These consolidated appeals raise once more a question, which has so often caused doubt and difficulty in the courts of this country, whether certain trusts are charitable in the sense which the law accords to that word. It need cause no surprise, though it may cause regret, that this should be so. For while no comprehensive definition of legal charity has been given either by the Legislature or in judicial utterance, there is no limit to the number and diversity of the ways in which man will seek to benefit his fellow-men. To determine whether the privileges, now considerable, which are accorded to charity in its legal sense, are to be granted or refused in a particular case, is often a matter of great nicety and I think that this House can perform no more useful function in this branch of the law than to discourage a further excess of refinement where already so many line distinctions have been made.
In the present appeals the controversy is about the amount of stamp duty payable in respect of two deeds of conveyance, by which trusts were declared of certain property thereby respectively conveyed. If the trusts so declared were charitable the duty is smaller than if they were not charitable. The sums actually at stake are trifling, but the issue is an important one. It was decided in favour of the Appellants, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, by Mr. Justice Harman but against them by the Court of Appeal. Hence the present appeal.
I find it convenient, my Lords, to examine the two deeds separately and take first a deed of conveyance to the Respondents as trustees of certain land at Stratfordin the county of Essex of an area of about 680 square yards with a Mission Church, lecture room and store erected on some part thereof. So far as relevant (omitting certain words which admittedly were inserted in error) the trusts of this property were as follows:
The Trustees shall permit the said property to be appropriated and used by the Leaders for the time being of the Stratford Newtown Methodist Mission under the name of ' the Newtown Trust' (herein- after called the Foundation ') for the promotion of the religious social and physical well being of persons resident in the County Boroughs of West Ham and Leyton in the County of Essex by the provision of facilities for religious services and instruction and for the social and physical training and recreation of such aforementioned persons who for the time being are in the opinion of such Leaders members or likely to become members of the Methodist Church and of insufficient means otherwise to enjoy the advantages provided by these presents . . . and by promoting and encouraging all forms of such activities as are calculated to contribute to the health and well-being of such persons Provided always that the Trustees shall not at any| time hereafter and so long as the trusts hereby declared shall not have totally failed use or permit the said properly to be used either for physical training or physical recreation or any kind of game on Sundays Christmas Days or Good Fridays or for the sale or consumption of intoxicating drink.
This main trust is followed by certain ancillary provisions which cannot, I think, affect the question whether it is a charitable trust. It is at once apparent that the document is not skilfully drawn. It is presumably all the persons resident in the specified boroughs whose religious, social and physical well-being is to be promoted, but this is to be achieved by providing certain facilities for religious services and instruction and for the social and physical training and recreation of such aforementioned persons, i.e., such residents, as are for the time being in the opinion of such Leaders members or likely to become members of the Methodist Church and of insufficient means otherwise to enjoy the advantages provided by these presents. This awkward phraseology leaves me in doubt whether the beneficiaries under this trust are to be all the residents in a certain area or only such of the residents as satisfy two conditions, first that they are Methodists or in the opinion of the Leaders potential Methodists, and secondly that they are of limited means. It might even he that upon a true interpretation of the deed some benefits are open to all the residents, others to a more limited class. Fortunately I do not find it necessary to determine this question, for I think that, whatever view may he taken of it this case is governed by the recent decision of this House in Williams' Trustees v. C.I.R. ( A.C 447).
Before, however, I examine that case and certain other cases which must. I think, guide your Lordships' decision. I must first dispose of two contentions which were urged, the one by the Respondents and the other by the Attorney General, against the appeals.
By the Respondents it was contended that the trusts of the deed could be supported as valid charitable trusts on the ground that they came within the first head of Lord Macnaghten's classification in Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Pemsel  A.C. 531. viz., that they were for the relief of poverty. This contention was, in my opinion, rightly rejected both by Mr. Justice Harman and the Court of Appeal. I do not question that there may be a good charity for the relief of persons who are not in grinding need or utter destitution: see In re de Carteret  Ch. 103. But I agree with Mr. Justice Harman, and am content to adopt his words, that relief connotes need of some sort, either need for a home or for the means to provide for some necessity or quasi-necessity, and not merely an amusement however healthy.
The Attorney-General, appearing as amicus curiae, urged that the validity of the trust could be sustained on the ground that, regarded as a whole, it was an educational charity. This contention had not previously been put forward and your Lordships have not the advantage of knowing the views upon it of the learned Judge and the Court of Appeal. The short answer appears to me to be that, regarded as a whole, the sum of the activities permissible under the deed can only be regarded as educational in the sort of loose sense in which all experience may be said to be educative, and that, if such activities are examined one by one, it would be impossible to regard many of them as in even the loosest sense educational.
If then this trust is charitable, it can only be because it falls within the fourth class in Lord Macnaghten's classification ; that is, it must be a trust of general public utility and must be within the spirit and intendment of the preamble to the Statute 43 Elizabeth cap. 4. And this is what the Court of Appeal has held it to be.
My Lords, with great respect to the singularly acute and refined argument of LordJustice Jenkins, who delivered the leading judgment in the Court of Appeal. I must doubt whether anything is gained by discussing whether the trust should be regarded as prescribing three separate and distinct objects, namely (a) the promotion of religious well-being, (b) the promotion of social well-being, and (c) the promotion of physical well-being or as having as itsgoal a state of complete well-being with three several aspects, religious, social and physical. Let it be assumed that, in the words of the learned Lord Justice, the object of the trust is the religious, social and physical improvement of the persons resident in the two boroughs: and let it be further assumed that this is the end desired for each of such persons, making such reservation as may be necessary for the fact that facilities for social and physical training are to be reserved for a limited class of those persons. Yet in the end the question is for what purposes may the trust property be used without trespassing beyond the language of the deed? I find that it may be used for promoting and encouraging all forms of such activities, i.e. the provision of facilities for (inter alia) social and physical training and recreation, as are calculated to contribute to the health and well-being of such persons. My Lords, I do not think it would be possible to use language more comprehensive and more vague. I must dissent from the suggestion that a narrow meaning must be ascribed to the word social: on the contrary, I find in its use confirmation of the impression that the whole provision makes upon me. that its purpose is to establish what is well enough called a community centre in which social intercourse and discreet festivity may go hand in hand with religious observance and instruction. No one will gainsay that this is a worthy object of benevolence, but it is another question whether it is a legal charity, and it appears to me that authority which is binding on your Lordships puts it beyond doubt that it is not. Here we are not concerned to consider whether a particular use to which the trust property may be put is a charitable use: that is a question upon which different minds might well come to different conclusions. On the contrary, we must ask whether the whole range of prescribed facilities or activities (call them what you will) is such as to permit uses which are not charitable : if it is, it is not such a trust as the Court can execute, and it must fail.
