What is the Charitable Uses Act 1601?
Last revised December 31, 2020

Although the Charitable Uses Act 1601, 43 Eliz. I, c. 4 (U.K.), is no longer in force in England, this statute is noted for its attempt to define charitable purposes and has been adopted into the common law.

The preamble to the statute contains a list of examples of various charitable purposes.

It is commonly referred to as the Statute of Elizabeth or the Statute of Charitable Uses.

The statute itself was repealed by the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act 1888,

which however expressly preserved the preamble (s. 13(2)). With the repeal of the 1888 Act by the Charities Act 1960, the preamble is no longer on the statute book, but the preamble never had any statutory operation, and its final repeal does not affect the authority of the cases decided on it nor the principles on which future cases are to be decided.

    -Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed., 2001 reissue vol. 5(2): Charities, para 2, fn7, p.8 (available in the Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George and Victoria courthouse libraries). 

*Please note that this information was not carried over into Halsbury's Laws of England, 5th ed., vol. 8: Charities, para 1, fn6, p.7.


  • News to you Canada v. Canada (National Revenue), 2011 FCA 192
  • A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association v. Canada (Revenue Agency), [2007] SCC 42, 2007 D.T.C. 5527 
  • Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women v. Canada (Minister of National Revenue), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 10, 169 D.L.R. (4th) 34, 99 D.T.C. 4034
  • Vancouver Regional FreeNet Association v. Canada (Minister of National Revenue), [1996] 3 F.C. 880 (C.A.)
  • Commissioners for Special Purposes of the Income Tax Act v. Pemsel, [1891] UKHL 1, 61 L.J.Q.B. 265, 65 L.T. 621, 7 T.L.R. 657, [1891] A.C. 531, [1891-94] All E.R. Rep. 28