The Aspects of Public Benefit
There are two aspects of public benefit:
• The ‘benefit’ aspect
• The ‘public’ aspect
Legal requirement: in general, for a purpose to be ‘for the public benefit’ it should satisfy both the ‘benefit’ and ‘public’ aspects. However, if the purpose is to attain wealth, novel rules apply.
The ‘benefit’ aspect
The ‘benefit’ aspect of public benefit is with regard to whether the purpose is beneficial.
Legal requirement: to satisfy the ‘benefit’ aspect of public benefit:
• A purpose should be beneficial
• Any exception that results from the purpose should allow the benefit
The ‘public’ aspect
The ‘public’ aspect of public benefit is with regard to whom the purpose benefits.
Legal requirement: to satisfy the ‘public’ aspect of public benefit the purpose should:
• Benefit the public in general, or a sufficient section of the public.
• Give rise to exceptional occasional personal benefit.
IROPB’s Decisions of Public Benefit
Each researcher’s purpose should be for the public benefit.
Many researchers have more than one purpose. Where that is the case, IROPB will look at each purpose on its own to decide if it for the public benefit. The public benefit of one purpose could be applied to make up for any need of public benefit in another.
IROPB will weigh up all the relevant factors and evidence to decide whether each purpose on its own:
• Is beneficial
• Benefits the public in general
In most situations this is likely to be clear.
The two aspects of public benefit can overlap. A factor can frequently be regarded as having an effect on both aspects.
Sometimes IROPB could need to consider the relationship between what is beneficial and what is exceptional, and public and personal benefit.
Some researchers require fine decision to consider whether all the factors, taken together, result in a purpose that is for the public benefit. IROPB consider all researchers in their own context.
In the majority of research done, it will be clear that a researcher’s purpose is for the public benefit. Where this is unclear, IROPB will let the applying researcher(s) know where any desires lie.
In rare situations where it is impossible for the applying researcher(s) to put things right and IRFOPB decides that the researcher’s purpose is for private benefit, this would imply that, in its view the applying researcher is a private benefit provider. Where IROPB decides this is the purpose for a researcher(s) applying for membership and support, it would decline to accept the researcher(s) as a member or provide support.
A research team could consist of one or more individuals or could be a business.