My Lords, I repeat that in this admittedly difficult branch of the law nothing is to be gained by adding refinement to refinement, and I am satisfied that in the light of several decisions of this House, in which comparable general words have been held not to create a valid charitable trust, your Lordships would not be justified in taking a different view in the present case. From many cases I will take a few, selecting only those in which the generality of the words has been held to exclude an exclusively charitable connotation. In Farley v. Westminster Bank Ltd.  A.C. 430, the gift was to the respective vicars and churchwardens of two named churches for parish work. Vague words indeed, but, if I had to write them out somewhat less vaguely, I could not easily find more appropriate words than those with which the trust of this deed begins and ends, adding perhaps something about the relief of the poor which at any rate would not detract from their charitable content. Yet this trust failed, because work (or activity) which conduces to the welfare of the parishioners (or which promotes their religious, social and physical well-being) is not confined to purposes legally charitable. So in an earlier case, Dunne v. Byrne  A.C. 407, a gift to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane to be used in the manner most conducive to the good of religion in this diocese as he might decide, was held to be invalid, because, though it had a prima facie religious content, yet the generality of the language admitted an application which the law would not consider charitable. The words of Lord Macnaghten in delivering the judgment of the Board may be recalled: The language of the bequest (to use LordLangdale's words) would be ' open to such latitude of construction as to raise no trust which a Court of Equity could carry into execution . These words are directly applicable to the present case. and. being applied, are fatal to the contention of the Respondents. I do not refer to Houstonv. Burns  A.C. 337 or other cases in which the same principle has been applied, and come to the recent case of Williams' Trustees. which I have already mentioned. There the House had to consider a deed by which a trust was established for the benefit of Welsh people in London. Its object was declared to be to establish and maintain an institute and meeting place in London for the benefit of Welsh people resident in or near or visitingLondon with a view to creating a centre in London for promoting the moral, social, spiritual and educational welfare of Welsh people, and of fostering the study of the Welsh language, and so on. The means by which this was to be achieved were, without prejudice to the generality of the object, set out with some particularity. The noble and learned Lords who heard the case (including my noble and learned friend, Lord Porter) were unanimous in thinking that this was not a valid charitable trust. It is true that in the present case religious instruction is, but in Williams' Trustees was not, prescribed, but this distinction is irrelevant as it is conceded that the trust is not exclusively for religious purposes. But apart from this distinction, what valid ground is there for distinguishing the two cases? I ignore at this stage any difference in the class of beneficiaries: that raises another and more difficult question. I look only at the nature of the benefits which are within the scope of the two trusts, having regard in each case to the language of the exordium, and in this aspect I am unable to find any material distinction. I hope that I do no injustice to the judgments of the Court of Appeal in the present case if I say that they appear to give a special meaning to the word social where it occurs in the present deed and, having done so, to give too much significance to that meaning. It is to be observed that social is a word that occurs in the Williams' Trustees deed also, It is probably true that, as Lord Justice Jenkins says, much turns on the construction of the several deeds and it is perhaps because I have taken a different view of the meaning of a particular word that I have come to a different conclusion on the whole case. I am glad to think that in doing so I find myself in complete agreement with the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland who in Londonderry Presbyterian Church House v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue 27 Tax Cases 431 had to construe a deed which is essentially comparable with that which your Lordships are considering and held that the trust thereby established was not a valid charitable trust.
Other aspects of the trust established by the first deed were discussed and it is right that I should make some observations upon them, but before doing so I will turn to the second deed, by which an area of land at Ilford in the county of Essex laid out as a playing field, upon parts of which a pavilion and groundsman's bungalow had been erected, was conveyed to trustees upon trusts which were substantially the same as those of the first deed except that (a) moral was substituted for religious in the opening words of the trust. (b) no reference was made to the provision of facilities for religious services and instruction, and (c) the benefits were unambiguously conferred exclusively upon residents who satisfied the conditions of member-ship or potential membership of the Methodist Church and insufficiency of means to which I have already referred. The second deed also contained certain ancillary provisions to which I need not refer and further, a declaration of trust of the sum of Â£10,000 which had been paid to them and of any other money or property which might be paid or transferred to them which the trustees were directed to use or apply in such manner (I quote) as the Trustees shall think most beneficial for promoting the objects of the charity hereby constituted.
Once more I submit to your Lordships that this trust must fail by reason of its vagueness and generality. The moral social and physical well-being of the community or any part of it is a laudable object of benevolence and philanthropy, but its ambit is far too wide to include only purposes which the law regards as charitable. I need not repeat what I have said in regard to the promotion of religious, social and physical well-being, except to emphasise that to hold the one a valid and the other an invalid trust would be to introduce the sort of refinement which I deplore.
In regard to this second trust I will only add that it does not follow that, because a trust in the vague and general terms of the second deed cannot be supported, therefore a gift by devise or conveyance of land for a recreation ground must also fail. This was the particular concern of the learned Attorney-General, and I think it right to say that, in my opinion, a gift of land for use as a recreation ground by the community at large or by theinhabitants of a particular geographical area may well be supported as a valid charity. But I would reserve my opinion in a case in which the beneficiaries are a class determined, for instance, by adherence to a particular religion or by employment in a particular industry or by particular employers.
This brings me to another aspect of the case, which was argued at great length and to me at least presents the most difficult of the many difficult problems in this branch of the law. Suppose that, contrary to the view that I have expressed, the trust would be a valid charitable trust, if the beneficiaries were the community at large or a section of the community defined by some geographical limits, is it the less a valid trust if it is confined to members or potential members of a particular Church within a limited geographical area?
The starting point of the argument must be, that this charity (if it be a charity) falls within the fourth class in Lord Macnaghten's classification. It must therefore be a trust which is, to use the words of Sir Samuel Romilly in Morice v. Bishop of Durham, of general public utility, and the question is what these words mean. It is, indeed, an essential feature of all charity in the legal sense that there must be in it some element of public benefit, whether the purpose is educational, religious or eleemosynary: see the recent case of Oppenheim v. Tobacco Securities Trust Co. Ltd.  A.C. 297; and, as I have said elsewhere, it is possible, particularly in view of the so-called poor relations cases ", the scope of which may one day have to be considered, that a different degree of public benefit is requisite according to the class in which the charity is said to fall. But it is said that, if a charity falls within the fourth class, it must be for the benefit of the whole community or at least of all the inhabitants of a sufficient area. And it has been urged with much force that, if, as Lord Greene said in In re Strakosch [1949) Ch. 529), this fourth class is represented in the preamble to the Statute of Elizabeth by the repair of bridges, etc., and possibly by the maintenance of Houses of Correction, the class of beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries cannot be further narrowed down. Some confusion has arisen from the fact that a trust of general public utility, however general and however public, cannot be of equal utility to all and may be of immediate utility to few. A sea-wall, the prototype of this class in the preamble, is of remote, if any, utility to those who live in the heart of the Midlands. But there is no doubt that a trust for the maintenance of sea-walls generally or along a particular stretch of coast is a good charitable trust. Nor, as it appears to me, is the validity of a trust affected by the fact that by its very nature only a limited number of people are likely to avail themselves, or are perhaps even capable of availing themselves, of its benefits. It is easy, for instance, to imagine a charity which has for its object some form of child welfare, of which the immediate beneficiaries could only be persons of tender age. Yet this would satisfy any test of general public utility. It may be said that it would satisfy the test because the indirect benefit of such a charity would extend far beyond its direct beneficiaries, and that aspect of the matter has probably not been out of sight. Indirect benefit is certainly an aspect which must have influenced the decision of the cruelty to animal cases. But I doubt whether this sort of rationalisation helps to explain a branch of the law which has developed empirically and by analogy upon analogy.
It is, however, in my opinion, particularly important in cases falling within the fourth category to keep firmly in mind the necessity of the element of general public utility, and I would not relax this rule. For here is a slippery slope. In the case under appeal the intended beneficiaries are a class within a class ; they are those of the inhabitants of a particular area who are members of a particular Church: the area is comparatively large and populous and the members may be numerous. But. if this trust is charitable for them, does it cease to be charitable as the area narrows down and the numbers diminish? Suppose the area is confined to a single street and the beneficiaries to those whose creed commands few adherents: or suppose the class is one that is determined not by religious belief but by membershipof a particular profession or by pursuit of a particular trade. These were considerations which influenced the House in the recent case of Oppenheim. That was a case of an educational trust, but I think that they have even greater weight in the case of trusts which by their nominal classification depend for their validity upon general public utility.
