Charities and not-for-profit in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

The charities and social enterprise practice at Birketts LLP has in-depth expertise in the sector thanks to a multi-disciplinary team led by non-contentious charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich and Cambridge-based litigator and regulatory expert Sara Sayer, who are both senior associates. The firm's broad offering includes niche expertise in areas such as Retail Gift Aid, GDPR, fundraising law and regulation, ecclesiastical law, public procurement, state aid and immigration. It has a large roster of national charity clients. Another name to note is Erika Clarke, who advises on a wide range of non-contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell; Sara Sayer

Other key lawyers:

Erika Clarke; Kitty Rosser; Edward Bouckley; Paul Palik; Karl Pocock; Louisa Saunders


“The firm is approachable with a deep knowledge of their subject area.”

“Birketts is the first firm of solicitors I have experienced that truly put their clients first. I am constantly urged by my contacts to consider whether or not the charity really needs certain services and when it is deemed appropriate, I am offered the best solution for the task.”

“I am never given a one-size-fits-all solution and each engagement is dealt with on its merits and I get a specialist solicitor for each area.”

“All my contacts are extremely knowledgable and yet have a client approach that makes them down to earth and really easy to discuss things with. I never feel like I have asked anything silly and this means a lot.”

“I have extensive contact with Edward Bouckley, Liz Brownsell and Kitty Rosser and cannot fault any of their expertise or their customer service.”

Key clients

All Souls, Langham Place

Amnesty International Charity Limited

Amnesty International Limited

Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Central Hardship and Relief Trust (CHART)

Charity Retail Association

Church of England Central Services

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

Hospice UK

Institute of Fundraising

London Diocesan Fund

Makeshift Foundation



SEETEC / Your Ambition

SNU Trust

Stroke Association

Tennis for Free

Trust for London

Walking With The Wounded

World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Work highlights

  • Advised Walking With The Wounded in relation to its collaboration with Help for Heroes for this year’s Walking Home for Christmas campaign.
  • Advising our client in respect of its contractual arrangements with its chosen provider in respect of its annual fundraising raffles.
  • Advised on the formation and registration of Makeshift Foundation, which is a charity established for urban regeneration and social inclusion in London.
  • Instructed by Charity Retail Association to draft a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to GDPR requirements for charity shops, focusing in particular on how to comply with the legal requirements when operating the retail Gift Aid scheme.
  • Advising BASICS on updating its governance arrangements, incorporation and restructuring the group to simplify and streamline current arrangements.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a national charity practice that includes key members in its Cambridge office. Glynne Stanfield works in both Cambridge and London and is a key adviser in the charity and not-for-profit sector on matters including complex charity and governance issues, joint ventures and mergers. The firm expanded its range of expertise in East Anglia with the recruitment of associate Helen Teague from Macfarlanes LLP and senior associate and education sector specialist Martyn Robinson from Hewitsons. Another name to note is rising star Stephen O’Reilly.

Practice head(s):

Glynne Stanfield

Other key lawyers:

Stephen O’Reilly; Martyn Robinson; Helen Teague

Key clients

Turning Point

South Downs National Park Trust

Royal Society of Chemistry

Dewsbury Endowed Schools Foundation

Institute of Physics

Medical Research Council

Havens Christian Hospice

Further Education Trust for Leadership

Higher Education Academy

Work highlights

  • Establishment of National Oceanography Centre as an independent charity.
  • We continue to advise South Downs National Park Trust, which raises funds for the protection of the national park and promotes its access to all.
  • Havens (a hospice charity) was the sole corporate member of The J’s Hospice, which operates care in the community, and we advised on the transfer up to Havens of the assets and activities of The J’s Hospice.
  • LBAL was formed by 14 further education colleges and is working with a registered charity which is a registered end point assessment organisation, to provide assessors from the constituent colleges and further afield; we advised on the commercial agreement between the parties.
  • Richmond operates a higher education institution in London and is applying to the Office for Students (“OfS”) to be registered with them pursuant to the provisions of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and with taught degree awarding powers.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP acts for some of the UK's biggest charities and in 2018 it was appointed as the key adviser to the £6bn Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The charities and social enterprise group in Cambridge is led by Neil Burton and advises on philanthropy and legacies as well as corporate, regulatory, employment and property matters. It is a key adviser to numerous religious charities, health charities, education institutions and research organisations. Finance partner Sarah Seed, whose charity fundraising practice introduced the first ever university alumni bond, plays a central role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Seed; Dona Ardeman


‘The team has an ability to clearly understand our likely position and response to matters and in doing so providing cognisant advice, saving effort and potential error. Providing a fast response and ensuring that an appropriate and knowledgeable adviser is available.’

