Act 1601 (also known as the Statute of Elizabeth). Four principal categories have been derived from this:

(a) the relief of poverty;

(b) the advancement of education;

(c) the advancement of religion; and

(d) other purposes beneficial to the community.

(4) The purpose must be for the public benefit.

(5) The trust must be exclusively charitable.

Non-charitable purpose trusts

Non-charitable purpose trusts are expressly provided for by the Trusts Law and can be used in circumstances where particular purposes, whilst philanthropic, may nevertheless not be capable of being categorised as strictly charitable. Examples, here, would be trusts for humanitarian, ecological or research purposes.

Key Points

With a trust established under Jersey law, the following are key points to note:

(1) Duration:The trust can be established for an unlimited period.

(2) Registration:There is no public registration of trusts in the Island.

(3) Restrictions:The Trusts Law provides that a trust cannot directly hold immovable property situate in the Island. A separate piece of legislation - the Loi (1862) sur les teneures en fideicommis et de l'incorporation d'associations (the "1862 Law") - allows for trusts of Jersey situate immovable property in certain defined circumstances. A consideration of the 1862 Law is outside the scope of this article.

(4) Enforcement:There is no Charity Commission in Jersey with a supervisory role in relation to charities: it is the duty of the Attorney General in the Island to enforce charitable trusts.

The Trusts Law imposes the duty of enforcement in relation to non-charitable purpose trusts on an office holder known as an enforcer. The enforcer's statutory duty is to enforce a trust in relation to its non-charitable purposes.

Subject to the qualification that the enforcer of a non-charitable purpose trust cannot also be a trustee of the trust, there are no other limitations with regard to the choice of the enforcer. An individual or a corporate entity can be appointed, and there is no requirement for the enforcer to be resident in Jersey.

The Trusts Law imposes a duty on the trustee of a non-charitable purpose trust to secure the appointment of a new enforcer at any time when there is none, and also to apply to the Royal Court for the removal of the enforcer and the appointment of a replacement where the trustee has reason to believe that the enforcer is unwilling or refuses to act, or is unfit or incapable of acting.

To facilitate his role, the enforcer is entitled to see trust accounts and can apply to the Royal Court for orders and declarations.

(5) Amendments: The Trusts Law provides that a trust can be varied in any manner provided by its terms. There is also a statutory cy-pres provision which allows the Royal Court, in certain specified circumstances, to declare that the trust property is to be held for such other charitable or non-charitable purpose, as the case may be, as the court considers to be consistent with the settlor's original intention. This jurisdiction can operate, for example, where a trust's stated purpose has been fulfilled, or no longer exists, or provides for only a partial use of the property.

(6) Taxation:For charitable trusts, the Income Tax (Jersey) Law 1961 as amended (the "Income Tax Law") provides that an exemption from income tax will be granted in respect of income derived from the property of a trust established in Jersey for the advancement of education, the relief of poverty, the furtherance of religion, a purpose beneficial to the whole community, or the service of any church or chapel or any building used solely for the purpose of divine worship, in so far as the income is applied to those purposes.

A Jersey resident trustee of a non-charitable purpose trust would ordinarily be chargeable to income tax in respect of all income arising to the trustee in that capacity. However, a concession is available for non-charitable purpose trusts under which no resident of Jersey (other than a charity) has an interest, whether during or at the end of the trust period. In such circumstances, Jersey income tax is not payable in respect of foreign income or Jersey bank interest.


The Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009 (the "Foundations Law") is very flexible and allows for the creation of a foundation for purposes - known as objects - which are charitable, non-charitable, or both charitable and non-charitable. The Jersey foundation can therefore be an ideal vehicle to use in circumstances where an individual is keen to pursue particular philanthropic initiatives, some or all of which may not be strictly charitable.

Key Points

With a Jersey foundation for philanthropic purposes, the following are key points to note:

(1) Duration:As with charitable and non-charitable purpose trusts, the foundation can be established for an unlimited period.