It is pertinent, then, to ask how far your Lordships might regard yourselves bound by authority to hold the trusts now under review valid charitable trusts, if the only question in issue was the sufficiency of the public element. I do not repeat what I said in the case of Williams' Trustees about Goodman v. Saltash 7A.C. 633 and the cases that closely followed it. Further consideration of them does not change the view that I then expressed, which in effect endorsed the opinion of the learned editor of the last edition of Tudor on Charities. More relevant is the case of Verge v. Somerville A.C. 496. In that case, in which the issue was as to the validity of a gift to the trustees ... of the Repatriation Fund or other similar fund for the benefit of New South Wales returned soldiers. Lord Wrenbury delivering the judgment of the Judicial Committee said that, to be a charity, a trust must be for the benefit of the community or of an appreciably important class of the community. The inhabitants he said, of a parish or town, or any particular class of such inhabitants, may ... be the objects of such a gift, but private individuals, or a fluctuating body of private individuals, cannot. Here, my Lords, are two expressions an appreciably important class of the community and any particular class of such inhabitants, to which in any case it is not easy to give a precise quantitative or qualitative meaning. But I think that in the consideration of them the difficulty has sometimes been increased by failing to observe the distinction, at which I hinted earlier in this Opinion, between a form of relief extended to the whole community yet by its very nature advantageous only to the few and a form of relief accorded to a selected few out of a larger number equally willing and able to take advantage of it. Of the former type repatriated New South Wales soldiers would serve as a clear example. To me it would not seem arguable that they did not form an adequate class of the community for the purpose of the particular charity that was being established. It was with this type of case that Lord Wrenbury was dealing, and his words are apt to deal with it. Somewhat, different considerations arise if the form, which the purporting charity takes, is something of general utility which is nevertheless made available not to the whole public but only to a selected body of the public an important class of the public it may be. For example, a bridge which is available for all the public may undoubtedly be a charity and it is indifferent how many people use it. But confine its use to a selected number of persons however numerous and important: it is then clearly not a charity. It is not of general public utility: for it does not serve the public purpose which its nature qualifies it to serve.
Bearing this distinction in mind, though I am well aware that in its application it may often be very difficult to draw the line between public and private purposes, I should in the present case conclude that a trust cannot qualify as a charity within the fourth class in Pemsel's case if the beneficiaries are a class of persons not only confined to a particular area but selected from within it by reference to a particular creed. The learned Master of the Rolls in his judgment cites a rhetorical question asked by Mr. Stamp in argument. Who has ever heard of a bridge to be crossed only by impecunious Methodists? The reductio ad absurdum is sometimes a cogent form of argument, and this illustration serves to show the danger of conceding the quality of charity to a purpose which is not a public purpose. What is true of a bridge for Methodists is equally true of any other public purpose falling within the fourth class and of the adherents of any other creed.
The passage that I have cited from Verge v. Somervillerefers also (not, I think, for the first time) to private individuals or a fluctuating body of private individuals " in contradistinction to a class of the community or of the inhabitants of a locality. This is a difficult conception to grasp: the distinction between a class of the community and the private individualsfrom time to time composing it is elusive. But, if it has any bearing on the present case. I would suppose that the beneficiaries, a body of persons arbitrarily chosen and impermanent, fall more easily into the latter than the former category.
I conclude that on this ground also I should decide this case against the Respondents even if I were otherwise in their favour, and will only add that in coming to this conclusion I find myself in agreement with Lord Justice Babington in the Londonderrycase to which I have already referred.
I move that the appeals be allowed accordingly. The costs of all parties will be paid by the Appellants in accordance with the undertaking previously given.
I concur with the Opinion of the noble Lord on the Woolsack in holding that the trusts declared in the two matters now under appeal are not charitable.
Like Lord Tucker, however, I desire to express no opinion as to whether the beneficiaries constitute a sufficient class for the purposes of Class 4 of Pemsel's case.
The first question to be determined is the proper interpretation of the trust purposes set out in the conveyances of the mission hall and lecture room and of the playing field. I shall take first the conveyance of the playing field. The phraseology is in this deed more concise and somewhat easier to follow. The essential part of it for the present purpose is as follows: The Trustees shall permit the said property to be appropriated and used by the Leaders for the time being of the Stratford Newtown Methodist Mission under the name of ' The Newtown Trust... for the promotion of the moral social and physical well-being of persons resident in the County Boroughs of West Ham and Leyton in the County of Essex who for the time being are in the opinion of such Leaders members or likely to become members of the Methodist Church and of insufficient means otherwise to enjoy the advantages provided by these presents by the provision of facilities for moral social and physical training and recreation and by promoting and encouraging all forms of such activities as are calculated to contribute to the health and well-being of such persons.
This begins by setting out the object to be attained the moral social and physical well-being of persons resident in the County Boroughs of West Ham and Leyton ". There follows a limitation to a section of those persons. I must return to this, but as this limitation throws no light on the nature of the trust purposes I need not deal with it now. Then there follows the method, and the only permissible method, by which the object is to be attained: first by the provision of facilities for moral social and physical training and recreation and then by promoting and encouraging all forms of such activities (which must mean the activities of moral, social and physical training and recreation) " as are calculated to contribute to the health and well-being of the beneficiaries. I think that facilities here means equipment and instruction or supervision suitable for the activities mentioned and it is, I think, plain that the playing field can only be used for activities which are promoted or encouraged by the Leaders. The real question is, what are the nature and scope of the activities which the Leaders are required or permitted to promote or encourage, and whether the conduct of any of those activities would go beyond what can properly be regarded as the fulfilment of a charitable purpose? The proviso, which I have not quoted, throws little independent light on this question, and it must, in my opinion, be determined by construing the words which I have quoted in light of the whole circumstances disclosed in the deed.
The Leaders are, in my view, required to bear in mind that the donor's objective is threefold—to promote the moral and social and physical well-being of the beneficiaries: they must not pursue one of these purposes in isolation. Of course, some activities will contribute more to one and some more to another of these purposes, but they must not promote or encourage any activity which may be detrimental to any of these three purposes—indeed, they must prevent any such activity. They are expressly required only to promote or encourage activities which are calculated to contribute to health and well-being: it is not enough that a particular activity should not be harmful to health or well-being; it must only be promoted or encouraged if it is such as to contribute to health and well- being, and of course it would only be possible to conduct activities of a kind which the nature of the premises—a playing field—permits.My Lords, it is said that the words which I have quoted afford so vague a description of the permitted activities that a court could not determine what is authorised and what is not, or alternatively that these words are so wide as to authorise activities which could not come within anything that the law regards as charitable, so I must now consider what the law does regard as charitable. We were referred by the Attorney- General to a number of Acts of Parliament extending over nearly a century in which Parliament has regarded the provision of facilities for recreation for adults as a charitable purpose. The first was the Recreation Grounds Act, 1859, under which land conveyed for the "regulated recreation of adults or for playgrounds for children was, I think, clearly regarded as land conveyed for a charitable purpose. It would appear that Parliament assumed that this was the law, but if Parliament was wrong in so assuming then it would be necessary, in order to give effect to the Act, that there should be implied an enactment that land conveyed in terms of the Act should he treated as land held for charitable purposes.
