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Case details

Lehtimaki and others (Respondents) v Cooper (Appellant)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0150

Case summary


Does the court have jurisdiction to direct members of a charitable company on how to exercise their powers absent a breach of fiduciary duty?


The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation ("CIFF") is a charitable company with more than $4bn in assets helping children in developing countries. It was founded by Sir Christopher Hohn and Ms Jamie Cooper in 2002, but it became difficult to manage when their marriage broke down. These proceedings stem from the steps they took to resolve those difficulties. Specifically, they agreed that in exchange for a grant of $360 million to Big Win Philanthropy, a charity founded by Ms Cooper, she would resign as a member and trustee of CIFF.

CIFF’s members had to approve this grant. CIFF has only three members, two of whom, namely Sir Christopher and Ms Cooper had to recuse themselves from the vote. Thus, only Dr Marko Lehtimaki can vote on the proposal.

The Chancellor of the High Court held that the grant would be in CIFF’s best interests and ordered Dr Lehtimaki to vote for the resolution approving the grant.

Dr Lehtimaki appealed against that order, and the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal holding that, in the absence of a breach of fiduciary duty, the court could not direct Dr Lehtimaki on how he should exercise his powers.

Judgment appealed

[2018] EWCA Civ 1605



Jamie Cooper


  1. Dr Marko Lehtimaki
  2. Children's Investment Fund Foundation (UK)
  3. HM Attorney General
  4. Sir Christopher Hohn



Lord Reed, Lord Wilson, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

14 Jan 2020

Hearing finish date

15 Jan 2020

Watch hearing
14 Jan 2020 Morning session Afternoon session
15 Jan 2020 Morning session Afternoon session

Judgment details

Judgment date

29 Jul 2020

Neutral citation

[2020] UKSC 33

Watch Judgment summary
29 Jul 2020 Judgment summary