Charities and not-for-profit in London

Bates Wells

Thea Longley now heads the large and specialist team at Bates Wells that acts for a sizeable number of household names. Recent highlights included acting in two of the largest charity law cases. Due to the strength and depth in the team, it has built up niche expertise in diverse areas. Stephanie Biden leads on constitutional and governance issues relating to churches. Augustus Della-Porta leads the firm’s work with Muslim charities and Erica Crump heads a thriving practice that focuses on cultural charities. Philip Kirkpatrick routinely advises on some of the most complex and high-profile matters for major name charities. Lawrence Simanowitz advises key international clients and has particular strength in issues such as charity formations and governance. Laura Soley is a known name for her work on statutory charities, royal charter bodies and trusts. Rosamund McCarthy Etherington excels at advising on difficulty governance and complex regulatory matters. The ‘responsive‘ team provides ‘considered advice and delivers on time‘.

Practice head(s):

Thea Longley

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Biden; Augustus Della-Porta; Erica Crump; Philip Kirkpatrick; Lawrence Simanowitz; Laura Soley; Rosamund McCarthy Etherington; Luke Fletcher; Hannah Lyons; Suhan Rajkumar; Oliver Scutt; Lucy Rhodes


Bates Wells is unique in its comprehensive expertise and offerings in charity law. As well as providing a huge range of advice, the lawyers keep consistently up to date with developments in charity law and the Charity Commission’s activities and share those learnings with in-house legal teams through newsletters, articles and free or reasonably priced training sessions. We have relied on their knowledge in areas such as safeguarding, social investment, governance, data protection, and various other areas. Their advice is always coloured by a deep understanding of the charity context. Charity law is not a tack-on at Bates Wells; it is integral to the firm’s ethos and existence‘.

‘The Firm has a reputation for working with the charitable sector which means it is familiar with the issues we are facing‘.

Bates Wells is very thorough, prompt in responding and always ensures it fully understands our requirements. The lawyers have got to know our charity governance very well which means that we can get informed advice from them quickly’.

Bates Wells provides personal advice, very much Partner led. One feels that the lawyers seek to gain an understanding of the culture of the organisation and provide pragmatic advice accordingly. The advice is easy to understand and not bound up in legal technicalities. Laura Soley is highly approachable and has an understanding of both the legal matters and the cultural environment of the Charity, with advice delivered that is appropriate to us. Hannah Lyons has provided good practical advice on fundraising and data issues, offering solutions rather than merely advice‘.

‘The team has been responsive. Luke Fletcher has been incredibly helpful sharing his expertise to navigate through challenging circumstances‘.

The team is very responsive to clients and goes out of its way to help.  The team was particularly helpful even during Covid, which shows its ability to be flexible during challenging times.  Suhan Rajkumar has been very helpful to us‘.

‘The team allowed us, as clients, to manage our expectations, the lawyers clearly set out, pricing, delivery timings and information updates, as well as warnings of any potential delays. The team provided consistent and timely updates through the process. Oliver Scutt has been a pleasure to work with. He is very clear in setting out the plan of work and always gave a timely turnaround with agreed dates. He also has the great strength of explaining legal areas to us non legal people‘.

‘Attention to detail. Reliable and thoughtful advice. Sensible solutions to what appear to be complex issues‘.

Key clients

BBC Children in Need


Comic Relief

World Animal Protection

National Federation of Women’s Institutes

Christian Aid

Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards



Scout Association

Black Lives Matter

Work highlights

  • Advised former trustees of Kids Company in High Court win against being disqualified from other organisations – a hugely significant case for the charity sector.
  • In Cooper -v- Lehtimäki (Supreme Court 2020).- it advised Ms Cooper in a landmark case relating to the establishment of her charity, Big Win Philanthropy, and the negotiation of a grant of $360m from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
  • Advised the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on matters including the launch of the Earthshot prize.

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co has a prestigious client base of some of the largest and best-known UK and international charitable organisations. In addition it works with numerous major grant making bodies and philanthropic charitable foundations. Under the leadership of Anne-Marie Piper it is well-regarded for its transactional and structuring advice particularly involving charities with extensive group, trading and constitutional structures. It also receives plaudits for its charity finance advice and has a dedicated safeguarding unit that acts for a range of charities. Julian Smith acts for a broad array of foundations and functional charities. Sam Macdonald advises charities and other not-for-profit institutions on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax law. James Carleton advises various institutional charities with significant investment assets while Peter Wienand is recognised for his work with charitable organisations in the cultural and educational spheres. Elizabeth Jones and James Maloney are among the other key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Anne-Marie Piper

Other key lawyers:

Julian Smith; Sam Macdonald; James Carleton; Peter Wienand; Elizabeth Jones; James Maloney; Ben Pass; Laetitia Ransley


Legally rock-solid – good at balancing with practicalities / realities. Anne-Marie Piper – personable, pragmatic and responsive‘.

‘It is a strong and well respected practice with a range of specialisms and a particular understanding of charity law. Julian Smith has built up a detailed understanding of our organisation over the years specifically on its powers‘.

Julian Smith  – Exceptional depth of subject knowledge with the ability to apply this pragmatically‘.

Specialists in Charity and in particular Museum and IP work. Expert, willing to advise rather than just set out the legal parameters, fast and efficient. Only dealt with two individuals in the last year, both excellent: Julian Smith and Benjamin Pass‘.

The team at Farrer & Co consistently delivers to a very high standard and goes above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction. Its knowledge and expertise across all areas of charity law is excellent. All of the team is a pleasure to work with. All billing is made in a clear and timely manner.  Elizabeth Jones is excellent. She has provided us with a consistently high service and is extremely professional and knowledgeable‘.

‘Excellent, thoughtful, high quality service given at all times, with a really human touch. Lizzie Jones is excellent – intelligent, experienced and both supportive and challenging in equal measure. She is responsive and able to provide high quality advice on a wide range of charity issues. Her calm and thoughtful approach is particularly helpful with other senior stakeholders within my organisation‘.

‘The charities team at Farrer is the best in the field as far as I can tell.  The advice has always been very helpful and most importantly relevant. Elizabeth Jones heads up the team that we work with, they are all very approachable and extremely knowledgeable‘.