The most important Act is the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act, 1888. This Act. in my judgment, enacts that the dedication of any park, garden or other land to " the recreation of the public is a charitable purpose and is within the meaning, purview and interpretation of the preamble to the Act 43 Eliz. c. 4. The drafting of the Act of 1888 is somewhat unusual, and it requires careful examination. Section 13 repeals the whole of the Act of Elizabeth, including the preamble, and then enacts : (2) Whereas by the preamble to the Act of the forty third year of Elizabeth, chapter four (being one of the enactments hereby repealed), it is recited as follows: [then the preamble is set out in full]: " and whereas in divers enactments and documents reference is made to charities within the meaning, purview, and interpretation of the said Act: Be it therefore enacted that references to such charities shall be construed as references to charities within the meaning, purview, and interpretation of the said preamble. Part II of the Act is headed "Charitable Uses" and begins by enacting in section 4 that, subject to the savings and exceptions contained in the Act, every assurance of land to or for the benefit of any charitable uses shall be made in accordance with the requirements of the Act and unless so made shall be void. Then in Part III, headed " Exemptions", section 6 enacts that Parts I and II of the Act shall not apply (subject to a limitation which is not material) to an assurance of land for the purposes only of (inter alia)a public park, and by the definition in section 6 (4) "'public park ' includes" any park, garden, or other land dedicated or to be dedicated to the recreation of the public." It is possible that before 1888 a conveyance of a park to trustees for the express purpose that it should be held and maintained In perpetuity for the recreation of the public might not have been held to bea conveyance for a charitable purpose: the gift would benefit rich and poor alike, and that whether or not they are subject to any disability, and recreation must here include the use of the land by members of the public for mere relaxation and pleasure. But the whole of the provisions of the Act must be read together and, unless the ordinary principles of statutory construction are to be disregarded, the words taken from the preamble of the statute of Elizabeth and enacted in section 13 as the measure of charitable purpose must be construed in light of the earlier provisions of the Act which make the express purpose of holding " any park, garden, or other " land " for the recreation of the public a charitable purpose. I would agree that any " other land" must be ejusdem generis with parks and gardens. " Recreation " is a very wide term, but only certain types of recreation can be pursued or enjoyed in a park or garden. It may be that as regards other types of land or buildings, where a greater variety of types of recreation could be pursued merely requiring that they should be held for the recreation of the public would not be a charitable purpose. But, in my judgment, the Act of 1888 clearly establishes that a gift for the purpose of public recreation of subjects on which the only possible types of recreation are those which could be enjoyed in the open air in a park or garden is a gift for a charitable purpose. And if that be so I cannot see how it could be denied that a gift of money to be used to promote or facilitate the enjoyment of public recreation on such land is also a gift for a charitable purpose. I therefore agree with the decision in In re Hadden  1 Ch. 133. It was followed in two unreported cases to which we were referred: in In re Foakes in 1933 Luxmoore J. held that a bequest of certain fields and a barn (together with a sum for their upkeep) for use as a recreation ground was a valid charitable gift, and in In re Chesters in 1934 Bennett J. held that a bequest of money to provide public recreation or playgrounds for the children was a valid charitable gift.
In re Nottage  2 Ch. 649 is clearly distinguishable: money was bequeathed to provide annually a cup for yacht racing, so the only possible beneficiaries were yacht owners who would be somewhat strange objects of charity. But what the Appellants found on is the reasoning in the Court of Appeal to the effect that encouragement of a mere sport or game is not charitable though the sport or game may be beneficial to the public. No doubt that is true in the main, but it cannot apply to the provision or support of playing fields: yacht racing is far removed from the kind of recreation which Parliament has declared to be charitable. And a charitable purpose such as education may well be achieved in part at least by promoting sport or games. The emphasis is on mere sport or games, and I cannot suppose that any of the learned Judges had in mind the Acts of Parliament dealing with recreation or would have denied that the encouragement of games as a means to achieve a charitable purpose for those who took part in them was quite a different matter.
As regards recreation the only other Act to which I need refer is the Open Spaces Act, 1906. Section 3 provides for land held by trustees on trust for the purposes of public recreation being transferred to a local authority and for the conditions of the trust being varied with the approval of the Charity Commissioners. And section 5 (1) provides that in certain circumstances the owner of an open space may convey his estate or interest in it to a local authority " in trust for the enjoyment of the public and such a conveyance must be for a charitable purpose if it is to be valid.
I am therefore of opinion that the purpose set out in the present deed for the provision of facilities for recreation and for its promotion and encouragement is a valid charitable purpose unless the class of beneficiaries is too narrow—a matter to which I shall return. I can find no distinction between a playing field and a park or garden for it is, I think, common knowledge that certain games are habitually played in public parks and the dedication to the recreation of the public authorised by the Act of 1888 must, in my view, have permitted the playing of games such as are played on a playing field.
But I think that the matter can be dealt with on broader lines. I would refer to the passage from Tyssen on Charitable Bequests at p. 5, quotedwith approval by my noble and learned friend, Lord Simonds, in National Anti-Vivisection Society v. Inland Revenue  A.C. 31 at p. 64: "One" by one, the question of the validity of such trusts was brought before the Court of Chancery ... It considered only this. Having regard to all legislative enactments and general legal principles is it or is it not for the public benefit that property should be devoted for ever to fulfilling the purpose named? If the Court considered that it was not for the public benefit, it held the trust altogether void. It appears to me that the Court, in determining what is for the public benefit, must be guided by the views of Parliament as embodied in Acts of Parliament, and, unless any general legal principle prevents it, courts should recognise as charitable purposes not only the precise purposes mentioned in the statutes but others so closely resembling them that they cannot reasonably be distinguished. If that be right, then recreation on a playing field is, to my mind, not distinguishable from recreation in a public park. And if the promotion of recreation on a playing field is a charitable purpose, a fortiori I would think the promotion of moral, social and physical training there to be a charitable purpose.
But as this latter purpose is said to be too vague I must examine it in more detail. The phrase social and physical training was not the invention of the donor in this case. It occurs in section 86 of the Education Act, 1921, which provides that: For the purpose of supplementing and reinforcing the instruction and social and physical training provided by the public system of education " an education authority may make arrangements to supply or maintain or aid the supply or maintenance of inter alia other facilities for social and physical training in the day or evening. This was extended by section 6 of the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937, so as to permit this to be done for persons of whatever age, whether attending any educational institution or not. And in the Education Act, 1944, it is provided by section 53 that it shall be the duty of every local education authority to secure that the facilities for primary secondary and further education provided for their area include adequate facilities for recreation and social and physical training, and further education includes (section 41 (b)) leisure-time occupation, in such organised cultural training and recreative activities as are suited to their requirements, for any persons over compulsory school age who are able and willing to profit by the facilities provided for that purpose.
My Lords, with these examples of its use before him the donor in the present case might well suppose that the phrase social and physical training has an ascertainable meaning, and, if it has, the addition of the word moral could not vitiate the gift. I do not say that because a phrase is habitually used in Acts of Parliament it necessarily follows that it must have a precise meaning, but I would not readily hold that it is beyond the capacity of a court to determine the meaning of such a phrase with sufficient precision to enable it to determine whether any particular case falls within or outside its scope.
It is, of course, necessary that the trust purposes should be sufficiently precise to enable a court to determine, if a question should arise, whether a particular activity is authorised by them or not and "If the property, as Sir William Grant said in James v. Allen 3 Mer. 17, ' might consistently "'' with the will be applied to other than strictly charitable purposes, the trust "' is too indefinite for the Court to execute'" (per Lord Macnaghten in Dunne v. Byrne  A.C. 407 at p. 411). But the best way to show that the purposes are too vague is to find a hypothetical case where it could not be determined with reasonable certainty whether the case is within the purposes or not, and the best way to show that the purposes are too wide to be charitable is to find a hypothetical case which would be within the purposes but beyond the scope of charity. Nevertheless, Counsel for the Appellants refrained, no doubt for good reason, from submitting any such case; none was suggested in argument, and I can find none myself. It may be that the phrase social training apart from any context would be too vague, but in this context I see no great difficulty. The word social taken alone has acquired a variety of meanings, but to my mind social training in this context plainly means training calculated to make a person more fit to associate with his fellows in society or the community in a God-fearing, civilised and law abiding way, and that surely is one of the chief aims of all education. Inre Compton  Ch. 123, the money bequeathed was to be used to fit the children to be servants of God serving the Nation. The bequest failed because the beneficiaries were only a fluctuating body of private individuals, but there was no suggestion that these words were too vague if the class of beneficiaries had been sufficient. Lord Greene, M.R., said : The words are most apt to describe the ideals of such an education as that for which Dr. Arnold stood, and which, at any rate since his time, have always been regarded as the dominant purpose of a public school education. In my opinion, the words in the present case are no more vague than, and not essentially different from, those to which Lord Greene referred. It is true that in that case the words referred to pupils and in the present case they refer to persons of any age who can take advantage of a playing field. But education does not stop at any age. Recreation by itself may not be an educational purpose, but moral, social and physical training is. At least, I cannot think of any activity which would come within those words but would not be educational in character, and I adopt the words of Lord Greene, M.R. In re Strakosch  Ch. 529 at p. 539: If the object and the means indicated are clearly charitable then the Court is not astute to look for possible but subsidiary non-charitable means which might be within the words used. I note that in a recent case, In re Webber  1 W.L.R. 1500, Vaisey J. had no doubt that furthering the Boy Scouts Movement was an educational and therefore charitable purpose.
