The Attorney General's Legal Standing In Cases Involving a Charity

In Pennsylvania, and all other states, for that matter, the attorney general under its parens patriae authority is the watch dog that supervises the administration of charitable trusts to ensure that the object of the trust remains charitable and to ensure that the charitable purpose of the trust is carried out. Pruner's Estate. The attorney general has the power and duty to oversee the administration of the trust and, consequently, has standing in any case involving a charity. See David Villar Patton, the Queen, the Attorney General, and the Modern Charitable Fiduciary: a Historical Perspective on Charitable Enforcement Reform, 11 U. FL. J.L. & PUB. POL'Y 131, 159-61 (2000) (outlining the historical development of charitable trust enforcement by the attorney general from 13th Century England through the American Revolution). In fact, no trust can declare itself charitable without submitting to the supervision and inspection of the attorney general, Commonwealth v. Barnes Foundation, 398 Pa. 458, 159 A.2d 500 (1960), and the attorney general may intervene in any action involving charitable bequests and trusts under Section 204(c) of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.