‘Farrer continues to be consistent with utmost professionalism, and reliable advice. I work now with many teams across the firm and the service has been consistent throughout.  Laeticia’s professionalism and consistency never wavers. I would like to specifically highlight the work we did together on Covid which took up a lot of time and thinking, during an extremely stressful moment for all of us, and her strategic as well as legal inputs were extremely valuable’.

Key clients

National Emergencies Trust

Wellcome Trust

Agudas Israel Housing Association Limited

Surrey Wildlife Trust

Age UK


The Rhodes Trust

Japan House

Cycling UK

Somerset House Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised National Emergencies Trust on its Covid-19 Appeal.
  • Assisted the innovative OKRE project of the Wellcome Trust to spin out into a separate charity
  • Instructed by Agudas Israel Housing Association Limited in R v Hackney London Borough Council and Agudas Israel Housing Association Limited, the first case on the charities’ exception in the Equality Act 2010 to reach the Supreme Court.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP acts for 65% of the top charities in the UK and is recognised for its expertise in governance and regulatory matters as well as mergers and commercial work for charities. 'The range of knowledge and expertise within the Withers team is fantastic'. Alison Paines is well-regarded for her work with healthcare charities. The first-class team regularly advises leading charities in education, arts, sports and the life sciences sector and is also known for its commitment to philanthropy. Chris Priestley advises nationally-significant businesses and individuals working with charities on their CSR and philanthropic initiatives. Paul Hewitt heads the firm’s work for charities on legacy income and trustee disputes. 'The team is great, works incredibly well together and provides a level of confidence in its opinions'. 

Practice head(s):

Chris Priestley; Alison Paines

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hewitt; Meriel Schindler; Amy Carter; Roger Waite


Excellent knowledge of charity law and modern approaches to governance. Responsive and able to tune the approach to the knowledge level of the client, which can be highly variable, without sounding arrogant or condescending‘.

‘Head and shoulders above other firms in technical analysis, quick grasp on issues and working with clients not just for them. Chris Priestley (partner) is well above his peers.  He brings his associates in and never loses track of where his client is.  Chris quickly takes on new briefs and has a great way of taking his clients forward.  His case management is superb (exceptional) and he works brilliantly with other professionals.  He is approachable, considered and has a brilliant mind. Amy Carter (associate) is superb to work with.  Outstanding grasp of complex briefs, including a number that have been challenging and outside of her comfort zone.  A real pleasure to work with – reliable, appropriately challenging and a brilliant manner with clients‘.

Withers stands out for the measured and judicious way it reflects on briefs, legislative change and emerging practice to provide proportionate and dependable advice that brings immediate benefit. Amy Carter in the Charities and Philanthropy team has helped a charity I work with make changes to its constitution in a calm and comprehensive manner, through paying careful attention to the brief and a careful consideration of the institution’s nature and history. Meriel Schindlerhas provided strong assistance while suggesting pragmatic ways to reduce costs through use of an excellent independent consultant‘.

The dual qualified structure which Withers operates works seamlessly for us.  We have a UK Foundation limited by shares (not by guarantee) which is wholly owned by a US Foundation.  Withers is able to resolve issues seamlessly across the jurisdictions, explaining in writing or by phone, spending a little bit more time explaining on the phone so that our team is better apprised of the legal positions.  Roger Waite stands out for being accessible and comprehensible. Roger and the team are also very personable and able to deliver bad news very effectively.  They always explain in such a way that, even when disappointed or irritated,  you know the options of the right things to do and how best to fix the problem(s)‘.

It has a deep and up to date knowledge of the complexities of charity law, and has been well able to advise on some complex proposals I have worked with Chris Priestley and Roger Waite.  I have found them both exceptionally helpful and responsive.  Roger particularly is outstandingly responsive and practical in his outlook, and has also been very helpful in referring me to the right people elsewhere in Withers when needed‘.

The team knows everything there is to know about charity law and the charity sector. Partner Chris Priestley is very good and also just a lovely guy to work with.  Amy Carter, associate, is also very able and helpful’.

‘The lawyers have always provided fast, personable and professional information, expertise and services to our charity. Over the last 18 months, during Covid-19 pandemic, we have needed expert legal services, contracts and advice with a fast response and turnaround; the Withers team has been able to provide that every time with exceptional professionalism. A huge thank you for your help, advice and support to our charity which means that we have been able to offer increased services to our beneficiaries throughout these turbulent times. The level of personal care and dedication from each member of the team is hugely valued. We would particularly like to thank Alison Paines, Roger Waite and Chris Priestley‘.

It has a great deal of experience in charity and trust law and are able to call on experts across other practice areas. The lawyers consider issues thoroughly and provide excellent advice, taking into account any particular client sensitivities or commercial considerations. Alison Paines is excellent at coordinating input from a variety of fee earners and ensuring that advice is joined up. She isn’t afraid to test colleagues if she is not certain that the advice they are giving takes into account all relevant considerations. Alison is able to cut through a great amount of detail and get to the material points on key issues. She is able to summarise complex factual backgrounds succinctly and ask the pertinent questions. Amy Carter is very thorough and has provided thought through and unique solutions to some of the issues we have put to Withers‘.

Key clients

The Arts Council England

NHS Charities Together

The Tate Gallery and the Tate Foundation

Omaze Inc

American School in London Foundation

Galileo Global Education

The Royal British Legion

Masks for NHS Heroes

British Red Cross Society

Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

Work highlights

  • Supported Omaze on all its charity law advice as a major new organisation in charity fundraising in the UK.
  • Continuing to advise the Arts Council England on its role in delivering the Government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.
  • Supported NHS Charities Together through its extraordinary Covid fundraising appeal which, with the help of late Captain Sir Tom Moore, has raised more than £140m to date.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans is recognised for its substantial experience in all areas of charity regulation such as safeguarding, serious incident reporting and all governance matters. It also boasts considerable capabilities in advising on mergers, restructuring and insolvency as well as experience in advising on data protection issues and legacy disputes. Other core areas of expertise  include dealing with investigatory work, coroners’ inquests as well as reputation management and public affairs. Penny Chapman heads the team that includes Jonathan Brinsden who routinely handles cross-border matters, social impact investments and NHS charity regulation. Nicola Evans is another key figure. Simon Weil is now at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brinsden; Nicola Evans; Sarah Williams; Harriet Ainsworth; Alice Unwin


Penny Chapman  – very courteous and supportive in helping me to understand the issues and to provide solutions‘.

