Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust
The trustees of the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust (the Trust) are appealing against the compensation scheme for Jimmy Savile's victims. The compensation scheme allows the victims of abuse by Jimmy Savile to make claims against his estate, the BBC and the NHS, with payments capped at £60,000 each. The High Court approved the compensation scheme of more than £3 million in February.
The Trust itself is not amongst the organisations that will pay out in relation to the scheme. The funds which will be used are separate to those of the Trust, as no money can be paid from the trust fund to compensate the victims, as this is trust property.
The Trust is trying to challenge the system of compensation for Jimmy Savile's victims of abuse. The reason behind this being that the compensation scheme gives claimants' lawyers the right to claim back their fees. The Trust is concerned as it is one of the residuary beneficiaries of Jimmy Savile's estate. The Trust will not receive this money until the matter of compensation for Jimmy Savile's victims has been concluded.
The scheme currently allows the lawyers an automatic right to claim fees of about £14,000 per claimant. This is regardless of the amount the claimant receives. The Trust does not believe that the compensation scheme is fair. It believes that this could mean a claimant receives only a fraction of the amount paid to the lawyers and that a substantial amount of the estate could be paid out in legal fees.
The trustees have stated that they feel strongly that the estate funds should either go directly to the claimants, or to the beneficiaries of the estate, which includes the Trust.
The case demonstrates the conflicting duties that the trustees must bear in mind; trustees are under a duty to maximise the assets of the charity albeit they are also under a position not to jeopardise the charity's reputation, and given the nature of the litigation in this case, the case will be very much in the public eye, given the public interest which this case gives rise to.
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