Charitable Trusts and the Public Service: The Public Accountability of Private Care Providers

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As charitable and voluntary bodies participate more in the delivery of what are normally regarded as public services, especially healthcare and housing, they will need to know whether they will be treated as public bodies for the purposes of judicial review and liability under the Human Rights Act 1998. But at present there are too many tests to discover whether a body exercises a public function; the courts have adopted a highly pragmatic approach which, it is argued, has been at the expense of principle, resulting in uncertainty for both provider and user of these services. It is suggested that a test which focuses on the user's consent to submit to the power of the provider is the key to developing a more principled and consistent approach.

Keywords: Accountability; Human Rights Act 1998; charities; judicial review

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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