Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Pia Causa Definition:

Latin: charitable purposes.

Sometimes called a pious use (pious trust), pia causa was a Latin law term referring to institutions which had charitable purposes.

Howe writes:

“The term pia causa denotes an institution for religious and charitable purposes, or for the public benefit in such a direction. The general name is given to every establishment whose object is the promotion of piety, the relief of necessitous persons, and the advancement of education and science.”

According to Justice Johnson of the United States Supreme Court, in Inglis, the English statute on charitable purposes was:

"... a system borrowed from the civil law, almost copied verbatim into the common law...."


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