Charities and not-for-profit in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has 'in-depth knowledge and experience, and provides very clear advice and guidance'. The firm gas a dedicated charities practice that draws on expertise from other teams, notably employment, immigration, property and litigation. It handles the formation of charities, as well as providing procurement and fundraising advice, and it has specialist knowledge of the ecclesiastical sector. Charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich leads the practice. She assisted with the establishment of the UK Cyber Security Council. Legal director Erika Clarke  and senior associate Frances Godden are the key practitioners in Norwich. Brownsell and Godden are 'relaxed and approachable, very responsive, knowledgeable and highly skilled in communicating to a broad audience'.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell

Other key lawyers:

Erika Clarke; Frances Godden


‘All Birketts’ professionals are just that – very professional. They have in depth knowledge and experience which has been invaluable to us as clients. They provide very clear advice and guidance – both on the telephone, in emails and documents too. They also provide good support to other members of their Birketts’ team when they are called upon to add their specialist expertise.’

‘Our point of contact and primary professional advisor has been Liz Brownsell who has provided exceptional work, is totally reliable and makes herself available beyond normal working hours – all of which we value very highly.’

‘There are a range of subject matter experts across all of the key areas of our operations but they do not work in isolation and we feel we are being supported by a single entity, rather than a group of loosely connected individuals as can be the case elsehwere.’

‘Staff are relaxed and approachable, very responsive, knowledgeable and highly skilled in communicating to a broad audience. Liz Brownsell and Frances Godden are our go-to people and opitimise these qualities.’

‘The team meet the needs of our organisation by adapting to what we need rather than thrust what they want to do or think we want. They use various IT to support them which is straightforward and logical.’

‘I find each member of the team effective. I appreciated Liz Brownsell meeting me in person to find out what our vision is. She is good at communicating and thorough in her role. Also, I found Frances Godden helpful if I had a query and efficient in dealing with it.’

‘Being based in Ipswich, the team are competitively priced but provide a service comparable with any in London, or elsewhere. Service is excellent, focused through a main contact but with quick and easy access across all the skill-sets available in the wider team, and with all fully briefed and up-to-speed with our requirements. We have been able to call on a diverse range of skills from IP, DP, HR, commercial, public procurement, charity and governance. We worked entirely remotely (due to the pandemic) but always felt they were part of our team and always on hand when needed.’

Key clients

Amnesty International


Royal Horticultural Society

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

The Royal Academy of Arts

The UK Cyber Security Council

Trust for London

London Diocesan Fund

The Diocese of Norwich

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

The Diocese of London

The Child Health Research CIO

The All Saints Educational Trust

What Works for Children’s Social Care

The Maslow Foundation

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH)

East Anglian Air Ambulance

Hartpury University

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Disability Advice Service Lambeth

Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited

National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

Quadram Institute of Biosciences

Spiritualists’ National Union Trust

CHESS Homeless

The Tibet Relief Fund for the United Kingdom

Gecko Theatre

St Elizabeth Hospice (Suffolk)

Suffolk Mind

Work highlights

  • Advised on the formation of The UK Cyber Security Council as a new professional membership charity established to raise and regulate standards of practice within the cyber security industry, and on its application for a Royal Charter.
  • Advising Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited on its £12.5 million project to construct a new hospice to replace the current Priscilla Bacon Lodge, including advising on all aspects of charity law, property law and construction law in connection with the complex project (which involves a number of other third parties).
  • Since 2013, the firm has have advised East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) in respect of all of its new charity shop leases and management of its retail portfolio of circa 50 charity shops.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The charity practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is led from London and Cardiff, but the Cambridge office has an experienced team that has a specialist focus on advising charities in the education, health, social care and scientific research sectors. Newly promoted partner Stephen O’Reilly is the lead practitioner and he has in-depth experience in establishing and register new charities, releasing permanent endowment restrictions, completing charity mergers, interacting with the Charity Commission, and advising charities on governance issues, such as payments to charity trustees. He supports Our Future Health in setting up one of the largest research projects ever in the UK. Senior associate Martyn Robinson also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Glynne Stanfield (Head of Charity Team) Paul Pugh (Head of Third Sector Services Team)

Other key lawyers:

Stephen O’Reilly; Martyn Robinson

Key clients

Our Future Health

FIA Foundation

Turning Point

Founders of Global Pathogen Analysis Service Ltd

National Oceanography Centre

Laidlaw Foundation


Medical Research Council

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Richmond, The American International University in London, Inc.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The charities and social enterprise practice at Mills & Reeve LLP is 'calm, comprehensive and reassuring'. The Cambridge office is a key part of the national practice, which has a stellar roster of clients, among them Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the Francis Crick Institute and the Institution of Engineering & Technology. Practice head Neil Burton is 'excellent; a great communicator and with great technical knowledge'. The firm also has numerous clients in the education sector and Burton advised Linacre College, Oxford, on a £155m donation agreement from SOVICO Group. Principal associate Nathalie Jacoby-Danesh advises private and public clients on a broad range of corporate law, charity law, and governance, regulatory and funding issues.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Nathalie Jacoby-Danesh


‘Calm, comprehensive and reassuring.’