Absolute confidence in its knowledge and application of law relating to NHS charities. Good client management both from personal contact and relationship management by the client partner, but also access to learning and other resources.  It is not a ‘profit at all costs’ sort of firm. It is making meaningful attempts at addressing diversity issues in its recruitment and retention. Jonathan Brinsden – highly expert, personable, commercial. Also a helpful Client Partner adding value in calls with other teams outside of Charities and NFPs.  I know I can have a sensible conversation with Jonathan, whether it be about a technical legal point, strategy around a legal issue or on fees and we will reach a position which positively progresses the matter for our charity‘.

We have a complicated international charity structure with a significant income earning component, a financial link to another charity in the United States and few local staff. BDB Pitmans provides an exceptional service in managing these complexities. Sarah Williams is a stand-out person. She is expert legally, organised, highly efficient and wonderfully diplomatic‘.

The Charity relies upon the expert team in this practice to provide sound, commercial advice at a good price and with an ability to respond quickly where needed. The specific knowledge of the Charity itself is invaluable, and we see it as a top member of our panel of solicitors who we will often contact first when advice is required. The entire team that works with us is personable, easy to reach and have become valuable advisors to the Charity. Key member of the team that stands out is Jonathan Brinsden‘.

‘Jonathan Brinsden is very well connected in the charity and not for profit sector. He has a breadth of knowledge and experience which makes his advice valuable. It is always a great pleasure to deal with him‘.

Excellent team and speedily answers. Harriet Ainsworth‘.

The team headed by Jonathan Brinsden is highly knowledgeable about charity law in particular governance. For example it provided excellent advice on how to prepare a modern yet robust Articles of Association and accompanying Regulations. The team is very collaborative and highly responsive. It has been a pleasure to work with it as it makes governance law understandable to the lay person. However, we have also used other members of the firm for commercial advice, property advice and HR advice. They cover a wide range of areas of expertise which means that we only need to deal with one law firm which is very beneficial to an organisation of our size. Jonathan Brinsden and Alice Unwin are both very collaborative and highly responsive.  Friendly and approachable – I would highly recommend them both‘.

‘Sarah Williams has been a huge support to our organisation on multiple occasions, and consistently provides clear, helpful and timely guidance. She has helped us successfully navigate a couple of challenging situations and can be relied upon to provide sensible and professional recommendations in a calm and friendly manner. She has been hugely responsive throughout the course of our working relationship and is always proactive in following up‘.

Key clients

Cancer Research UK

GOSH Children’s Charity

The HALO Trust

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

The Landmark Trust

The Multiple Sclerosis Society

Nuffield Health

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity

The Stroke Association

The London Transport Museum

Make-a-Wish Foundation

Blind Veterans UK

The Vaughan Williams Foundation

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Work highlights

  • Advised the independent trustees of the charity (The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation UK (CIFF)  in the landmark Supreme Court case of Lehtimaki v Cooper, which raised important questions on charity member duties and the Court’s jurisdiction to interfere with the running of charities.
  • Advised Nuffield Health on defending a council’s challenge in the Court of Appeal to the charity’s entitlement to rates relief. The case raises novel questions on the interpretation and application of the charities exemption (worth £2bn pa to the sector).
  • Advised The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center on the key legal, governance and tax considerations of potential jurisdictions (Germany, Israel, the UK and the US) to establish a charity to support a $80-100m memorial project, as well as advising on governance considerations and on developing the international fundraising strategy.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The 'extremely knowledgeable' Sarah Rowley heads the group at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP that continues to represent high-profile national and international charities as well as historic educational institutions, ecclesiastical bodies and military charities. Its advice covers a wide spectrum of matters from the regulatory aspects of charity law and dealing with the Charity Commission through to advising on fundraising, data protection, mergers and acquisitions as well as other issues such as real estate and employment matters. The skilled team is adept too at helping its high-net-worth, family office and corporate clients in the establishment of corporate charitable foundations. Through its Guildford office it routinely helps charities with legacy management issues on both contentious and non-contentious probate matters. The team was bolstered by the addition of Simon Weil from BDB Pitmans.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Rowley

Other key lawyers:

Mike Scott; Simon Weil; Lynn Povey; Penelope Byatt


The Charities Team has taken the time to fully understand the nature of our charities and the complex environment in which we work. The team is excellent at drawing in different expertise as appropriate whilst still focusing on the underlying needs of our organisation and balancing the financial resources we have to spend on external advice. The team is always willing to pick up the phone when we need it and will often provide instant high level advice when we need it. The flexible approach to the way advice is provided across the whole of CRS and the way it is delivered to us as a client is why we value the team at CRS so much‘.

‘We have worked with Sarah Rowley over a number of years and her detailed knowledge of our organisation together with the incredibly practical and clear  advice she provides has made her an invaluable adviser to our charities‘.

The team is knowledgeable and efficient. Sarah Rowley is extremely knowledgeable, but also has an excellent, patient and understanding manner when supporting with Trustee Boards who have a variable range of knowledge and understanding‘.

Charles Russell is a well respected firm but my dealings are with one individual Penny Byatt and her supporting departments. The trust is reasonably large and gives out grants to animal charities. It is a complicated Charity. It needs skill and an intimate knowledge of Charity law and numerous other disciplines from agricultural property to data protection law. Penny manages these disciplines within the firm so the trustees obtain seamless advice‘.

Willingness to engage and provide excellent value inhouse training for our trustees. Sarah Rowley and Lyn Povey –  both are extremely approachable and responsive. They quickly understand our needs as a client and provide pragmatic and clear advice‘.

‘In sync with the client, empathetic and knowledgeable. Good collaborators – work principally with Penny Byatt and occasionally Mike Scott. Penny works hard to understand the business and what makes us unique. Valued the ability to receive quick, well-thought through advice. It has been a tough year for us and CRS has supported us through that‘.

CRS has an excellent charity practice. I always find it very quick to respond to queries and deliver work. The lawyers very swiftly feel like part of the “home team”. Sarah Rowley who leads the team is a first-class lawyer’.

‘Approachable and knowledgeable team in place dealing with a wide range of different issues relating to charities of varying sizes. Sarah Rowley is always approachable and helpful, taking the time to answer questions‘.