‘All individuals provide a truly personable service. The team provides clear and knowledgeable advice; they focus on the matters at hand without dismissing potential complications and have never sought to complicate or draw out any matter.’

‘Neil Burton is outstanding; an excellent negotiator, highly efficient and effective in all he does.’

Key clients

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Frances Crick Institute

Work highlights

  • Advising the board of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation on a range of governance/charity law issues (liaising with the Charity Commission/trustee training & horizon scanning), and setting up a number of sub-charities in the UK and overseas.
  • Advising The Institution of Engineering and Technology on a range of charity law and constitutional matters (inc special trusts, linked charities fundraising and legacy issues), and advising on trading subsidiaries, governance and corporate issues associated tax aspects.
  • Advising Royal Society of Chemistry on a range of governance issues (including dealing with special trusts) and regulatory issues – equality, member disciplinary and GDPR.
  • Advising a UK charity with a large global workforce on a series of cases whereby employees working around the world are claiming rights under UK law.

Stone King LLP

The charities and social enterprise sector group at Stone King LLP is led from London and Bath, but the Cambridge office is home to key advisers to the charity and education sectors.

Other key lawyers:

James MacFarlane; Tamsin Eastwood

Key clients

The Friends of Whitefriars Oxford Fund

St Michael’s Catholic School

The Deptford Ragged Trust

British Inherited Metabolic Disease Group

The Foundation of Edward Storey

Borneo Orangutan Survival UK

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Cambridge Islamic College

Spiritualists’ National Union

Work highlights

  • Represented Cambridge Islamic College in its appeal against a direction made by the Charity Commission to change its name.
  • Acted for a high profile national charity and are providing advice on changing its governance from two-tier to a one-tier.
  • We continue to advise Assemblies of the First Born in respect of its dispute with several churches wishing to break away.
  • Incorporating The Roman Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Cambridge as a CIO and transferring its assets.
  • We won a tender to advise on the incorporation of St Edmund’s College, Ware, which will involve a transfer of ownership from the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Taylor Vinters

At Taylor Vinters, 'the charities team is small but it has real specialism and it is extremely knowledgeable, very customer-focused and friendly'. The practice is led from London and Cambridge by Chris Willis Pickup, who is a former senior Charity Commission lawyer, and draws on the firm's commercial and technology practices to advise not-for-profit organisations in sectors as diverse as science and research, medicine, technology and software, higher education, conservation, international development and social ventures. Another name to note is the 'highly experienced' Christine Berry who advises on charity governance issues for a range of clients. Rising star associate Emma Millar handles charity formation, governance, fundraising, commercial contracts, data protection and privacy matters.

Practice head(s):

Chris Willis Pickup

Other key lawyers:

Christine Berry; Helen Mutucumarana; James Boyle; Emma Millar; Beth Price; David Rainford


“Chris Willis-Pickup has invaluable experience and knowledge of the Charity Commission’s powers and processes, having previously been its Head of Litigation. He also has an encyclopaedic and profound grasp of charity law generally, alongside an easy charm and pragmatism.”

“Chris Willis Pickup is an exceptional lawyer, both in terms of his knowledge and experience of charities law and his strategic insight. He is invariably calm and clear-headed no matter how difficult the legal issues he is facing.”

“By recruiting Chris Willis Pickup, Taylor Vinters has positioned itself as one of the leading charities law firms in the country.”

“The presence of Chris Willis-Pickup in the team makes it unique.”

“Chris Willis-Pickup is a very capable lawyer. His experience makes him stand out from competitors.”