In some contexts social training might mean training in those arts and graces which are sometimes supposed to facilitate admittance to certain more exclusive circles of society, but that is not the meaning here. On a playing field a person can learn the value of endurance and perseverance, of assiduous practice, of unselfish association in a team, and of winning with modesty and losing with a good grace, and, to my mind, that is the kind of moral and social training which the donor's words mean in this deed and in the Acts from which they were taken. I did not understand it to be argued that physical training was too vague a phrase, and if Parliament has enacted that providing for recreation in a public park is charitable it would indeed be remarkable that the law should hold that provision for outdoor training is not a charitable purpose. With all respect to your Lordships who think otherwise, I cannot feel any substantial doubt that the purposes of this deed are charitable and are sufficiently clearly stated to be enforceable.
But I find the case of the Mission Hall more difficult. The trust purposes here are almost identical with those for the playing field, the only material difference being the substitution of the word religious for moral and the insertion of an additional purpose for the provision of facilities for religious services and instruction, which is clearly charitable. But my doubt arises with regard to recreation. The possible forms of recreation in a hall are very different from those on a playing field, and it does not appear that Parliament has ever declared indoor recreation to be a charitable purpose. It is well settled that the provision of entertainment or amusement is not by itself a charitable purpose: but if the dominant purpose of the trust is charitable in character the fact that recreation is provided as an adjunct to that purpose does not destroy the charitable character of the trust. That appears to me to have been recognised in Inland Revenue Commissioners v. City of Glasgow Police Athletic Association  A.C. 380, and I may also cite In re Mariette  2 Ch. 284, where providing fives courts for a school was held to be charitable.
In the present case I have already pointed out that the Leaders must endeavour to promote the religious and social and physical well-being of the beneficiaries and only permit such activities as are calculated to contribute to their health and well-being, and the only reference to recreation is in the passage " by the provision of facilities for religious services and instruction and for the social and physical training and recreation ofthe beneficiaries. It was argued that this case is indistinguishable from Williams' Trustees v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue  A.C. 447. In that case the decision of the Commissioners was that While certain features of the institute conform to the idea of charity, we have come to the conclusion that these features are not so dominating nor is the general character of the institute, such as effectively to distinguish it from an ordinary social club. In his speech, with which the other noble and learned Lords concurred, my noble and learned friend, Lord Simonds, set out the activities of the institute, which included maintaining a billiard room and tea and games rooms, badminton and table tennis clubs and promoting dances, whist and bridge drives, a weekly social and dance and an annual dinner and garden party: on the other hand there were lectures and debates, literary and educational classes and a library, and the office served as an information bureau for Welsh people. It is true that the first object of the institute was to create a centre in London for promoting the moral, social, spiritual and educational welfare of Welsh people and fostering the study of the Welsh language and of Welsh history, literature, music and art, but there followed provision for using the institute for providing a meeting place for Welsh people in London and their friends where they could obtain facilities for social intercourse, study, reading, rest, recreation and refreshment, and for meetings, concerts, lectures and other forms of instruction, discussion or entertainment. My noble and learned friend said after examining the authorities (at p. 458): It is clear, as I have already said, that they (the trustees) have not applied the income for charitable purposes only, and I do not doubt that they have applied them strictly in accordance with their trust.
My Lords, not only do I fully accept that decision, but I do not see how on the facts any other was possible. Recreation and entertainment were so prominent both in the objects and in the activities of the institute that I do not see how they could have been regarded as mere adjuncts of other and charitable purposes. But surely it must be a question of degree whether in any particular case this is so or not, and I find difficulty in reading the trust purposes in this case as permitting the Mission Hall to be used for anything at all resembling a social club. The hall is to be used primarily for religious services and instruction and social and physical training, which are, in my opinion, charitable purposes. It is open not only to Methodists but to persons likely to become members of the MethodistChurchand attendance is of course voluntary. It may well be that some of the beneficiaries would not attend if the activities were severely limited to those which are strictly religious and educational. Any recreation must, under the deed, be such as is calculated to contribute to the health and well-being of those who attend and must be sanctioned by the Leaders, and, in my view, recreation is only to be promoted or permitted in conjunction with and as ancillary to the other purposes, and therefore it is not such as to destroy the charitable nature of the trust. If I had thought that the hall could be freely used for mere recreation, entertainment or amusement by persons who take no part in the other activities I would have reached a different conclusion.
On this part of the case the Appellants relied also on several other authorities and I must now deal with them. In Dunne v. Byrne  A.C. 407, a bequest to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brisbaneto be used as he might judge most conducive to the good of religion was held not charitable. I think that this decision was inevitable because the whole of the money might well have been used for a non-charitable purpose, In Cocks v. Manners, L.R. 12 Eq. 574, there is the well-known instance of the dedication of a fund to a purpose which a devout Roman Catholic would no doubt consider conducive to the good of religion' but which is certainly not charitable" (per Lord Macnaghten at p. 410). But if I have rightly construed the deed of gift of the hall, this property could not be used for any non-charitable purpose because any purpose or use not strictly charitable in itself is purely ancillary to purposes which are charitable. In Farley v. Westminster Bank  A.C. 430, the bequest was to the Vicar and Churchwardens for parish work. If these words had not been added the bequest would have been charitable because the law would have implied that the money must be used in the performance of their spiritual duties for strictly religious purposes. But it was held as a matter of construction that the words for parish work were enlarging words. Lord Atkin (at p. 435) quoted with approval from the judgment of Lord Greene M.R. in the Court of Appeal " It appears to me that, taking them as words of ordinary English, they cover any activity in the parish ... which trustees of that character may be expected to perform, whether that work be strictly a religious purpose or strictly a charitable purpose, or whether it be a work considered to be conducive to the good of religion, or considered to be benevolent or generally useful to the in-"habitants of the parish or the congregation of the Church. Once it had been decided that the words were enlarging words and had that meaning, it was clear that the whole of the money could have been devoted to non-charitable purposes, and again that appears to me to be quite different from the present case.
Then the Appellants relied on the well known series of cases where expressions such as charitable or philanthropic, charitable or public and charitable or benevolent have been considered. In In re Macduff  2 Ch. 451, the bequest was "for some one or more purposes, charitable, philanthropic or. The blank was held to be immaterial, but the word philanthropic was held to be wider than charitable and vague and the bequest was held invalid. Lindley L.J. said (at p. 463) We must get at something sufficiently definite to guide the Court as to the kind of trust which it has to execute, and that trust must be of the kind called technically a charitable trust. And Lopes L.J. said (at p. 468) Looking at those words, I ask myself whether or not this property might not consistently with the will, having regard to the word ' philanthropic '. be applied to other than strictly charitable purposes, and I feel compelled to answer that question in the affirmative. It has been said that nothing can be suggested no purpose and no object can be suggested which would come within the meaning of the word ' philanthropic ' which is not also a charity. If that were so, I think the argument of the Attorney-General could be maintained; but that is not a view that I am able to adopt. I think I could suggest many objects which would come within the word 'philanthropic' and to which the trustees would be entitled to apply the money, which are not charitable. I will not again allude to recreation grounds and grounds devoted to sport which are not for the poorer classes, but are generally for rich and poor alike. I think that would he a case. And then he gives another illustration. The Appellants found on this reference to recreation grounds and it is certainly a dictum of some weight. It appears on p. 460 that Lopes L.J. in the course of the argument asked: Would a gift for the establishment of cricket and recreation grounds be charitable? But the question does not seem to have been pursued and the statutes to which we have been referred were not brought to the notice of the Court. I wholly accept the rest of the quotation and particularly the method of approach which it sets out.