Key clients

National Museum of the Royal Navy

National Army Museum

Royal Air Force Museum

Westminster Abbey

Dementia UK


British Computer Society

City & Guilds of London Institute


Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing


Hempsons is a major national health, social care and charity law firm that provides advice across the full spectrum of issues from corporate and commercial matters through to employment and real estate issues. With Ian Hempseed at the helm it is routinely involved in a range of complex and high-value projects and cases. Hempseed is a charity and social enterprise lawyer who has a wide range of experience in commercial, constitutional and governance law. Another core area of focus is acting for many Royal Charter corporations which are charities and dealing with their governance reviews and in particular liaising with the Privy Council to obtain consents to constitutional changes. The team was pleased to add Jon Pearce to its ranks from Bates Wells.

Practice head(s):

Ian Hempseed

Other key lawyers:

Jon Pearce


Focused on the issues and problems faced by its clients and then playing in its legal solutions within that context. Great collaborators and open to investing the time in developing deep; and meaningful partnerships‘.

Key clients

AAGBI Foundation

Age UK North Tyneside

Anchor Trust

Aspens Charities

Autism Plus Limited

Avalon Group, The

Avenues Trust Group, The

Avocet Trust

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

British Home & Hospital for Incurables

British Soc for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Bury Hospice

Cats Protection

Charities Trust

Christians Against Poverty

Christie Charitable Fund, The

Conservation Volunteers, The

Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation

Demelza House Children’s Hospice

DKMS Bone Marrow Donor Centre

Douglas Macmillan Hospice

Energy Institute

European Assoc for Cardio Thoracic Surgery

Harrogate District Hospice Care

Healthcare Management Trust, The

Henshaws Society for Blind People

Int. Fed. Of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.

Lowry Centre Trust

Macmillan Cancer Support

Making Space

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Charity

Maritime Educational Foundation

Movember Europe

Musicians Benevolent Fund

National Childbirth Trust

North West Air Ambulance

North West London Hospitals General Charitable Fund

Outward Bound Trust

Overseas Development Institute

Pure Innovations Limited

ReVitalise Respite Holidays

Royal College of Emergency Medicine, The

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

Royal Exchange Theatre Company

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of GB

Royal Society for Public Health

Sheffield Hospitals Charity

St Gemma’s Hospice Leeds

St George’s Police Children Trust

St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice

Sue Ryder

Trustees of the London Clinic Limited

Wellcome Trust

Wilf Ward Family Trust

Wirral Autistic Society

York Conservation Trust

Yorkshire Cancer Research

Young Foundation, The

Zoological Society of London

Work highlights

  • Advised The Royal College of Emergency Medicine on the successful achievement of a new governance structure at a time when its members were at the forefront of leading the NHS response to Covid-19 in A & E. In line with the Charity Governance Code, this would allow the recruitment of external expertise in specialist areas onto the Board.
  • Advised CXK Limited on its merger with Medway Youth Trust, another charity. The team initially managed the legal due diligence and advised on the heads of terms for what had planned to be a full merger via an acquisition of Medway Youth Trust.
  • Over the last year, it has advised the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) on three international collaboration agreements covering research, philanthropy, developing educational content and clinical guidance and developing clinical training and services

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP frequently advises on very high-value matters with complex international elements. It is known for its advice to wealthy philanthropists from around the world on how to structure their charitable donations (both monetary and in specie). The excellent team under the direction of Ceris Gardner (who has particular expertise in advising on international charity matters) has also been advising on an array of corporate governance issues as well as safeguarding matters. Emma-Jane Weider  primarily advises operating and grant-making charities in the arts and educational sectors and a range of religious and cross-border charities on legal and governance issues. Jennifer Chambers is also well-regarded and Jennifer Emms was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Ceris Gardner

Other key lawyers:

Emma-Jane Weider; Jennifer Chambers; Jennifer Emms; Hannah Blakey; Sophie Wettern


MTG is the go-to place for complex private client advice. Ceris Gardner is one of the world’s leading experts in providing advice to multi-jurisdictional, multi-generational families who need nuanced and complex advice‘.

‘The best of the best. A stellar practice with an equally stellar roll-call of clients. a particular expertise in cross-border and international philanthropy. Ceris Gardner is a titan in the sector, respected by all for her achievements and loved by all for her approachability and kindness. Emma-Jane Wieder stands out at the overlap of tax and philanthropy, with Jennifer Chambers another outstanding expert in this field. Associate Sophie Wettern is a future star, who marries complete thoroughness with first-rate intellectual analysis‘.

Proper knowledge of charity issues, and good working relationship with charities commission. Emma-Jane Weider and Hannah Blakey -available, clear communications, prompt responses‘.

The team of MTG is a pleasure to work with,  it has a deep knowledge of the industry and key developments. In our collaboration they came up with ideas/solutions other UK law firms did not think of. Emma-Jane Weider: she is a top-notch private client and tax lawyer, combined with her knowledge for charities. Jennifer Emms: She is always spot-on, very responsive, understands the facts and advice one is looking for at the time‘.

Smart on both commercial and charitable matters. Emma-Jane Weider, Jennifer Emms‘.

Key clients

Former director/trustee of Kids Company

Work highlights

  • Advised the individual trustee/director of Kids Company in the context of directors’ disqualification proceedings issued against him on the basis of incompetence during his directorship of a prominent children’s charity, which went into insolvent liquidation in August 2015. The Official Receiver brought a court action against those who managed the charity and sought to disqualify him and his co-trustees from acting as directors for a number of years. The judge concluded that disqualification would have been “wholly unwarranted”.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP fields a large ‘helpful and efficient’ team that advises on the full spectrum of charity matters and has the capability to handle large and complex projects under the leadership of Andrew Studd. It acts for some of the biggest operational and grant-making charities in the country and has particular expertise in advising on charity mergers, demergers and the restructuring of charities as well as considerable strength in providing specialist property advice. The group is skilled at supporting charities that are working internationally as well as advising corporate foundations. It is increasingly becoming known for its work with charities in financial difficulties. Chris Rowse and James Sinclair Taylor  are other key members of the team that was pleased to add Pippa Garland to the group from Bates Wells.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Studd

Other key lawyers:

Chris Rowse; James Sinclair-Taylor; Andrew Small ;Carla Whalen; Pippa Garland


RC provides service beyond normal legal advice – coordination for complex projects involving multiple advisors and useful strategic insights. Chris Rowse and Andrew Studd have provided excellent service and advice‘.

