Please click here to read OSCR’s COVID-19 Guidance for Charities

Consultation on our ‘Meeting the Charity Test guidance’ updates

24 Mar 2021


We are seeking views on updates we propose to make to sections of our ‘Meeting the Charity Test’ guidance.  These updates clarify our guidance on public benefit following the 29 January 2021 decision by the Court of Session on the charitable status of New Lanark Hotels Limited and New Lanark Trading Ltd. 

The Court directed that both of these companies should be registered as charities on the basis of the facts in the case, and emphasised the unusual nature of the activities undertaken on the New Lanark World Heritage siteOSCR’s intention in bringing the appeals was to clarify the position with respect to our guidance on public benefit in charities.  The Court’s findings made it clear that charitable status for these companies was in accordance with OSCR’s public benefit guidance.

That’s why we have proposed changes to the ‘What is public benefit?’ section in our Meeting the Charity Test guidance.  We have reflected the detail of the court’s findings on how public benefit should be considered when a charity is undertaking activities, including commercial trading, that do not further its charitable purposes. 

In addition, we have taken this opportunity to clarify some of the language in the private benefit section. 

We are running a 6 week consultation on the changes to ensure that they are clear and easily understood. We would like to hear your views on these proposed changes. 

You can respond to the consultation by filling in our short survey.  Here is the link.  The closing date for responses will be 5 May 2021.  If you have any questions on the survey, please contact