Skip to main content


Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3165: Charity Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Legal forms of civil society or non-profit organisations and the significance of charity in the not-for-profit sector; the role of charity trustees; charitable fundraising and appeals; investment of charitable funds; fiscal treatment of charities
  • The legal meaning and definition of charity; the advantages and disadvantages of a statutory definition; alternative approaches to defining ‘charity’, eg based on notions of altruism or public goods or autonomy
  • Religion and charity: the historical connection; judicial approaches towards religion; the definition of religion; the meaning of ‘advancement of religion’ and the merits of its inclusion as a charitable purpose
  • The impact of charities charging fees for their services; the place of poverty in charity
  • The interface between politics and charity: the meaning of ‘political purposes’ and the rationale for their exclusion from charity; the scope for charities to be involved in political campaigning
  • Charity and discrimination: the freedom for charities to select beneficiaries according to defined characteristics
  • Alternative approaches to charity (including in relation to questions concerning religion, politics and fee-charging) in other jurisdictions, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • Regulation of the charitable sector: the Charity Commission; registration, reporting and auditing requirements; the Charity Tribunal; the doctrine of cy-près

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity32Lectures (16 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity16Seminars (8 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity8Drop-in sessions (8 x 1 hour) +
Guided Independent Study16*Reading in advance of lectures
Guided Independent Study80*Reading and preparation for seminars
Guided Independent Study16*Consolidating learning post-seminar
Guided Independent Study28*Reading and preparation for case note
Guided Independent Study18*Preparation of essay plan
Guided Independent Study86*Research, planning and execution of summative essay(s)
+ Drop-in sessions are designed for module-specific queries and discussions. You are welcome to attend with specific queries or to discuss proposed summative topics or completed formatives, or simply to discuss charity-related matters.
* For guided independent study, the hours spent on each task are for guidance only and may vary depending on your own study needs and learning style.

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).