‘Neil Burton is excellent; a great communicator and with great technical knowledge.’

Key clients

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Linacre College


Rothamsted Research

Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Francis Crick Institute

Institution of Engineering & Technology

Henry Smith

British Council

Wellcome Sanger

Work highlights

  • Advised Linacre College on the £155 million charitable donation from SOVICO Group.
  • Advising the Institute of Engineering and Technology on the full range of issues including charity governance, trading subsidiaries and other charity corporate governance matters.
  • Advising The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation on endowment, charity governance and major overseas operations & branches.

BDB Pitmans

At BDB Pitmans, the Cambridge office has a prominent role in the firm’s national charities and social enterprise practice, which stands out for its ‘reliability, credibility and honesty, along with a great level of humility‘. The firm advises charities, not-for-profits, social enterprises and philanthropists on constitutional and governance matters, dealing with the regulators, and operational matters including on fundraising, pensions, data protection, property and employment law. The Cambridge practice is led by head of wills and trusts Lucinda Brown. Senior associate Kate Parkinson is ‘genuine and down to earth, and she has a real passion for charities‘. She supported Comité International Radio Maritime (CIRM) with governance advice, including updating the organisation’s articles of association and rules.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Kate Parkinson; Lucinda Brown


‘A strong team of reliability, credibility and honesty along with a great level of humility. Collaboration is good , always keen to explore ways of doing things differently to the benefit of the charities.’

‘Kate Parkinson is genuine, lovely and down to earth. Has a real passion for charities and helping and supporting where possible. very selfless. Great collaborator.’

‘I value Kate Parkinson’s in-depth knowledge which happens to fall within our work area since we are a not for profit organisation and she specialises in this and charities amongst other things. Kate’s attitude is can do and will help. She is always prompt in responding and courteous, with a friendly manner which I find very reassuring.’

‘The charities team in Cambridge, headed up on the ground by Kate Parkinson, is experienced and can deal with complex matters. They are responsive and open to dealing with charities operating in new and innovative areas.’

‘Kate Parkinson – great charity knowledge and a very practical, hands on approach.’

‘The BDB Pitmans Charities and not-for-profit team provide an excellent, thoughtful and tailored service for eminently fair fees. They consistently take the time to understand the deeper questions and provide solutions-driven practical advice that continues to be of great assistance to our charitable foundation.’

‘Kate Parkinson is a true rising star in her sphere. Her experience and knowledgeability coupled with her high levels of EQ and commerciality make her a fantastic advisor to work with.’

‘Kate Parkinson’s enthusiasm and friendly personality certainly made the serious professional process much more enjoyable. It was obvious that Kate had considerable personal ‘hands on’ experience to make her advice relevant and helpful.’

Key clients

Comité International Radio Maritime

The Stationers’ Foundation

UK Clinical Pharmacy Association

Saints Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the Saints Foundation on its governance, as well as on a number of fundraising matters.
  • Advised Comité International Radio Maritime in updating its governance and it seeking the registration of new trade marks.
  • Advised The Stationers’ Foundation on the incorporation of its Scheme charity, as well as in respect of commitments to other associated charities established by statute.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP has numerous partners who sit as charity trustees and who have extensive experience in governance matters. The firm has a multi-disciplinary team that advises charities on their formation, property and employment matters, and day-to-day administration issues. The estates practice has tax specialists who provide advice on Gift Aid and enhanced legacy income as well as Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax planning for potential donors. Head of the firm's private client services group Catherine Scott in Norwich oversees the charities practice and also leads the estates team.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Scott

Key clients

The Paul Bassham Charitable Trust

Hillside Animal Sanctuary Limited

History of Advertising Trust

Flagship Housing Limited / Flagship Housing Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Trustees of The Paul Bassham Charitable Trust on general charity administration.
  • Instructed by a residential care operator to support it in relation to CQC intervention at one of its care homes.
  • Instructed to represent a client at inquest following a fatal fire at one of its extra-care schemes.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP has a multidisciplinary practice that draw together property, employment, commercial and governance expertise to advise a diverse roster of charity clients. The practice is led by specialists in charity law, Anna Spriggs in Peterborough and Paddy Appleton in Oundle. Spriggs, predominantly handles property matters and provides ‘punctual responses and clear advice‘, assisted Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance with statutory disposal and management of glebe land, commercial leases and licences for church and/or educational use. Private client partner Henry Anstey in Peterborough also advises charities on property matters, wills, trusts and charitable status issues.

Practice head(s):

Anna Spriggs; Paddy Appleton

Other key lawyers:

Henry Anstey; Olivia Chalmers


‘I needed a local solicitor with experience of working for charities. They were able to help me in a timely way and guided me successfully to register my charity.’

‘Anne Spriggs responds quickly to my questions and guides me in decisions which are outside my experience and in the interests of the charity. It is valuable to have advice when faced with unfamiliar situations.’

‘I am happy that the team provides the breadth and skills to offer relevant advice on many areas of legal compliance to assist our work.’

