Charities and not-for-profit in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP offers a full service to its charity clients which encompass family and corporate charities, not for profit organisations, social enterprises, charity trustees as well as established large national charities. The team has ‘a thorough understanding of the charities sector‘ and advises on legal structures, commercial agreements, licenses and governance issues, such as inappropriate behaviour by trustees, conflicts of interest and disqualification, and assists in Charity Commission inquiries and investigations. ‘Unfailingly knowledgeable‘ practice head Catherine Rustomji is focused on constitutional and governance matters.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Rustomji


‘They have a thorough understanding of the charities sector. They freely share their expertise and organise not only conferences open to all, but have also run a symposium for a specific issue for one client.’

‘Catherine Rustomji is unfailingly knowledgeable, efficient, and pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

Nottingham Castle Trust

St John’s College Nottingham Limited

English Benedictine Congregation

Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Organisation

Society of Dyers and Colourists

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Greater Nottingham Groundwork Trust

Hospital of William Wyggeston and the Hospital Branch

The United Charities of Abel Collin

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in its acquisition of the freehold of the Attenborough Nature Reserve from CEMEX following a successful fundraising appeal and a £750k grant from Biffa Award. The acquisition required specialist planning and environmental advice.
  • Continued to act for Nottingham Castle Trust and recently advised on the contractual arrangements around the appointment of third parties to provide services. Also advised this charity in relation to a substantial capital project requiring charity law and governance advice, tax and legal structures input, drafting bespoke commercial agreements with suppliers of educational and related material all relating to the redevelopment of the Castle.
  • Advised Greater Nottingham Groundwork Trust on a range of different matters including property, construction, development and charity law/governance.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons' charities and not-for-profit practice acts for a full array of clients, including almshouses, educational charities, and land-owning and grant-making charities. Offering 'a first class service' the department advises charities from a variety of sectors, such as conservation and education, preparing governing and transactional documents for mergers, acquisitions and conversions, while also assisting with complex disputes. Virginia Henley, who heads the team, has a focus on policy reviews and restructurings and is praised by clients for being 'unstinting with support and advice'.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Henley

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Cole; Saffa Mir


‘A very professional group – they provide prompt and clear advice and have good team communication.’

‘We were advised to commission this firm as having expertise in changing our charitable status from unincorporated to incorporated. They fully met our expectations in the process.’

‘We are grateful for the team’s empathy, and for their concern to understand our needs. We have sought advice in the areas of building work, a dispute with a large energy company, contracts, revision of articles of association. The availability and responsiveness in particular of the partners compares very well with other firms that we have experience of.’

‘We would like to mention Virginia Henley as outstanding in her work – she thinks deeply and is hardworking and accurate, as well as empathetic to our position, and we feel well-supported by her advice.’

‘The knowledge of our organisation through working with us over a long period means the individuals instinctively know about our make up and needs. This is extremely helpful in complex merger works which recently took place. In particular Stephen Cole and Virginia Henley have been the most recent partners to assist us.’

‘Virginia Henley has been unstinting with support, navigating us through very troubled waters. Virginia has also taken a flexible approach to charging.’

‘Very responsive, knowledgeable, and willing to bring wider expertise into the relationship when needed.’

‘I have worked most closely with Saffa Mir, who has been exemplary throughout. She has been very clear and prompt in all her communications, and has been a great help to me in understanding the practical questions and communicating them to the trustees of the body I represent. I would also like to note that she has been flexible and helpful with a wide range of issues.’

Key clients

The Analysis Trust

Aspley Guise Village Hall

Le Ciel Foundation

Finnis Scott Foundation

Isles of Scilly Museum Association

Kelmarsh Trust

Lamport Hall Preservation Trust

Queen Ann and John Revis Almshouses

National Hair and Beauty Federation

Sir Thomas Whiterthampton Charity

ICENA Limited

Wellingborough School

The Tipping Point Foundation

True Athlete Project

Garden House Hospice Care

The Buckinghamshire Military Museum Trust

Singlehurst Charitable Trust

The Pixel Fund

Upshot Systems CIC

Old Wilsonians’ Association

St Francis’ Children’s Society

Work highlights

  • Appointed to review governance of Christian charity under investigation by the Charity Commission, following an inquiry by the Trading Standards Authority; to work alongside the trustee body and take all necessary steps to protect charity assets and make recommendations to the Commission about the future of the charity.
  • Advised two historic Almshouse charities – Queen Ann and John Revis Almshouses – 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 social enterprise ICENA, whose members are five different rape crisis centres. Drafted a Third-Party agreement for ICENA to use for the provision of their services, and a Memorandum of Understanding between ICENA and the five member companies

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's charities team works in cooperation with other departments of the firm, including employment, dispute resolution, private client, real estate and corporate, to offer a full service to clients. The offering includes advice on issues relating to wills, probate and legacies as well as acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. Head of the team Kevin Modiri is 'a dedicated, significant and powerful advocate' specialising in dispute resolution, in particular probate and privacy cases, including GDPR issues.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Modiri

Other key lawyers:

Melanie Morton


‘It is clear that the team work well together to answer any queries. We value the email newsletters keeping us up to date with new legislation and case law. Particularly useful are the newsletters specifically for charities.’

‘Melanie Morton is our contact within the firm. Her advice is always clear and concise. Enquiries are answered promptly. We always have confidence in the advice given.’

‘Kevin Modiri is a dedicated, significant and powerful advocate and as such has collected and built a team of like-minded lawyers. Each share similar abilities to Kevin Modiri who has been a major player in both installing and maintaining an ethos within the firm of only the best will do. The team enjoys an ability to rapidly comprehend an issue, to respond quickly and effectively using leading edge modern approaches, with powerful and comprehensive solutions to often difficult and complex issues. All of this is achieved by careful explanation and discussion with clients in a format that is easy to understand and comprehend.’

‘The way firm operates in a manner that is a fantastic example of how a client expects lawyers to perform. Kevin Modiri is regarded by us as the ultimate “big gun” if we need to resolve a legal issue. His team members are all notable as they share his intellect, drive, energy and efficiency in getting the job done. Other partners are all of a similar calibre, which makes Nelsons a formidable firm. It is certainly a firm that I want on our side and would never want to face an opponent that was represented by them.’

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The 'excellent, very capable and strong' charities and not-for-profit team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP advises on all types of matters, such as charity registration, governance and administration matters, and has particular expertise in administering government funded charities and grant-making charities. While the department acts for clients from all sectors, it has 'detailed specialist knowledge' of the educational sector. Practice head Andrew Wilkinson specialises in complex legacy disputes. Michael Squirrell, who has a particular specialism in advising charitable incorporations, joined as partner from Wilkin Chapman LLP.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:

Martin Noble; Ben Darlow; Michael Squirrell


‘An excellent team, very capable and strong.’

‘Martin Noble was exceptional – I can thoroughly recommend the work and the results achieved to benefit our charity with limited resources.’

‘Very detailed specialist knowledge. Vast experience. Imaginative approach to problem solving. Good communications with clients and counsel. Pragmatic and commercially aware advice. Fast and responsive to client needs.’

‘I consider them to be the experts in Leicester.’

‘Ben Darlow is excellent.’

Key clients

Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home

League Against Cruel Sports


Work highlights

  • Acted for League against Cruel Sports in a landmark case regarding veganism and whether it is a “philosophical belief”.
  • Advised Stonewater in connection with lease variation proceedings for numerous leaseholder retirement schemes.