After a number of high profile cases where both children and survivors clearly weren't adequately protected, the Charity Commission here in the UK launched an investigation into the WBTS as a whole here in Britain. The main concerns are around the child safeguarding policies being inadequate. WBTS have fought every step of the way so far.
WBTS have been to the High Court, who told them to complain to the proper Tribunal.
WBTS have been to the proper Tribunal, who told them that too darn right there were suitable grounds for the Charity Commission to want to investigate their inability to protect children.
And now the WBTS have gone back to the Court of Appeal to demand that the Charity Commission inquiry be halted.
I hope the Court of Appeal tells them that, yes, they too need to have proper safeguarding measures for children and to get on with co-operating with the investigation.
Charity Commission defends its investigation into Jehovah's Witness charity in the Court of Appeal
Following decisions against them at the Charity Tribunal and High Court, the trustees of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain (the leading Jehovah’s Witness charity in the UK) have asked the Court of Appeal to permit their legal challenge to the statutory inquiry into their activities that was opened by the commission in 2014. No decision was reached today.
The commission is investigating how Watch Tower safeguards children and adults at risk. It has been seeking access to the registered charity’s records since 2014. Watch Tower disputes the legal basis of the commission’s inquiry and its order seeking documents from the charity. Today’s hearing forms part of its longstanding litigation against the commission. The commission has argued that the Charity Tribunal is the appropriate venue for such cases. It has warned that if the Court rules otherwise, it may risk excluding less well-funded charities from accessing justice via the less costly Tribunal.
The commission is committed to robustly investigating allegations that charities do not have adequate safeguarding policies and practices. It continues to defend its statutory inquiry into Watch Tower. It encourages people who have been affected by safeguarding in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in England and Wales to make contact with the inquiry lead investigator Jonathan Sanders at [email protected]
Members of the public can contact the commission with any safeguarding or other concerns about charities via Complain about a charity.