Bates Wells acts to resolve charity’s governance issues

Philip Kirkpatrick and Leticia Jennings of leading charity law firm Bates Wells recently acted for philanthropist Jamie Cooper to resolve governance issues at The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK) (“CIFF”). Established in 2002 by Ms Cooper and her former husband, Sir Christopher Hohn, CIFF’s purpose was to utilise the couple’s private wealth to improve the lives of children in developing countries.

The breakdown of Ms Cooper and Sir Christopher’s personal relationship necessitated a review of CIFF’s governance, and the solution reached in April 2015 by the board of trustees was intended to allow the charity to move forward and continue its vital work, whilst at the same time attracting substantial, additional funding to the sector through Ms Cooper’s new charity, Big Win Philanthropy, whose work focusses on some of the most challenging issues affecting the lives of children and young people today.

The Attorney-General (whose roles include protecting charities and advising and assisting the court in these matters) was “broadly supportive” of the solution reached, and the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos, approved it in a judgment handed down on 9 June 2017.

As both the Attorney General and the Chancellor recognised, Big Win Philanthropy has “assembled an experienced board of directors in addition to Ms Cooper’s considerable expertise and experience in managing a charity of BWP’s anticipated size”. The Chancellor acknowledged that “each of Sir Christopher and Ms Cooper had made an exceptional personal contribution and was an exceptional individual”, and in the Chancellor’s view his decision ought to allow Ms Cooper and Sir Christopher to refocus their “efforts and talents to the charities they have founded and to which they have so much to offer”.

Leticia Jennings of Bates Wells Braithwaite commented “The judgment was the culmination of a focussed effort by all involved to ensure good order at one of the country’s leading charities whilst at the same time securing further substantial donations to charity and enabling Ms Cooper – who has worked as an unpaid charity Chair and trustee for over a decade – to continue her exceptional work in the sector”.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of June 13, 2017.