Cases of bequests for charitable or public purposes are even further removed from the present case because it is clear that public purposes include purposes which are not charitable. I need not cite authority for the proposition that, if the object is predominantly political, the gift is not charitable, and I think that it would be generally agreed that in a democratic country political purposes are among the most important and perhaps the most important of all public purposes.
I can at this point deal briefly with an argument for the Respondents that even if these trusts are not otherwise charitable they are for the relief of poverty and are charitable for that reason. I agree that poverty does not mean destitution, and that the relief of poverty can go a good deal further than supplying the bare necessaries of life, but it cannot extend to supplying everything that one would like people to have for their own good. It is true that under these deeds the benefits are only to be available to those of insufficient means otherwise to enjoy the advantages provided, but if the true meaning of the trust purposes is that something like socialand athletic clubs can be set up to provide mere sport, games, entertainment and amenities for those who do not wish to take part in the other activities, then I think that providing those advantages for those who could not other-wise afford them goes some way beyond the relief of poverty. There are many people well above the poverty line who cannot afford to pay for such advantages. But if I am right in my reading of the trust purposes and in my view of the law, then the element of poverty is not necessary to make them valid charitable purposes.
But holding that the trust purposes are charitable does not mean that the Respondents necessarily succeed. Not only must the purposes be charitable but the beneficiaries must be such a class as will bring in that public element which is essential. The beneficiaries here are the members of the MethodistChurchwho reside in two large county boroughs, and also residents there who, in the opinion of the Leaders, are likely to become members of that Church. I do not think that this latter extension of the class of beneficiaries improves the Respondents' case: if members of the Church are not a sufficient class the addition of an indeterminate number of individuals cannot remedy the defect. But, on the other hand, this extension of the class cannot, in my view, create any difficulty, it does not create any uncertainty about who the beneficiaries are. The donor has made the Leaders the judges of whether any particular person has the requisite qualification: no doubt the question which they have to determine depends largely on opinion, but the Leaders are in a position to form an opinion on the question. The selection of candidates or applicants frequently depends largely on opinion, but that has never, so far as I am aware, been put forward as a reason against the validity of a charitable bequest for assistance to individuals, and I see no reason why it should be an obstacle here. And if the members of the Methodist Church constitute a sufficient class it was not argued that the limitation to those members who reside in a particular large and populous area or to those members of insufficient means to provide the benefits for themselves would make the class insufficient.
The argument was boldly advanced that, even if the purposes of these trusts were charitable so that they would be valid trusts if the benefits were open to all the limitation to Methodists vitiates their charitable character.
This House recently had occasion to consider this matter in connection with an educational trust in Oppenheim v. Tobacco Securities Trust  A.C. 297, and my noble and learned friend, Lord Simonds, then stated the law thus: It is a clearly established principle of the law of charity that a trust is not charitable unless it is directed to the public benefit. This is sometimes stated in the proposition that it must benefit the community or a section of the community. Negatively it is said that a trust is not charitable if it confers only private benefits . . . These words ' section 'of the community ' have no special sanctity, but they conveniently indicate first, that the possible (I emphasise the word 'possible') beneficiaries must not be numerically negligible, and secondly, that the quality which distinguishes them from other members of the community, so that they form by themselves a section of it, must be a quality which does not " depend on their relationship to a particular individual. It is for this reason that a trust for the education of members of a family or, as in re Compton. of a number of families cannot be regarded as charitable. A group of persons may be numerous but, if the nexus between them is their personal relationship to a single propositus or to several propositi, they are neither the community nor a section of the community for charitable purposes. I shall also quote, for a reason which will appear later, from the judgment of the Privy Council delivered by Lord Wrenbury in Verge v. Somerville  A.C. 496: To ascertain whether a gift constitutes a valid charitable trust so as to escape being void on the ground of perpetuity, a first enquiry must be whether it is public—whether it is for the benefit of the community or of an appreciably important class of the community. The inhabitants of a parish or town, or any particular class of such inhabitants, may, for instance, be the objects of such a gift, but private individuals, or a fluctuating body of private individuals, cannot. The contrast between a section of the community and a fluctuating body of private individuals has been used as the proper test in several cases without any suggestion that it is an inadequate test, and it appears to have its origin in the speech of Lord Cairns in Goodman v. Mayor of Saltash 7 App. Cas. at p. 650.
If these are the criteria to be applied in this case then it was not disputed that members of the Methodist Church are a section of the community and an appreciably important class of the community and are a particular class of the inhabitants of West Ham and Leyton. I would not embark on any theological enquiry, but it appears to me to be beyond doubt that member-ship of any branch of the Christian Church is a quality which does not depend on the members' relationship to any individual or propositus. There may be small sects which are not sufficiently numerous to form an appreciably important class of a community, but no one would suggest that that is true of the MethodistChurch. Indeed, I understood Counsel for the Appellants to admit that the beneficiaries in this case would be a sufficient class to be proper objects for a charitable gift for educational or religious purposes or for the relief of any kind of disability or distress, and that it would not matter in such cases that the benefits were not confined to those who could be said to be in poverty. But the beneficiaries in this case are ordinary people not necessarily suffering from any disability and some at least of the purposes may be neither religious nor educational, and it was argued that in such a case a trust cannot be charitable in the eye of the Jaw unless the benefits are open to the whole community or at least to all the inhabitants of an area. The argument was that while there could be a valid charitable trust of the fourth class in favour of a section of the community consisting of the inhabitants of a particular area it would not be valid if in favour of a section of the community denned in any other way. I can see no justification in reason for this distinction, but it has often been pointed out that the law of charity is full of anomalies and I must, therefore, examine the argument.
The Appellants found this argument on Lord Macnaghten's well-known classification in Income Tax Commissioners v. Pemsel  A.C. 531 at p. 583 : ' Charity ' in its legal sense comprises four principal divisions: trusts for the relief of poverty ; trusts for the advancement of education; trusts for the advancement of religion; and trusts for other purposes beneficial to the community, not falling under any of the preceding heads. They say that beneficial to the community means beneficial to the whole community. But then they are immediately faced with this difficulty: they admit that a trust for the relief of sick or disabled Methodists could be a valid charitable trust although its benefits were open to all Methodists rich and poor alike but to no one else. But they get over the difficulty by saying that any such trust falls within Lord Macnaghten's first class and that when he said trusts for the relief of poverty he meant to include trusts for the relief of disability or distress whether financial or not. I find it difficult to believe that Lord Macnaghten was ever guilty of such inaccurate use of language, and I feel sure that this was not his intention here, because on the next page in the Law Reports he refers to the first three classes in these words : the advancement of religion, or the advancement of education, or the relief of the poor. The word poverty is sometimes loosely or metaphorically used to mean lack of some thing other than money, but no one could say relief of the poor if he meant to include relief of disabled people irrespective of their means. But it is said that Lord Macnaghten took his classification from the argument of Sir S. Romilly in Morice v. Bishop of Durham 10 Ves. 522 (which can be found quoted by Lindley L.J. In re Macduff  2 Ch. at p. 466). First, relief of the indigent; in various ways: money: provisions: education: medical assistance etc.; secondly, the advancement of learning ; thirdly, the advancement of religion ; and fourthly, which is the most difficult, the advancement of objects of general public utility. And it is said that general public utility cannot include a case where the beneficiaries are only a class of the community. But the same difficulty arises here again : in which class are we to put a trust for the benefit of disabled Methodists? The Appellants again say in the first class, but the word " indigent" appears to me to be as inappropriate as " poor" to include disabled people of ample means. It may be that Sir S.Romilly did not have in mind cases of this kind: I have not made a search to see whether any had come before the Court at that time. But Lord Macnaghten did not merely copy the words of Sir S. Romilly. He made at least one significant alteration, substituting education for learning: for education is now regarded as wider in scope than learning in the sense in which I think Sir S. Romilly used the word. And he omitted the word " general " in the description of the fourth class. I cannot believe that this was due to inadvertence; it seems to me much more likely that he was not satisfied that it should be included.