‘They care and ensure that your needs have been met’

‘The practice provides an individualised service, whereby we feel valued as a customer. Throughout we have been assigned a person who has led our work and we have been able to have easy access to senior staff as required.’

‘We have dealt primarily with Olivia Chalmers and Anna Spriggs and both have been excellent in providing punctual responses and clear advice on our project.’

Key clients

Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance

Work highlights

  • Advising Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance on various matters including: complex covenant releases and reverter provision, statutory disposal and management of glebe land, commercial leases and licences for church and/or educational use – including acquisition of new church sites, complex multi-party Options and Promotion Agreements a number of development sites.
  • Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance – advising on two interconnected option agreements with additional complexities of local objections under ecclesiastical law.
  • Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance – an intricate and detailed framework of transactional documents negotiated, including a headline legal agreement, various supporting undertakings and a deed of gift for an original Holdich organ gifted to St Peter’s Church in Oundle (the organ will be removed from St Luke’s Chapel in Brompton Hospital, Kensington, fully restored by a national specialist and installed at St Peter’s Church).

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has a multi-disciplinary team which draws on experience from partners within the commercial property, corporate and commercial, and employment teams to advise a numerous charity clients, among them the Ethical Property Foundation, Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Corporate partner Richard Bailey in Norwich, who joined the firm through its merger with Steeles Law in 2021, leads the practice. Employment specialist Claire Sleep in Cambridge recently acted for a regional mental health charity in a complex ill health dismissal involving a number of discrimination matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Claire Sleep

Key clients

Ethical Property Foundation

Consortium Multi-Academy Trust

CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy)

Longfield Hall Trust Limited

Suffolk Mind

Addenbrookes Charitable Trust

Endometriosis UK

Work highlights

  • Advised a regional mental health charity on a number of employment law and HR issues that have arisen throughout the Covid pandemic including breaches of social distancing policy and compulsory vaccinations in the care homes part of their business.
  • Employment training given to a charity on unconscious bias, equality and diversity issues. In addition advised the HR team on a number of covid-19 related issues such as furlough arrangements and redundancies.
  • Acting for a charity in a large contractual matter in partnership with a provider of technology services to Local Authorities. Liaising between the client’s facility and specialist.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a multi-disciplinary team that draws on expertise from the commercial property and employment practices to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Since its launch in 2016, the practice has significantly grown its client base in Norfolk and beyond. Its work encompasses charity formation, trustee compliance advice, mergers, company law, property transactions, landlord and tenant matters, and HR advice. Head of family law Neale Grearson in Norwich leads the practice and is a trustee of numerous local charities. Also in Norwich, litigation partner Philip Lumb is a key adviser on contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Neale Grearson

Other key lawyers:

Philip Lumb

Work highlights

  • Advising a local charity on a large number of matters, including day-to-day issues supporting head managers within the Charity, whilst also offering extensive support on contentious issues.
  • Acting for a local charity in the taking of new 6 year lease of premises in Market Place Diss following the previous tenant going into administration.
  • Acting for a client in respect of two lease renewals at Whitton Road in Ipswich. The purpose of the lease renewals is for the client to continue to be able to provide temporary supervised or supported residential accommodation for young people under the age of 25 who need supervised or supported living accommodation.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons has a large education and charities practice across its office network, with Cambridge playing a key role. Partner Denise Wilkinson assists with with conservation and land matters, and among her clients are a national wildlife charity and The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. The firm is known for ‘good attention, and good technical advice‘, as well as its ‘personal approach to advising on a technical topic‘. Private client partner Susanne Hinde assisted Downing College, Cambridge, with the preparation of constitutions for student unions dealing with the allocation of funding to student clubs and societies.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Henley


‘Good technical advice.’

‘A very approachable and friendly team with excellent client care and a real understanding of small charities. The advice they provide is practical and relevant to the situation, rather than focusing on every possible eventuality. Responses were prompt and team members made themselves available at short notice, always offering a telephone call to chat matters through.’

‘Virginia Henley takes time to properly understand the issue and the organisation, enabling her to provide a practical solution which gets to the heart of the problem.’

‘They are most approachable legal team I have ever worked with! Nothing is too much trouble, no question is too basic and you never feel like they are just involved for the money!

‘Invoicing is timely, sensitive and fair!’

‘Virginia Henley has a genuine empathy, understanding and will to succeed.’

Key clients


Downing College

Queen Ann Almshouses

John Revis Almshouses

The Ann Howsden Charity

Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry

Swavesey Fire Relief Fund

Trumpington Village Hall CIO

The Craft Bakers Benevolent and Education Fund

Wye Building Preservation Trust

Soham Moor Old Grammar School Fund

The Pelly Charitable Trust CIO

Downing College in the University of Cambridge

Work highlights

  • Advised Queen Ann and John Revis Almshouses, two historic Almshouse charities, on the advantages of incorporation, and subsequently took all steps necessary to effect the legal merger between the two charities into a newly formed incorporated body.
  • Advised ICENA, the social enterprise, private limited company whose members are five different rape crisis centres.
  • Assisting Downing College, Cambridge with the preparation of constitutions for student unions within the College and for the College body which deals with the allocation of funding to student clubs and societies.