‘Good understanding of charity law – cheaper than some of the leading firms. Good understanding of our medical charity. Responsive and collaborative with in-house teams. Good availability to work on matters. Chris Rowse – knowledgeable in charity law, responsive, works to tight timeframes, has experience of different charitable structures. Carla Whalen – good on data protection aspects and innovative in how to make complex data projects work‘.

‘R-C covers all facets of our complex regulatory landscape. The lawyers support us at the key reactive phases when there is a crisis, but primarily they support creatively in ensuring compliance and with the evolution of best practice. All members of the team inspire confidence, and act in a timely and agile manner. We engage with many members of the team. All offer a high level of customer service‘.

The practice has very good charity sector knowledge which it applies in a pragmatic way that balances with the needs of charity. I would recommend them. The individuals we work with have a good knowledge of our organisation and apply that knowledge to our work. They are always supportive and helpful and look at creative solutions to issues‘.

Very approachable and good knowledge and practical advice. Very good rates and value for money. Understands client needs very well. Good experience of dealing with the regulator. Chris Rowse is always very helpful and a pleasure to deal with‘.

As a charity with property holdings, a membership and a Royal Charter, there are considerable complexities on which R-C LLP has been able to advise. The lawyers have been quick and responsive during a challenging (COVID) year, and have assisted particularly with a governance review and follow-up. Our key contacts in the last year have been James Sinclair-Taylor (governance) and Andrew Small (property) who know our charity well and can instantly bring background knowledge and understanding to support a new situation’.

As I have said before, incredibly capable and excellent quality of work and output. Have got me out of a difficult situation. Andrew Studd – very easy to deal with, formidable, incredibly experienced and capable, very good approach to clients and knows how to handle a variety of types, showing necessary strength when needed‘.

‘Highly experienced, recognised the pressures on unpaid trustees and provided a range of flexible options to help manage that. Clear, comprehensive, pragmatic advice and assistance. Andrew Studd – expert, approachable, friendly, very responsive‘.


Key clients

Unicef UK

Breast Cancer Now

Youth Hostel Association (England & Wales)

British Heart Foundation

Anthony Nolan

Quaker Homeless Action

Borough Market

Kick it Out


Voluntary Service Overseas

Work highlights

  • Advised Kick it Out (football’s equality and inclusion organisation) on a major funding and collaboration deal with Sky.
  • Helped longstanding client GroceryAid set up a Covid-19 Fund to help grocery workers deal with the impact of the pandemic.
  • Advised (The Nautical Institute) the global body for maritime professionals on the establishment of an important new charity focused exclusively on improving maritime safety.

Stone King LLP

The charity and social enterprise team at Stone King LLP is particularly noted for its work on purpose-aligned partnerships between charities and public authorities in public services. It is well-known too for its work with educational charities and charities that work with young people. It is also increasingly active in advising livery companies and corporations and it is recommended for its work with military charities as well as heritage, arts and museums. Another pre-eminent area of expertise at the firm is its work with religious and faith organisations and other types of charities such as almshouses and benevolent funds. Stephen Ravenscroft leads the agile team that includes recommended practitioners like Julian Blake, Hannah Kubie, Reema Mathur  and consultant Ann Phillips. The strong national team acts for over 200 of the country’s largest charities.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Ravenscroft

Other key lawyers:

Julian Blake; Hannah Kubie; Reema Mathur; Ann Phillips; Clive Vergnaud


The team is always available, and carefully listens to the problems to be resolved, and provides practical and deliverable solutions. Stephen Ravenscroft considers issues in a sensitive and client facing manner, and brings a wealth of experience. Additionally, I have found the work and contribution of Clive Vergnaud exceptionally thoughtful and based on sound knowledge‘.

Stone King has a national reputation as a centre of excellence across the charity and social enterprise sector founded on exceptional expert teams based in London and the regions backed up by top quality specialists in relevant fields, including education, data protection, disputes, employment and property law‘.

‘Julian Blake – Partner – Charity & Social Enterprise Team – Julian has exceptional expertise in law, governance and procurement combined with a widely respected deep values-led commitment to the charity and social enterprise sector and his clients. In addition he is known nationwide for developing innovative collaborative partnerships for public bodies and social enterprises achieving high social value for communities and high impact public benefit services‘.

We have used Julian Blake for many years as our adviser on renewable energy co-operatives and his advice has been excellent. We now use other partners in Stone King for additional work. Not many firms have expertise in this area, the combination of co-operatives (an unusual entity) and renewable energy, a fairly new technology. Understanding of our rather unusual business, willingness to take on unusual problems and questions, and responsiveness‘.

Particular expertise in charity law in the context of educational trusts. Practical and pragmatic approach to solving problems‘.

Stone King is charity-focused which means that all the advice takes into account issues relating to the charitable status of its clients. Ann Philipps has  been unfailingly supportive -she has always been able to react promptly in a crisis giving practical and focused advice‘.

The team is very experienced in education governance. Customer service is strong and the lawyers will go above and beyond to reassure clients and build strong relationships. The team is experienced in all charity and education law and regulations. We have a yearly review of services and the team is open to feedback. The lawyers review how we have utilised their services and offer revised cost solutions. The lawyers are open to new ideas and out of the box thinking. They work with their clients to find the right solution which can be creative and unique when required. I very much value their time to talk through matters and bounce ideas‘.

‘Julian Blake is our principal partner – he is one of, if not the leading public benefit lawyers in the country.  He’s not only intellectually brilliant but pragmatic and purposeful in his advice’.

Key clients

Catch 22

Save the Children International

National Autistic Society

Haberdashers’ group companies and charities

Royal Society of Medicine, The

Higher Education Statistics Agency

Royal Horticultural Society

HCT Group

Alzheimer’s Society

Changing Faces

Energy4All Ltd

Work highlights

  • Analysing Trinity House’s (1685!) Charter and advising on how it could hold meetings and voting by electronic means, given the circumstances of the pandemic.
  • Advising MJT Securities Limited founder of Toomey Charitable Trust on the registration as a charity of the Trust, securing recognition of the charitability of an imaginative interpretive conversion of an existing scheme, applying a commercial business methodology to a particular social issue requiring innovation.
  • Assisted The Samuel Courthauld Trust with various matters including securing an important gift for the collection – the client holds the collection for the Courtauld Gallery, the art museum in Somerset House on the Strand in London.