“Christine Berry is highly experienced, thorough and has a deep subject expert in the areas of Cambridge College academic employment contracts and governance. We have greatly benefited from her advice and knowledge in this area.”

“David Rainford is extremely competent, knowledgeable, personable and available.”

“They are particularly strong where science, research, and higher education charities are concerned. I would regard them as a leading charities firm outside London, and I do not think there is a stronger charities team in East Anglia.”

“Chris Willis Pickup has unique recent in-house experience at the Charity Commission. He was a superb improvement to their litigation department whilst at the Commission and clients benefit greatly from his ability and recent regulatory insight.”

Key clients

British Pharmacological Society

Love Welcomes CIC

The Foundation

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Teenage Cancer Trust

University of Cambridge – Colleges


Cambridge Science Centre

Work highlights

  • Represented British Pharmacological Society on its governance, campaigning and commercial activities as a leading and forward-looking learned society.
  • Helping a leading US non-profit spin-off a cross-border social venture to support Syria refugees, covering establishment, governance and commercial activities.
  • Establishing an innovative non-profit Foundation to provide a governance framework for a global open source project.
  • An innovative multi-disciplinary partnership with the leading Alzheimer’s charity, covering charity, governance, commercial and other risks and opportunities.
  • Supporting Teenage Cancer Trust across all of its work and functions, providing effectively an in-house legal service.

Greenwoods GRM

The charity and not-for-profit practice group at Greenwoods GRM saw its roster of clients grow in 2018 as more regional and national charities turn to it for advice on regulatory, employment and property matters. Regulatory and corporate defence specialist Kathryn Gilbertson, employment partner John Macaulay and lead commercial property partner Stephen Illingworth all play key roles in the practice, which has a long-standing relationship with St Johns Ambulance.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Robinson

Other key lawyers:

David Woods; John Macaulay; Stephen Illingworth; Ann-marie Clow


“Greenwoods GRM’s key strength is the ability to understand our organisation rather than provide generic advice. Even though we are an SME, we are always treated with the sense we are a number one priority for the firm. This is different to other legal practices I have worked with in the past.”

Key clients

St Johns Ambulance

Work highlights

  • Supporting the world’s leading first aid charity, St John Ambulance, with management of their property portfolio.
  • Supporting the RSPCA with sensitive prosecutions in the Cambridgeshire area.
  • Supporting The Nene Park Trust with a 999-year lease on local land and commercial properties and other assets which now generate some of the income required to maintain the Park.
  • Compulsory sale of land connected to the £1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme includes a major new bypass to the south of Huntingdon and upgrades to 21 miles of the A14.
  • Provided full advice service to a well-known children’s charity for some 18 years.


The charities and education practice at Hewitsons is led from Northampton but calls upon the agriculture, property and planning teams in Cambridge to act for a host of regional and national charities. Rural property and agricultural law expert Denise Wilkinson plays a key role in the practice, as does real estate and finance partner James Simpson. The firm counts several education institutions such as the University of Cambridge and numerous national charities among its clients.

Howes Percival LLP

The charities practice at Howes Percival LLP has many partners who act as charity trustees and have experience in dealing with governance issues. The multi-disciplinary group handles charity formation and administration, including advising on new and changed structures, incorporations, conversion, governing documents and mergers. Notable skills include tax advice from the estates practice, which frequently advises on Gift Aid, enhanced legacy income and inheritance tax matters. Head of private client services Catherine Scott is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Scott

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Horton; Tessa Haskey; Alice Liddle; Nicola Curle; Paul Wootton

Key clients

Norwich University for the Arts

Work highlights

  • Advised on Norwich University for the Arts’ purchase of freehold land from Norwich City Council to transform an existing site into new teaching and student accommodation while also improving a neglected riverside location within the City Centre.
  • Represented client in disposition of assets to facilitate construction of new premises.
  • Representing client in connection with new loan facility of £1m.
  • Resisted financial claims and threats of eviction against landlord of commercial premises.
  • Property advice for long leasehold portfolio.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP has two knowledgeable charity lawyers in Peterborough-based Anna Spriggs, who is a Diocesan Registrar and has in-depth knowledge of ecclesiastical law, and Oundle-based head of private client Paddy Appleton. The firm frequently handles property matters, wills, trusts and charitable status issues. Spriggs and consultant Lynne Ayres are trustees of Peterborough Cathedral Development and Preservation Trust.

