Charitable Trust Fund
CMI Charitable Trust
The CMI Charitable Trust was set up in 1985 on the initiative of Professor Francesco Berlingieri (the then President) and Bill Birch Reynardson (a Vice-President of CMI) and with the active support of other Vice-Presidents and members of the Executive Council. Funds were collected from firms of maritime lawyers around the world, from marine insurance companies and P. & I. Clubs. The trust was to be established in London and subject to English law. Funds were to be administered and invested by the Finance Department of Thomas R. Miller, the managers of the U.K. P.& I. Club.
The Trust Instrument setting up the CMI Charitable Trust (dated 20th November 1985) provides in S. 4 (1) that funds shall be applied for the following charitable purposes:-
“ (a) the advancement of legal education for the public benefit;
(b) the advancement and promotion of research and study in the fields of comparative law and international marine and commercial law and the publication of the results of such research.”
With these objects in mind the Trustees are authorised to apply the income of the Trust to :-
“ (a) publishing and disseminating the results of study and research;
(b) sponsoring or conducting seminars or conferences of persons from all parts of the world for the discussion of any aspects of the subjects hereinbefore mentioned;
(c) granting moneys to other persons or bodies engaged in research or study as aforesaid.”
There follows a clause which gives the Trustees the power to apply funds for “such other charitable objects or purposes as they shall in their absolute discretion from time to time think fit”.
S. 7 provides that the right to accumulate unused income in any one year shall cease after 21 years and it follows that since 2006 the Trustees have been legally obliged to distribute all the income generated by the fund each year. Having said that the Charity Commissioners currently accept a form of words which allows the Trustees to set sums aside in anticipation of future expenditure. (See “Reserves and financial position” in 2009 CMI Charitable Trust Report and Accounts.)
The trustees initially appointed were Professor Francesco Berlingieri, Sir John Donaldson, W.R. Birch Reynardson, Henri Voet (CMI Administrator) and Niall Mc Govern. The current trustees are K.J. Gombrii (CMI President), Prof. F. Berlingieri (Past President CMI), C.W.H. Goldie, P.J.S. Griggs (Past President CMI), Dr. A. von Ziegler and T.H. Birch Reynardson.
In 2006 investment and management of the trust fund was transferred from Thomas R. Miller to the London based Stockbrokers Smith and Williamson. The current investment policy is to have a mix of fixed interest and equities designed to protect and grow the capital value of the fund and to produce approximately £15,000 disposable income in each financial year.
Use of funds
The 2009 Accounts reveal that there were only two classes of charitable activity in that year, namely travel and accommodation expenses for CMI sponsored visiting lecturers to IMLI in Malta andexpenses incurred in publications and website administration. It has also, in recent years become the practice for the Trust to guarantee the travel, accommodation and registration fees for speakers at CMI conferences and colloquia. These guarantees have not, in fact, been called upon because the conferences have, in the final analysis, more than funded themselves.
Review of funding priorities
At the CMI Assembly meeting in Buenos Aires on 27th October 2010 it was resolved that the trustees should review the funding policy of the trust and consider more imaginative ways of using the funds at their disposal. This review will be undertaken with a view to reporting to the next Assembly meeting.
Surplus funds from CMI conferences
It is now a term of the contract with any MLA which hosts a conference that any surplus funds will be split 50/50 between the MLA and the CMI. Apart from the Dubrovnik Colloquium all conferences in recent times have generated a surplus and in most instances the CMI has donated part of its share of the surplus to the CMI charitable Trust.
The CMI and the Charitable Trust are separate entities and should the CMI cease to exist for any reason the Charitable Trust could go on with its work within the terms of the Trust Deed as set out above. Indeed, if the CMI ever ceased to function any remaining funds might well be transferred to the Charitable Trust.
The CMI Assembly has previously agreed that, in principle, part (or all) of the CMI’s share of any conference surplus should be transferred to the Charitable Trust. However, it is also agreed that flexibility should be maintained. At present CMI has more than adequate funds available to perform its normal functions and, in these circumstances, a high percentage of any conference surplus might be transferred. In future, circumstances will probably change and the CMI may well find itself dependant on conference surpluses to fund its own operations – in which case the CMI will make no donation or only a small one. Indeed, circumstances may arise when the CMI needs to turn to the Charitable Trust for funding some of its core activities provided that they remain within the charitable purposes set out in the Trust Deed.
Patrick Griggs and Mans Jacobsson.