VWV has a large team of specialist lawyers across its offices in London, Bristol, Watford and Birmingham that advises more than 1000 charities of all types and sizes. It specialises in advising health and social care charities and acts for more than 30 universities. Another area of expertise is advising faith charities and acting for independent schools. It has a thriving academies and further education practice too. The team also routinely advises wealthy individuals on their philanthropic strategies and provides specialist support to charities on all aspects of safeguarding. Under the joint leadership of Con Alexander and Paul Voller it is increasingly advising on social investment matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Voller; Con Alexander


I represent a small charity. We had a potential problem and needed legal advice. This was provided promptly and helpfully by VWV. A single meeting allowed us to fully understand our issues and this was backed up by a helpful and understandable report. I would use VWV for similar advice in future‘.

The lawyers are very knowledgeable on Charities law. They are forward, thinking, knowledgeable and helpful’.

‘Paul Voller has extensive experience in advising charities and I found his advice to be measured and well thought through given the circumstances‘.

Key clients

Board of Trustees of the National Gallery (The)

British Library


Centrepoint Soho

Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs)

City & Guilds of London Institute

London Symphony Orchestra

Nuffield Foundation (The)

Nuffield Health

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal British Legion

Work highlights

  • Advised a trading charity in connection with security for CLBILS loan facilities exceeding £70m.
  • Advised a university in connection with the nature and extent of its obligations in relation to a substantial gift of permanently endowed funds.
  • Advised an educational charity on the possible structure and arrangements for the merger of a UK based charity with a US charity.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP represents over 1500 charity clients operating across all sectors such as education, health, housing, arts, culture, recreation and religion. Clients range from new entrepreneurial and philanthropic start-ups to long established  charities some of which are “household” names. Alison Talbot and Joanna Bussell co-lead the department that advises on all aspects of charity law including legal models, trustee recruitment and selection and governance. It is also skilled at advising on other issues such as compliance, expansion, diversification, mergers and group structures. The firm is renowned too for its work on complex legacy issues relating to gifts left to charities in wills and has particular expertise in the area of the transformation of public sector services into charitable organisations.

Practice head(s):

Alison Talbot ; Joanna Bussell

Other key lawyers:

Philip Collins; Darren Oliver


Significant expertise and experience supporting charities and not for profit. Deep understanding of law affecting charities and the way that charities need to balance risk and reward. Alison Talbot provides clear, concise advice with the client in mind‘.

Alison Talbot and Philip Collins are outstanding lawyers and two very safe pairs of hands‘.

I regard Winckworth Sherwood as the pre-eminent firm for ecclesiastical law. The advice I need is often niche, and I know I can rely on first-rate advice from the firm. I principally work with Darren Oliver, whose technical knowledge is excellent. He is both thorough and practical’.

Good pragmatic tailored advice. Thoroughly personable and Darren Oliver is ready to go the extra mile in finding sensible solutions‘.

Key clients

Christ Church, Oxford

A technology-based start-up community interest company and associated charity

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden Trust

Artists’ General Benevolent Institution

Knepp Wildland Foundation

Staffordshire Cricket Limited

Camden Highline

Burlington Magazine

Diocesan Board of Finance

Anglican Religious Community

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP has a large and specialist charities and social economy team that advises national and international charities. It has particular expertise in advising on charity governance and frequently works with faith and health based charities as well as heritage charities. The nimble team routinely advises corporate foundations too. It is skilled at advising major national grant makers in addition to grant recipients and often advises on community led housing initiatives. Working with students union is a growing area of work for the team.  Department head Malcolm Lynch advises on a wide range of charity law matters in addition to having considerable experience in social investment and impact finance matters. Sylvie Nunn is recognised for her work on charity governance in particular. Laura Moss and Fiona Wharton were promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Slyvie Nunn; Elizabeth Wilson; Peter Parker; Nat Johnson; Laura Moss; Fiona Wharton; Clare Lawrence; Ian Potter


‘Wrigleys’ strength is its focus on charities, it is one of the leading firms and has strength in depth. I would highlight: Clare Lawrence – a proactive charity law partner whose clients are obviously loyal and reliant on her advice‘.

Understanding the client. Speed in understanding the client’.

‘Excellent support for charity and community led housing, particularly on structures and different models. Always works flexibly with us and has a can-do attitude to sometimes difficult challenges‘.

We believe the strength of this firm is its knowledge of Charity law and its dedication to us as a client. We feel the lawyers are a group of people who really look out for our interests and are very willing to go the extra mile for us. We feel that we will always get good advice and there is a real relationship of trust and mutual understanding of the ethos of our Charity’.

‘We have worked mainly with Elizabeth Wilson and Nat Johnson and have found them easy to work with and very competent and professional. We feel our Charity is very safe under their guidance. Our relationship with Elizabeth and Natalie is friendly but very professional and we feel they always have our best interests at heart. I would be very happy to recommend this firm to anyone who was seeking a good Charity law firm‘.

‘They give a damn. They make the effort to understand the organisation. They bill sensibly. Fiona Wharton and Elizabeth Wilson and Ian Potter feel more like colleagues than suppliers‘.

Wrigleys provides an excellent service and does not overcharge for the services it provides‘.

Key clients

Power to Change Trust

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

Hope for Justice

The Burton Constable Foundation

Youth Futures Foundation

Cambridge University Students’ Union and Cambridge Graduate Union

Leeds Community Homes

Virgin Money Foundation

Overdale Trustee Limited

Society of the Sacred Mission Europe

Work highlights

  • Advised on the structuring of Power to Change’s Covid-19 Emergency Trading Income Support Scheme. This was a £27m package of support to provide grants to community businesses to contribute towards loss of traded income as a result of the pandemic.
  • Reviewing, negotiating and finalising the main funding and property arrangements required to enable Eureka!, the national children’s museum, to develop a sister museum on the Wirral.
  • Advising on a restructure of Hope for Justice and Retrak to put Hope for Justice in place as the sole member of Retrak, and preparing a group agreement for the new structure.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

The charities team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is known for its work with faith-based charities; national and international charity work (particularly with social care charities) and on the financing for charities (through grant work, social investment and secured lending). Dominic Curran leads the group that acts for several hundred charities and acts for 12 of the top 15 third sector residential care providers. In addition four of its lawyers are approved as Interim Managers by the Charity Commission and it also regularly acts for ethical lending banks. Anna Dabek is skilled at advising charities on a wide range of complex employment issues.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Curran

Other key lawyers:

Anna Dabek; John Wearing; Sarah Tomlinson; Esther Campsall


‘The team we deal with is really helpful, and pleasant to deal with. They talk in plain English rather than legalese. The main individual we deal with is Dominic Curran. He is helpful, friendly and efficient’.

