Benevolent Fund

What is the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund? (The Fund)

The Council of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, in 2010, decided to set up a Benevolent Fund, with the aim of providing the means to assist, where necessary, members of the profession, their colleagues and the staff of CITMA when unfortunate situations arise and financial assistance will help. The Fund is a company limited by guarantee and a charity registered with the Charity Commission and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

The Fund is there to help in situations where other sources of assistance – employers, social services etc – are unable to help, or unable to assist further for some reason.  It is impossible  to generalise on situations when the Fund is able to assist. However, in essence whenever a situation arises where an applicant for assistance can demonstrate that circumstances have arisen which are causing them distress and that they have exhausted other avenues for help (including their) employer or former employer, then the Fund will consider providing financial assistance.

It should be born in mind that the Fund will only be able to provide minimal, and short term, financial assistance because its funds are limited and in determining whether to provide financial  support in any case and how much to provide, this will be a factor that will be taken into account. 

CITMA and the Benevolent Fund hope to be able to meet the demands placed on the Fund  by raising sufficient funds each year from fundraising activities, such as CITMA's Quiz Night, collections at some of CITMA's events, individual donations etc. There is provision in the Fund’s constitution to receive subventions from CITMA (which may add an amount to the subscriptions for this purpose) or for the Fund to “levy” members of CITMA. 

How can I contribute to the Fund?

CITMA and the Fund will, from time to time, particularly at events seek contributions from attendees for the benefit of the Fund. We would ask you to be generous, particularly in the early days of the Fund.

Individuals and firms can also contribute sums to the Fund. Both the individuals and the Fund can benefit from this in terms of tax relief provided by HMRC under the Gift Aid Scheme. For every £1  donated under the scheme the Fund can claim a further 28p. Higher rate tax payers can also claim relief for the difference between the lower and higher rates. Click here to download a copy of the Gift Aid Form.

Cheques should be made payable to the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund and sent to:

The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, 5th Floor, Outer Temple, 222-225, Strand, London, WC2R 1BA.

The Benevolent Fund also encourages members to consider leaving a legacy to the Fund when writing or changing their wills. This could be by means of a specific sum of money, a percentage of the estate or the balance of the estate after all other bequests have been met. Suggested wording is set out below:

The suggested wording to leave a share of your estate (residuary legacy) is:

'Subject to the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give (the whole/ (insert percentage value) of my estate not otherwise disposed of by this my Will to The Institute of Trade  Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, 5th Floor, Outer Temple, 222-225 Strand, London WC2R 1BA, for the general purposes of The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, and I declare that the  receipt of their treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

The suggested wording to leave a specific sum (pecuniary legacy) is:

'I give free of tax to the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund the sum of £________ for the general purposes of The Institute of  Trade Mark attorneys Benevolent Fund, and I  declare that the receipt of their treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

The suggested wording to leave a specific item is:

'I give to The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, absolutely (write in here whatever you wish to give) for the purpose of The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, and  I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

Finally the Fund welcomes any fund-raising on its behalf. Anyone undertaking a sponsored event might think about raising monies on behalf of the Fund, for example, fun runs, marathons, half  marathons, 10K runs, golf days, raffles, auctions, indeed any activity which lends itself to sponsorship. 

How can I seek assistance from the Fund?

The Fund has been set up to assist members, their dependents and their colleagues who find themselves in situations which are causing distress. Assistance from the fund will be given by way of financial assistance in the form of grants or loans to meet particular situations. It is important therefore that anyone seeking assistance from the Fund first of all seeks practical help and advice on the matter from other sources.

Requests for financial support must be made in writing and sent to the Fund – marked confidential – at the following address:

The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Benevolent Fund, 5th Floor, Outer Temple, 222-225 Strand, London, WC2R 1BA.

There is no set format, but the trustees expect that such requests should contain the following information:

1. The name of the requestor and if not a member of CITMA his or her connection with a member – dependent, work colleague, CITMA employee etc.

2. Brief details of the situation which might be resolved/alleviated as a result of financial assistance.

3. Details of what the member’s firm is doing to help the requestor. It should be noted that the Trustees may wish to talk directly to the firm on a confidential basis, unless the requestor provides good reasons why this may not be in their interests.

4. Details of what assistance, financial and practical, is being provided by others – documentary evidence of this may be sought by the Trustees.

5. The amount of financial assistance sought.

6. The timetable for any payments.

Each request will be considered on a confidential basis throughout the process.

Any request will be considered, first of all, by one of the Trustees, who will consider as a first step whether the individual is eligible to seek financial assistance from the Fund – see the Articles of Association. If it is determined that the individual is not eligible they will be informed immediately.  If the individual disagrees with this decision he or she may ask the chairman of the trustees (and two other Trustees) to review the decision. Their decision will be final.

The request will then be considered in detail. The Trustee responsible for the request will, if it is appropriate, or applicable, contact the relevant firm of Trade Mark attorneys on a confidential  basis to determine their view of the case and what assistance is being provided from that source. In some circumstances it may be that the firm will, as a result, agree to provide assistance or increase the assistance they are providing and the request to the Fund will be put in abeyance.

If the Trustee considers that, prima facie, the request has merit, then the detail of the circumstances will be considered and in particular note will be taken of the other sources of assistance being provided or which have been explored. Evidence of these details may be sought.

The amount of financial assistance sought and the timetable will also be taken into account. The Fund has only limited resources and may not be able to meet any or all requests to the extent  sought. The Trustee, having considered all of these details, will then put the case to the Trustees Board as a whole with a recommendation. The Board will consider this as a matter of urgency and the final decision will be conveyed as soon as possible.

Who are the Trustees?

The Trustees are: Nicki Alvey, Keven Bader, Chief Executive of CITMA, John Caisley, retired Trade Mark Attorney, Keith Havelock, Trade Mark Attorney, Mike Lynd, retired Trade Mark Attorney, Mike Knight, retired Civil Servant, David Tatham, retired Trade Mark Attorney.

The Trustees oversee the operation of the Fund; raising monies for the fund, ensuring that all requirements of registration as a Charity and Limited company are met and, importantly dealing with applications for financial assistance from the Fund.

The Trustees were originally appointed by the Council of CITMA to set up the Fund and have subsequently been elected by the members of CITMA.

It is worth noting that all of the Trustees are aware of the need for discretion and confidentiality in dealing with cases for financial assistance which might arise.

The secretariat of The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys provides some administrative support to the Fund. Any communication with the Fund should therefore be clearly marked for the "Benevolent Fund" in order that the staff of CITMA may direct correspondence, unopened, to the Trustees.

Where can I get further information?

The Fund does not have full time administrative support, but if you want any information on the Fund, donating or seeking assistance you may contact the Trustees via CITMA’s address, or via the Chair, Mike Knight at mike@mbknight.co.uk.

Benevolent Fund AGM

Each year the ITMA Benevolent Fund holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) which normally takes place in March.

The Benevolent Fund AGM is open to all CITMA members. Official notice of the AGM and the supporting papers will be published on the CITMA website at least 21 days before the AGM is due to take place.