Practice head(s):

Paddy Appleton; Anna Spriggs

Other key lawyers:

Lynne Ayres; Henry Anstey; Denis White; Sarah Morris; James Steward, Andrea Harrod; Olivia Chalmers


‘The practice is a local firm that knows the area exceptionally well and supports the development of Peterborough. Its staff have always worked exceptionally well and have provided robust advice and guidance.’

‘Their legal knowledge is robust and they develop an in-depth knowledge of our business and the specific industry we operate within.’

‘They always seem accessible and willing to help and support. They undertake a lot of work with the community and are a visible presence within the City, supporting important causes as part of their social responsibility agenda.’

‘We have dealt mainly with James Steward, and have found him responsive, knowledgeable and easy to work with.’

Key clients

The Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance – Property portfolio and governance

East of England Agricultural Society

The Leprosy Mission

The Peterborough School

Peterborough Town Sports Club

The Chapter of Peterborough Cathedral

Work highlights

  • Various matters for Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance 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 for a number of development sites at Earls Barton, Moulton, Kings Sutton and Kettering, all well in excess of £1m.
  • A major disposal project of nine properties, some of which were grade II listed.
  • Application out of time under the Clergy Discipline Measure regarding allegation of abuse.
  • A complex option agreement for development land sale which completed in August 2015 but with ongoing matters relating to overage and deferred payments.
  • Acquisition and transfer of assets from trust to incorporated CIO.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

The charities practice at Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is led by family law partner Neale Grearson and acts for charities based in Norwich and throughout East Anglia. It advises on charity formation, trustee compliance and responsibilities, mergers and winding up of charities, corporate law, commercial property, landlord and tenant matters, employment law and litigation. Its multi-disciplinary group includes corporate and commercial practice head Jade Tinney and employment specialist Nicola Strefford.

Practice head(s):

Neale Grearson

Other key lawyers:

Jade Tinney; Nicola Strefford


‘In all of our dealings with Clapham & Collinge, I have always found their staff to be approachable and knowledgeable. We have received solid legal advice at all times and always leave a meeting or telephone conversation with the knowledge that our affairs are in very capable hands.’

‘Being a local firm, there is a very real feeling that they care about local business and work to the best of their ability to achieve the best results for those local organisations.’

‘We have received excellent legal advice from Jade Tinney at Clapham & Collinge over the past few years. She is incredibly professional and knowledgeable but remains both approachable and understanding.’

‘Jade Tinney is meticulous in her work and would ensure that every angle and possibility has been covered. She takes the trouble to fully understand an issue before commencing her work, which she carries out in a methodical and diligent fashion.’

‘I have admired the way that Jade Tinney has worked with ourselves over the past few years and have always appreciated her advice, her honesty and her sense of humour. She is a fine ambassador for Clapham & Collinge and the legal profession in general.’

‘The practice had a clear understanding of the issues we were facing and was able to succinctly articulate these back to us.’

Steeles Law

The charities group at Steeles Law is led from London and Norwich. In Norwich, corporate partner Richard Bailey is the key contact and he is a key adviser to many clients in the education sector. The firm acted for a number of high-profile charities during the course of the year, including the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Practice head(s):

Richard Bailey

Key clients

Ethical Property Foundation

Consortium Multi-Academy Trust

CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy)

Longfield Hall Trust Limited

Work highlights

  • Advice to a further education institution following its conversion to a multi-academy trust.
  • During 2018, legal advice has been provided to the Ethical Property Foundation on numerous issues, including: a rebranding exercise; an employment matter, involving a dispute by a former employee over pension contributions; a property dispute on the terms of a licence agreement for a serviced office; and general advice on GDPR policy documentation.
  • Application for first registration of land.
  • Property advice to a free school.
  • Lettings advice to a multi-academy trust.