Charities in London Bar

RADCLIFFE CHAMBERS continues to offer an exceptional concentration of expertise in charity law. Its members include a former Deputy Charity Commissioner (Francesca Quint), a former junior counsel to HM Attorney General in charity matters (Peter Crampin QC), and a former standing counsel to the Charity Commission (Robert Pearce QC). In recent work, Pearce QC acted for the trustee of the £500m National Fund in proceedings to determine whether the fund should be applied to reduce the national debt or for other charitable purposes. He also advised the trustees of a large federated national charity on complex reorganisation issues.

Maitland Chambers has 'a good reputation in charity law – particularly under Christopher McCall QC’s tenure'; clients say it is a ‘quality set with a good reputation in charity law.’ Much of the members' work is appellate and relates to religious charities litigation, as well as advising on challenges to the Charity Commission. Recent highlights include Matthew Smith acting in an appeal against the commission relating to the appointment of interim managers over charities connected with private schools.

Serle Court is a ‘top set with some rising stars on board.William Henderson ‘whose technical ability is second to none’ acted in the seminal case of Lehtimaki v Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Here, the Court of Appeal reversed a previous decision when it held that the members owed the claimant some fiduciary duties. It also held that the court could not compel members of a charitable company about how to vote unless they were acting or threatening to act in breach of trust. According to one instructing solicitor, Jonathan Fowles was 'instrumental' in bringing a complex international dispute to a close. 'He understands the particular needs of charity clients and I would not hesitate to recommend him in contentious succession/probate matters.'

Wilberforce Chambers continues to be involved in some complex and high-value matters across the charity sector. As an example of his expertise, Jonathan Davey QC is leading in the significant case of Life Services Ltd v Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs, which is an important test case about the taxation of charities and similar entities. Michael Furness QC has a 'good reputation' among instructing solicitors for charities-related work, aided by his 'quick response time and detailed knowledge' of the sector.