(2) Registration:Unlike a trust, a Jersey foundation is an incorporated body which has its own legal personality, can hold assets and can sue (and be sued) in its own name. A foundation comes into existence following the completion of an incorporation process, and an entry made in the register of foundations is a matter of public record and conclusive evidence that a foundation has been incorporated and that the requirements of the Foundations Law in relation to incorporation have been complied with.

The constitutional documents of a foundation are its charter and its regulations. A foundation will be incorporated on the instruction of the founder, and will have a council (similar to a board of directors) to administer its assets and to carry out is objects, and a guardian. One of the council members must be a "qualified person" with the appropriate regulatory licence pursuant to the Financial Services (Jersey) Law 1998 as amended: this member is known as the qualified member.

In terms of publicly available information, the register of foundations contains:

(a) the foundation's name, registered number and charter (but not its regulations); and

(b) the qualified member's name and business address in Jersey.

The charter is required to specify its objects and, where the objects are to carry out a purpose - whether charitable, non-charitable or both - this must be specified in the charter.

The information required to be included in the charter is limited and it is not necessary to include the names of the founder, the council members and the guardian. The identities of the founder and of those officer holders (other than the qualified member) need not, therefore, be a matter of public record. However, for those who would prefer to maintain an open profile, additional information beyond that which is prescribed by the Foundations Law can be incorporated into the charter and thereby become a matter of public record.

Unlike a trust, a foundation can be incorporated without any initial endowment. Where endowments are going to be permitted after a foundation's incorporation, this has to be made clear in the foundation's charter.

(3) Restrictions:As with trusts, a Jersey foundation cannot directly hold immovable property in the Island. A foundation is also prohibited from directly engaging in commercial trading that is not incidental to the attainment of its objects. However, the doctrine of ultra vires does not apply in relation to a foundation and its capacity will not be limited by anything in its constitutional documents.

(4) Enforcement:A Jersey foundation must have a guardian whose duty is to take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the council carries out its functions. The guardian can also have such other powers and duties as the foundation's constitutional documents provide.

The founder and the qualified member (although no others) may fulfil a dual role as both council member and guardian. As with the enforcer of a non-charitable purpose trust, the guardian can be an individual or a corporate entity, and there is no requirement for the guardian to be resident in Jersey.

The guardian can require the council to account for the way in which it has administered the foundation's assets and acted to further its objects, and can apply to the Royal Court for orders and directions. The powers available to the Royal Court include the power to order a foundation to carry out its objects in circumstances where it has failed to do so, and also the power to appoint or remove the council members and the guardian.

A guardian can be empowered, in certain circumstances, to sanction or authorise actions taken by the council that would not otherwise be permitted by the foundation's constitutional documents.

(5) Amendments:The foundation's constitutional documents can allow for amendments to be made to the charter and regulations, including amendments to the foundation's objects or purposes. When any such changes are made, an updated charter will need to be filed with the registrar of foundations.

The Foundations Law also permits the Royal Court to propose amendments to a foundation's charter or amend its regulations if the court is satisfied that the change will assist the foundation to administer its assets or attain its objects, or that the stated objects are no longer attainable and that the proposed change will help the foundation to attain objects as near as reasonably possible to the stated objects.

(6) Taxation:Whilst the exemption contained in the Income Tax Law which applies to charitable trusts (please see above) does not expressly apply to foundations, the Comptroller of Taxes will nevertheless grant an exemption from Jersey income tax, by concession, to a foundation which is established solely for charitable purposes.

Where a foundation is established for philanthropic purposes which are not strictly charitable, its income chargeable to tax under Schedule D of the Income Tax Law will be taxed at the rate of 0%. Accordingly, such a foundation will not be liable to pay Jersey income tax, save only for the proviso that, where Jersey residents have an interest (e.g. as founders or beneficiaries), the Comptroller of Taxes may deem it appropriate to apply the statutory anti-avoidance provisions.


1. Meaker v Picot (1972) JJ 2161

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions