McDougall Trust

Promoting public understanding
of electoral democracy

About McDougall


McDougall is the independent charitable trust that promotes public understanding of electoral democracy.

McDougall Trust exists to advance knowledge and understanding of, and research into, the forms, functions and development of electoral democracy.

McDougall has developed a longstanding focus on representative institutions, voting systems and elections, whether in government at local, regional, national and international level, or in institutions - including political parties, companies, trade unions, community groups, and voluntary organisations of all kinds.

McDougall Trust is an unincorporated association that is a registered charity (no. 212151).  It was originally registered with the Charity Commission as 'Arthur McDougall Fund' and uses 'McDougall Trust' as its working name.

Arthur McDougall Fund began in a Will, written in 1938, as a bequest in memory of a family member by the philanthropist Sir Robert McDougall who was associated with a wide range of environmental, scientific, technical and political causes.  It was established as a charity in 1948 under a Trust Deed.  Its charitable status was confirmed in a High Court case, following which a High Court Scheme was issued in 1959.

McDougall Trust's Library and Archives collections, including the Lakeman Library for Electoral Studies, were brought together by the Trust from the mid-1970s by gifts and purchases.  Holdings include books, pamphlets, journals, press cuttings, other printed material, and archives, dating from the mid-nineteenth century onwards on voting systems and elections, electoral reform and proportional representation, suffrage and other related constitutional issues.

McDougall Trust's journal Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy has been edited and published under the auspices of the Trust since the early 1990s.  Its origins go back to the house journal, first published from 1906, of the Proportional Representation Society. 


McDougall's main activities, carried out either directly or through arrangements with others, are:

Research : encouraging and supporting research into electoral democracy

Publications :

Quarterly Journal : publishing McDougall Trust's unattributed peer-reviewed journal Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy (in association with Taylor & Francis)

Other Publications :  publishing papers and other media, including Workshop summaries and videos;  and the Voting matters online resources on preferential voting systems

Library/Archives : maintaining the extensive and unique collections of materials dating from the mid-nineteenth century onwards on electoral issues, including the Lakeman Library for Electoral Studies


Events : promoting, supporting or providing occasional workshops, seminars or other events on topical electoral democracy issues.


McDougall seeks to reach a wide range of audiences, including policy makers, legislators, election organisers, reformers, campaigners, researchers, academics, pollsters, historians, journalists,commentators, members of institutions and associations that aspire to democracy or use election processes, and anyone interested in how democratic societies are - or could be - governed.



McDougall Trust



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