But a meticulous examination of words used by judges, however eminent, cannot be decisive if these words were used in cases where the present question was in no sense in issue, so I turn to consider the authorities. In Verge v. Somerville A.C. 496, the bequest was " unto the trustees for the time being of the ' Repatriation Fund ' or other similar fund for the benefit of " New South Wales returned soldiers ". There was no such fund in existence bin it was held that this was a valid charitable trust and that a scheme should be settled. The judgment of the Board was delivered by Lord Wrenbury. He made it plain, particularly on p. 503. that this case fell within the fourth of Lord Macnaghten's divisions of charity, and he stated the test to be applied in the words which I have already quoted, and I repeal the crucial words : the inhabitants of a parish or town, or any particular class of such inhabitants (the italics are mine) may, for instance, be the objects of such a gift. He then posed the question whether if this lest is satisfied poverty is a necessary element and continued : In argument it was scarcely pressed that it is necessary, and after the decision in Goodman v. Mayor of Saltash 7 App. Cas. 633 it was not possible to maintain the general proposition that it is. A trust or condition in favour of the free inhabitants of ancient tenements in the borough of Saltash, in accordance with a usage whereunder they had the privilege of dredging for oysters, was there held to be a valid charitable trust, and. obviously, some of the inhabitants might not have been poor. Then on p. 506 he said : It is a public trust and is to benefit a class of the community--namely, men from New South Wales who served in the war and were returned or to be returned to their native land . . . Their Lord-ships have no doubt that this is a charitable purpose. If it were (which in their opinion it is not) necessary to find that need of assistance is to be a qualification for benefit . . . and if it were necessary to find a reference to poverty, their Lordships have no difficulty in finding it. Accordingly, the ratio decidendi was that without poverty being a qualification there was a valid charitable trust within Lord Macnaghten's fourth division in favour of a class of the community defined otherwise than by reference to all the inhabitants of any particular area. It is true that there was no discussion of the argument now submitted by the Appellants, but that was because it had not then occurred to anyone to raise the question ; and if this case stood alone it would not be fatal to the Appellants' argument because your Lordships are not bound by decisions in the Privy Council.
But your Lordships are bound by a previous decision in this House, and it appears to me to be unquestionable that in Goodman v. Mayor of Saltash this House decided that there was a valid charitable trust where there was no question of poverty or disability or of education or religion, and where the beneficiaries were not by any means all the inhabitants of any .particular area. Lord Selborne, L.C. said (at p. 646) that the usage was confined to a particular class of persons, viz., the ' inhabitants of ancient messuages within the borough ' (whose number would not be capable of indefinite increase). Lord Blackburn based his dissent on the fact that he thought it quite clear that they were not the public at large (p. 654), and Lord Fitzgerald regarded them as a recognised class within the borough (p. 668). It is quite true that some parts of the ratio decidendi in Goodman's case have been so modified by subsequent decisions of this House that it would appear that those noble and learned Lords who took part in these decisions did not accept as an inflexible rule that this House is bound by every part of every ratio decidendi in every previous case. But no one has ever suggested that the rule that we are bound by actual decisions of the House is other than absolute and inflexible, and, apart altogether from the ratio decidendi inGoodman's case, it appears to me that the actual decision in that case is inconsistent with the Appellants' argument. Moreover, if there has been a modification of that ratio decidendi, it has only been with regard to the question whether the trust purposes must be not only public purposes but also of such a nature as to be charitable in character, and on other matters, including that now in question, the case appears to me to be fully authoritative.
I may add that I have found no support for the Appellants' submission that Lord Macnaghten's first class can include cases for relief of distress or disability where poverty is not a necessary qualification for receiving benefits. But, besides the authorities I have dealt with, there are a number of expressions or indications of opinion that such cases fall within the fourth class. For example, I think that it clearly appears in re Hobouon Aero Components  Ch. 194 at pp. 202, 203, that Lord Greene, M.R. thought that the relief of air raid distress would be a good charitable object within the fourth class, and in Oppenheim's case at p. 311 Lord Normand referred to this and other cases as being within that class. I shall not trouble your Lordships with further examples.
I must now examine the case of Trustees of the Londonderry Presbyterian Church House v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue, 27 T.C.431 : 1946 N.I. 178. The Appellants relied on it for two purposes: first as an authority on the question whether the trust purposes in this case are charitable in their nature, and secondly in support of the argument which I am now considering. On the former question much depends on the construction of the particular deed, and on that matter I shall be as brief as I can but the second is a pure question of law and, as this case contains in the judgment of Babington, L.J. the only authority which the Appellants were able to cite in support of their argument, I must deal with it in more detail.
The trust purposes so far as relevant were to permit the same or any part thereof to be used as a Hall for meetings or for Social or Recreation purposes in connection with the various Presbyterian Churches in the City of Londonderry and the surrounding district or as a Hostel or Boarding House or as a Library or for such other purpose or purposes as the Board of Governors . . . shall from time to time think fit, it being the true intention and meaning of these presents that said premises shall be used for the purposes of assisting and helping in the religious moral social and recreative life of those connected with the Presbyterian Church . . . . . . in such manner as the said Board of Governors . .. shall from time to time think right." These purposes appear to me to be considerably wider than those set out in the Conveyance of the hall in the present case. I have already said that I would not have held that trust in this case to be charitable if I had thought that the recreation permitted was not merely ancillary to the other purposes and that the hall could be freely used for recreation and entertainment by those who took no part in the other activities. I think that both the Londonderrycase and the present case are near the border line. If I could construe the trust provisions in the way in which Lord MacDermott (then MacDermott, J.) construed them I would reach the result which he reached but, on the whole, I prefer the construction put on these provisions in the Court of Appeal and on that construction the premises could be used for non-charitable purposes in ways not purely ancillary to the charitable purposes set out in the deed, and it appears that they were in fact so used. I do not find in this case any sufficient answer to the special consideration which I have stated with regard to the hall in the present case. And it appears to me to have no bearing on the present case with regard to the playing field.
On the second question, what is a sufficient class of the community. Lord MacDermott and Andrews, L. C.J. rejected the argument for the present Appellants for reasons with which I am in substantial agreement, but Babington, L.J. took a different view. He said (at 27 TC pp.451 and 452) —The Presbyterian Church is not a section of the public. Its members, or those of its members to be benefited under this trust, are no doubt members of the public, but they are not a section of it any more than were the work people in In re Drummond  2 Ch.90. and the trust is therefore not atrust for general public purposes but for a fluctuating body of private individuals . . . Considerable confusion has, I think, arisen from a failure to distinguish between the public element in cases under the first three of Lord Macnaghten's categories and the fourth. Under the first three the charitable intention must be established, i.e., for the relief of poverty, the advancement of religion, or the advancement of education. The objects must be of a public nature, as FitzGibbon, L.J. says, but it is immaterial under these categories how the class is delineated provided it is adequate in numbers or importance. In cases falling within category number four, however, there can be no charity until it is shewn that the gift is to or for the benefit of the public or a section of the public ... If this trust had been for the advancement of religion the class would clearly be sufficient in numbers and importance to sustain it as a good charitable trust, though it only benefits a particular faith, the members of which do not constitute a section of the public.
