Until the end of the twentieth century, the Foundation was a purely civil law body, although the name was – and still is – sometimes used in common law jurisdictions as a name for a charitable trust. The civil law foundations – in Austria, Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Panama – were discussed in outline by Robert Boonacker in his talk at our meeting in Monte-Carlo in 1995, and we have enjoyed more detailed treatment in later meetings from Erich Baier on Austria, from Marcus Wanger on Liechtenstein, and from Christian Strik and Ineke Koele on the Netherlands.
Then came the Private Foundation Law 2002 in Liberia, the Foundations Act 2003 in St. Kitts and the Nevis Multiform Foundation Act of 2004. These were followed by a torrent of enactments from “anglo-saxon” jurisdictions – those enjoying, one way or another, the English rules of equity, so that in 2007 Philip Baker was able to talk about new laws in Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Guernsey, Jersey and Malta, as well as the strangely neglected Associations and Foundations Act in Cyprus from 1972 (Monte-Carlo: 2007). He made the point – one taken up by Robert Venables in Amsterdam in 2010 – that statutes governing foundations display a paucity of provisions dealing with the rights of beneficiaries.
The enactments continued – the Foundations Act 2009 in Seychelles, and Vanuatu, the Acts of 2010 in Belize and Labuan and amendments to the Foundations Law in Costa Rica in the same year, the Foundations Act 2011 in the Isle of Man, the Foundation Act 2012 in Cook Islands and Mauritius. And the topic comes back to the ITPA programme this month with Julien Dif’s presentation Foundations and the Future in Lisbon on the 14th. If you are planning to be in Lisbon, you can of course look forward to discussing this subject with him in the afternoon session. But if you are not able to be there, you will receive an e-mail summary of his talk on the 15th, and you will be able to listen to his voice on the website and – later – read the entire text in the printed or online version of the Journal.