On Thursday 26th November 2009, the High Court ruled in the matter of the North London Central Mosque Trust v the Policy Exchange that although the NLCMT was a registered charity, it could not bring a case of defamation in its own right or has such a case brought by Trustees in its name as its lacked legal capacity.
The merits of the case; namely, whether the Mosque had been distributing ‘extremist’ literature was not heard as the Policy Exchange challenged the claim on the basis of capability nine months after the original claim was brought. The issue of charity’s capability to bring defamation claims is a difficult legal point as no charity appears to have argued this point before and the decision was reached over 2 days of legal arguments by both sides.
The Trustees of the NLCMT are determined to clear their name and that of theMosque and so have instructed their lawyers to appeal against this decision in order for the main case to be heard.
The implications of the judgment are far reaching; not only for the Mosque but for all charities whose reputations are brought into question. The NLCMT still maintains that they were defamed by the Policy Exchange and is determined to have this case determined on its merits rather than on a legal technicality.
The Policy Exchange and their supporters in the media should not celebrate too soon.
The North London Central Mosque Trust is a registered charity in the UK serving the local Muslim community in Islington and surrounding Boroughs of North London and working with all stakeholders of the community to promote dialogue and understanding for a prosperous and harmonious multi-cultural society.