My Lords, the reasoning in the passage which I have quoted appears to me to be in direct conflict with the decision of this House in Oppenheim's case, and it is right to say that that case had not been reported when Babington, L.J. gave his judgment. In Oppenheim's case the trust was for the advancement of education, but the decision of this House was that it is not enough that the class of beneficiaries is numerous, it must also be a section of the community and the ratio decidendi applies equally to a trust for the advancement of religion. So if the reasoning of Babington, L.J. is correct and the members of a religious denomination do not constitute a section of the public (or the community) then a trust solely for the advancement of religion or of education would not he a charitable trust if limited to members of a particular Church. Of course, the Appellants do not contend that that is right: they could not but admit the members of a Church are a section of the community for the purpose of such trusts. But they maintain that they cease to be a section of the community when ii comes to trusts within the fourth class. Babington. L.J. gives no support to that contention, but the Appellants cannot succeed on this argument unless that contention is sound. Poverty may be in a special position, but otherwise I can see no justification in principle or authority for holding that when dealing with one deed for one charitable purpose the members of the Methodist or any other church are a section of the community, but when dealing with another deed for a different charitable purpose they are only a fluctuating body of private individuals. I therefore reject this argument and on the whole matter I am of opinion that this appeal ought to be dismissed.
Lord Justice Jenkins' analysis of the two conveyances in question led him to the conclusion that the object of the first trust was the promotion of the religious, social and physical well-being of persons resident in the County Boroughs of West Ham and Leyton, and of the second trust the promotion of the moral, social and physical well-being of persons so resident who are considered by the leaders of the Stratford Newtown Methodist Mission to be likely to become members of the Methodist Church and to be of insufficient means otherwise to enjoy the advantages provided by the deed, and that the remaining provisions merely prescribe the means whereby these objects were to be attained.
My Lords, I agree with this construction of the deeds and I am also in agreement with all the members of the Courts below in holding that these trusts cannot be regarded as trusts for the relief of poverty.
In considering whether they fall within the fourth class of Pemsel's case, as the Court of Appeal have held, or within Class 2—trusts for the advancement of education—as was submitted in the alternative for the first time before your Lordships, the words which, in my view, create the difficultyare the promotion of social well-being". This is an extremely vague phrase which may have different meanings to different minds and may include things considered by some, but not by others, to be advantageous. It would appear to cover many of the activities of the so-called welfare state and to include material benefits and advantages which have little or no relation to social ethics or good citizenship, concepts which are them-selves not easily definable. I find it impossible to construe these trusts in such a way as to restrict the operation of this language to promoting or inculcating those standards of secular conduct or behaviour expected of a good neighbour and a good citizen as the Court of Appeal have done. It would, I feel, be a considerable extension of any previous decision to allow language of this vague nature to qualify a trust for inclusion as charitable within the spirit and intendment of the preamble to the Statute of Elizabeth.
The present case is not unlike that of Londonderry Presbyterian Church House v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue 27 Tax Cases 431. The language is not, of course, identical. In the Irish case the relevant words were: —
Upon trust to permit the same or any part thereof to be used as a Hall for meetings or for Social or Recreation purposes in connection with the various Presbyterian Churches in the City of Londonderry and the surrounding district or as a Hostel or Boarding House or as a Library or for such other purpose or purposes as the Board of Governors . . . shall from time to time think fit, it being the true intention and meaning of these presents that said premises shall be used for the purposes of assisting and helping the religious moral social and recreative life of those connected with the Presbyterian Church in the City of Londonderry and surrounding district in such manner as the said Board of Governors . . . shall from time to time think right.
Lord Chief Justice Andrews in the course of his judgment hi the Court of Appeal said: -
Judicial minds have operated not always consistently on facts admittedly different; and the result can only be described as in a measure chaotic. I shall simply content myself with saying that I find nothing in the statutes referred to which would assist me in holding that the trusts in the present case for religious, moral, social and recreative purposes, excluded as I have held them to be from Lord Macnaghten's third class, fall within the fourth class as a valid charitable trust. The test is not whether the objects or purposes aimed at are beneficial to or receive the general acceptance of the community. It is simply whether they conform or not to the requirements and essentials of a legal charily.
My Lords, I would respectfully adopt this language and apply it to the present case.For this reason, which. I think, also in conformity with the decision of this House in Williams' Trustees v. Inland Revenue Commissioners  A.C. 447. I would allow this appeal without expressing any view on the question whether the beneficiaries form a sufficient class for the purposes of Class 4 of Pemsel's case.
Lord Somervell of Harrow
I am unable to accept the construction put on these deeds by the Court of Appeal. Before addressing myself to the words I will make one or two general observations. I agree with the Court of Appeal in rejecting the argument that as a matter of law a trust to qualify under Lord Macnaghten's fourth class must be analogous to the repair of bridges portes havens causwaies churches seabankes and highewaies being the examples given in the preamble outside the three main categories of poverty, religion and education. The words used by the Court of Appeal In re Strakosch deceased  Ch. 529, do not afford any basis for this argument as Jenkins, L.J., demonstrated. The reference was to show that the repair of a bridge is charitable notwithstanding its use by rich as well as poor. The submission is inconsistent, in my opinion, with some of the cases decided under the fourth head. I think, however, that a trust to be valid under this head would normally be for the public or all members of the public who needed the help or facilities which the trust was to provide. The present trust is not for the public.
I cannot accept the principle submitted by the Respondents that a section of the public sufficient to support a valid trust in one category must as a matter of law be sufficient to support a trust in any other category. I think that difficulties are apt to arise if one seeks to consider the class apart from the particular nature of the charitable purpose. They are, in my opinion, interdependent. There might well be a valid trust for the promotion of religion benefiting a very small class. It would not at all follow that a recreation ground for the exclusive use of the same class would be a valid charity though it is clear from the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act, 1888. that a recreation ground for the public is a charitable purpose.
This trust not being for the public, the necessary element of public benefit if present must be found in the purposes. I will deal with the first deed the wording of which is more favourable to the Respondents' argument in that it contains an express reference to religious services and instruction. It is not, however, suggested that the trust as a whole can be treated as one for the promotion of religion, the other purposes being merely ancillary. I agree with the Courts below that the means clause has no application to the facilities for religious services and instruction. The clause is important in that it implies that the advantages, social, physical and recreational are a question of means. The more pecunious members can get them elsewhere. The leaders would no doubt organise (he social and recreational activities, but if it was intended that their spiritual and moral influence should play an important part the advantages would not have been referred to as a question of means. The word well-being though qualified by religious as well as social and physical means primarily, in my opinion, a happy or contented state. Social well-being would be promoted when people were happy together—an important factor in institutional life.
Physical well-being is promoted by exercise or recreation and the health and contentment which normally follow. Social training is an ambiguous expression and may well be too vague. Its meaning to me is training in social behaviour, in manners. I think, therefore, these words entitle the Trustees to run a social centre in the ordinary sense for the Methodists and prospective Methodists as set out in the deed. On this view the trust, limited as it is, is plainly not a charity, and the Court of Appeal would, as I read their judgments, have so held.
Had I been able to agree with the more charitable construction placed on the deeds by the Court of Appeal I should have felt great difficulty in reconciling their conclusion with the decision of this House in Williams' Trustees v. Inland Revenue Commissioners (1947) A.C. 427. I am aware of the differences that could be emphasised, but on the whole I think the deed in Williams' case was nearer the borderline than the present deeds.
The Attorney-General as amicus curiae made certain submissions as to recreation grounds for the public and village halls. Nothing that I have said is to be taken as throwing any doubt or light on these matters. Where a ground or hall is for the public different considerations clearly arise.
I would allow the appeal.