Many of the functions and principles of charity law recognised in contemporary times in jurisdictions including Australasia, the United Kingdom and Canada, are rooted in history. Records dating back to Roman times reflect complex forms of charitable activities, and Plutarch noted, in his will, that Julius Caesar left ‘the gardens beyond the river’ (Luxton 2001, 4) to the people. Pious gifts, before the Reformation, whilst they tended to honour God and the Church, also included gifts to relief distress and suffering on earth; gifts to assist the poor; and gifts to repair hospitals, bridges, roads and dykes (Jones 1969, 3-4). Therefore many of the common law and statutory provisions that exist today take ‘their meaning from the social and economic situations of the time they were decided’ (Poirier 2013, 78; Chevalier-Watts 2014, 3-4). If therefore we recognise the historical influences on modern day charity law, the question arises then as to its applicability in a world with social, political and economic demands that could not have been envisaged in eons past …” (more)
Juliet Chevalier-Watts, ‘Charity Law and Religion – A Dinosaur in the Modern World?’ NoFo, An Interdisciplinary Journal Of Law And Justice Number 13 (2016).