Definitions for cy pres doctrine

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  1. cy pres, rule of cy pres, cy pres doctrine(noun)

    a rule that when literal compliance is impossible the intention of a donor or testator should be carried out as nearly as possible

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  1. Cy-près doctrine

    The cy-près doctrine is a legal doctrine that first arose in courts of equity. The legal French term literally means "so near/close" and can be translated as "as near as possible" or "as near as may be". The doctrine originated in the law of charitable trusts, but has been applied in the context of class action settlements in the United States. When the original objective of the settlor or the testator became impossible, impracticable, or illegal to perform, the cy-près doctrine allows the court to amend the terms of the charitable trust as closely as possible to the original intention of the testator or settlor to prevent the trust from failing. For example, in Jackson v. Phillips, the testator bequeathed to trustees money to be used to "create a public sentiment that will put an end to negro slavery in this country". At Jackson's death in 1861, slavery was legal in the United States. But four years after Jackson's death, slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, and some of Jackson's family attempted to dissolve the trust.

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