Cy Pres Doctrine Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Cy Pres Doctrine.

Cy Pres Doctrine (noun):

The Cy Pres Doctrine, pronounced as "sigh-pray," is a principle originally from French law meaning "as close as possible." This doctrine is applied in the context of charitable trusts or donations.

Under the Cy Pres Doctrine, if a charitable gift or donation is made through a will or trust to an institution or cause that no longer exists, is no longer relevant, or cannot be accomplished as initially intended, the courts have the judicial authority to alter the terms of the gift so that it benefits a similar cause or institution. This ensures the spirit of the donor's intent is honored as closely as possible, hence the term "as close as possible".

In cases of controversy or dispute, a judge decides which institution or cause is closest in purpose to the original recipient of the gift. The decision is made in a legal proceeding to ensure the gift is used for a charitable purpose similar to what the donor intended.

Note: This term is specific to legal contexts and primarily used in the field of trusts and estates law.