‘The key strength of the team is its breadth of understanding of the charity sector and consistent approach to offering specialist advice regardless of the size of the charity. This reflects the firm’s commitment to being a social purpose firm. The lawyers are driven by being a factor in changing lives, not commercial gain. This doesn’t in any way detract from the quality of the advice given. Sarah Tomlinson – delivers robust advice and is prepared to challenge and get the detail right to deliver the best outcome. Esther Campsall – consistently hardworking and conscientious approach. She really gets us and delivers excellent and timely advice‘.

Anthony Collins is the only one I know that measures its social impact, which is important to charity clients. I feel confident using the firm as it has in-depth knowledge of social care, housing and other charity issues. The lawyers have been proactive and flexible in suggesting a virtual secondment. John Wearing – responds super-fast and has a great knowledge of social care‘.

‘A talented team offering full-service advice and assistance on all aspects of charities/not-for-profit law and procedure‘.

Key clients



Kent Wildlife Trust

Fareshare Midland

Charity Commission

National Care Forum

Key Provider of live-in care services across Europe

Ecology Building Society

Health and Social Care Provider

St Basil’s

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Mind in drafting and negotiating a partnership agreement with the television channel ITV. This partnership was part of the “ITV Campaign for Mental Wellness”.
  • Supported Kent Wildlife Trust in respect of drafting conservation covenants, which will allow the Trust to register Local Land Charges against plots of land. The Trust can begin protecting farmland as soon as the Environmental Bill is passed.
  • Appointed as interim managers of charities by the Charity Commission to deal with certain concerns the Commission may have in relation to the governance of a charity.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP acts for some of the largest charities, not-for-profit and social enterprise organisations in the UK alongside some smaller local charities. With offices in London, Thames Valley, the South Coast and Wales, the team is well-equipped to advise on a range of complex issues from governance and safeguarding advice to grant making and securitisation. Other areas of expertise include advising on the creation of or amendments to Royal Charters as well as advising on joint ventures and collaborative working arrangements between charities and third parties. Ben Brice leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Ben Brice

Other key lawyers:

Kirsteen Hook


‘A good sized provincial firm offering quality advice for the Charity sector. Ben Brice was really good to deal with.   Very approachable.  Responded quickly’.

Very easy to talk to, billing was regular and kept us regularly up to date with fees and did not exceed the agreed fee without contacting us‘.

The team is impressively responsive with replies to emails and calls being provided expeditiously. As a consequence we are able to be agile and responsive in commercial matters, which invariably means obtaining the best results quickly. Very approachable team. We have no issues with picking up the telephone to discuss a matter. Always friendly and helpful and able to update you immediately with current state of play on a particular matter, notwithstanding the number of other matters they are dealing with. Great link up between estates and property litigation teams. You can rest assured that your matter is in safe hands from beginning to end, across the two contentious and non-contentious fields. In depth knowledge of landlord and tenant law and always up to speed with new developments relevant to our business‘.

‘In regard to the application of relevant Charity Law it demonstrated in depth understanding. The company had been recommended to us by a friend/contact of ours who also is a qualified solicitor. Kirsteen Hook was our main solicitor, until maternity leave, and she always responded promptly and helpfully‘.

‘The team is technically knowledgeable and understands the HE sector‘.

Key clients


The Methodist Church

The British Red Cross Society

The Big Issue Foundation

Association for Project Management

Girls Friendly Society

Pilgrims’ Friend Society

The Mary Rose Trust

Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre

Langley House Trust

Age Concern Newbury & District

The Ebico Trust for Sustainable Development

National Counselling Society

Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation (DRWF)

Project Turn-Over

Sailors’ Society

Response Organisation


Nekton Foundation

Various Oxford Colleges

Work highlights

  • Advised the former trustee of a high profile charity in connection with statutory inquiry to ensure fair and accurate representation of facts published in inquiry report.
  • Advised Girls Friendly Society on the successful application for release of permanent endowment funds held by subsidiary trust to enable implementation of long term fundraising strategy.
  • Advising Pilgrims’ Friend Society in connection with transfer of engagements from a registered society including property forming part of an independent living scheme.


Fieldfisher has been busy recently acting for a number of prestigious clients on some high profile charity matters and projects. Graeme Nuttall OBE is known for his expertise in the promotion of the use of mutual and social enterprises to transform public services. Neil Palmer advises a wide range of public and regulatory bodies, central government departments, not-for-profit bodies and agencies in the UK and the US. In particular, Palmer acts for a number of social enterprises in the health sector. Penelope Wotton is now at Birketts LLP.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Nuttall; Neil Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Ellson


The lawyers are very professional but also extremely friendly and easy to work with. They have all worked extremely hard to communicate effectively with our deaf clients and represent them to the highest standard. We are always working together to improve our partnership‘.

‘Unique combination of skills/expertise across professional regulation, public sector restructuring, tax and charity law. Neil Palmer – very calm and can do, and responsive to fast-paced change in our project; Sarah Ellson – hugely knowledgeable about our business and governance requirements so able to translate advice so it fits our needs exactly‘.

Everyone we have dealt with has been responsive, knowledgeable and superlative in their support‘.

Key clients

Royal College of Physicians

BBC Children in Need


Access Social Care (Mencap)

National Deaf Children’s Society

Just for Kids Law

Young Enterprise

UK Biobank

3D Crowd


Body and Soul

University of Manchester

British Museum

Royal Academy of Dance

Work highlights

  • Acting as longstanding advisers to Royal College of Physicians (RCP), a distinguished medical college established through Royal Charter by Henry VIII just over 500 years ago. It has been heavily involved in advising the RCP on the property and fit out work for the Spine, a new purpose-built office in Liverpool.
  • Acting for FareShare – it is the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste – saving good food from going to waste and redistributing it to frontline charities. The firm has taken on a number of pro bono matters for FareShare, building their capacity, sustainability, and supporting them to further meet the needs of communities across the UK
  • Continued to advise the British Museum as they have proceeded with the development of their new out of London storage and education facility as well as helping the Museum with their day today property matters. Recently the firm also acted for the British Museum and the other museums with whom it shares storage facilities near the big Olympia development site, and successfully overturned a planning approval in connection with the Olympia site

Forsters LLP

The charities and philanthropy team at Forsters LLP forms part of the firm’s private wealth practice and provides charity advice to a range of clients such as operational and grant-making charities, public bodies and individuals seeking to develop their philanthropic plans.  It has an established track record of providing charity and tax law advice to wealthy clients in the context of donations to and the establishment of charities in the UK and elsewhere. Head of team Neasa Coen has considerable experience of social impact investments. Fiona Smith is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Neasa Coen

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Smith

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP continues to be instructed by a number of well-known new and existing charity clients on a diverse range of charity law matters. Under the leadership of David Scott and Colin Howes, it advises corporate foundations, media-related fundraising charities, subsidised arts organisations and high-net-worth-individuals on their personal philanthropy. It is also well-placed to advise charities on mergers, reorganisations and other corporate transactions and is skilled at handling issues where clients face huge public scrutiny by working with its reputation management team.

Practice head(s):

David Scott; Colin Howes

Other key lawyers:

May Delaney; Katerina Capras


It has deep expertise in not-for-profit activity – we have worked with H&L on a range of issues (charity re-structuring and objects, managing relationships with the Charity Commission, major donor/commercial agreements, trademarking, HR advice and strategy support), in both formal and informal capacities. The service and relationship that we have received is high-quality, timely and effective – the team at H&L is always available and supportive – in many cases we present a problem to them and they are quickly able to identify solution options with supporting expertise. We also value the philanthropic contribution that H&L offers to our charity, which spans a number of areas‘.

Our primary interface is Colin Howes – who is a key, trusted stakeholder for our organisation. His advice and support is highly-valued by our charity’s leadership team and our trustees.  Colin’s approach starts and ends with the relationship, and how best he can serve our charity’s objectives, from which the legal strategy and work then flows. I always feel that he takes into consideration the entirety of our situation, never focusing on specific legal points. The other quality that I value in Colin, having worked with him for several years, is his consistent and positive development of junior staff’.

May Delaney helpful and proactive. Colin Howes – intellectually extremely able and a joy to work with‘.

‘Very customer focused, the lawyers go the extra mile to support clients. The expertise provided on amending our Articles of Association was invaluable. Katerina Capras guided us through the entire process step by step- we could not have managed this without her advice and excellent support!‘.

A very responsive team with creative solutions to client problems. The team works hard to support clients at every stage of the process and is transparent on fees. May Delaney has always been an excellent resource for clients. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail and forward thinking approach has solved many a tricky problem for clients‘.

Very good and capable. Has helped to save the day on one case which was difficult and we had to deal with challenging third parties. I am profoundly impressed and grateful for the support and professionalism. A great team to work with. May Delaney – associate. I really value her experience and quality of work. Hardworking, sees the bigger picture. Commercial. Committed‘.

‘Outstanding, open, honest and direct. Fully up to date technically and digitally. Engaged and committed. Every one is an outstanding communicator‘.

Harbottle & Lewis for its expertise in the Charity sector and because of  the excellent existing relationship with the firm ( Media ). H&L is always keen to show willing in accommodating the client‘.

Key clients

The Wigmore Hall

Screen Academy Foundation

The Talent Fund

Virgin Unite

Film London

Make My Money Matter

Dance Umbrella

Theatr Clwyd Trust Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Wigmore Hall on the its appointment as corporate trustee of a charitable trust.
  • Advising Theatr Clwyd Trust on the transfer of all of the arts activities and operations associated with Theatr Clwyd from Flintshire County Council to a newly incorporated charity.
  • Advised Virgin Unite on grants and grant agreements, the relationship between the English charity and associated overseas entities and board governance.

Hunters Law LLP

Hunters Law LLP has an experienced team that acts for a broad range of charities, schools, sports clubs and humanitarian organisations as well as other bodies such as trade unions and not-for-profit organisations across the charity sector. It advises on the full spectrum of issues that face charities. Dominik Opaliński has considerable expertise in safeguarding matters. Paul Almy routinely guides on sensitive employment issues and disputes and has considerable experience too in diverse areas such as care homes and Royal Charter companies. Wilfrid Vernor-Miles advises charities on all aspects of charity formation, regulation and administration.

Practice head(s):

Paul Almy; Dominik Opaliński

Other key lawyers:

Wilfrid Vernor-Miles


The Charities and Not-for-Profit team at Hunters is extremely experienced having represented a large number of charities and religious organisations for decades. The team covers the whole spectrum of advice that charities need, from tax issues all the way through to handling the litigation and dispute resolution problems that such institutions face in the present day and age. This is a bespoke team of lawyers for a specialist service and those that I have dealt with have great client-handling skills‘.

James Vernor-Miles has a wealth of experience in providing advice across the whole spectrum of charity law and is a skilled adviser who has sound judgment. Dominik Opalinski is in constant demand in relation to issues pertaining to safeguarding issues and has a substantial case-load dealing with child welfare matters. This involvement extends to claims brought against charitable institutions both in this jurisdiction and abroad’. 

‘Dominik Opanlinski is currently involved in setting up a very important alternative dispute resolution scheme in East Africa to enable claims of misconduct by a charitable organisation to be adjudicated there. This has necessitated delicate approaches involving the Chief Justice of one of the East African countries where misconduct by a representative of a charity has allegedly taken place. Devising and establishing this scheme has required a considerable amount of inventive planning and the production on a structure within which the Adjudicators will operate. All this Dominik Opalinski has achieved with great diplomatic skill and energy. The scheme he has devised may well prove to be a standard for other countries in Africa where religious institutions have been operating and which wish to continue their mission in Africa‘.

Good charity knowledge. Good relationship with partner Paul Almy‘.

‘Hunters is a friendly, niche firm which takes care to look after its clients’ interests. It has a traditional approach but refreshingly modern ways of working. Dominik Opalinski is an enthusiast for the law, the Catholic faith, charities and his clients and a strong feeling against injustice. He is never cynical or bored’.

Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors

The Churches and Charities team at Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors is renowned for its work with churches and religious orders and has also been working with various Islamic charities. The agile team now represents a wide range of social and charitable bodies from the arts sector as well as preservation and conservation organisations in addition to campaigning and medical research bodies. Gerald Kidd heads the department. Alexa Beale leads the strong charity property group. Michele Price is another known name for her work on diverse issues such as serious incident reporting and major safeguarding cases.

Practice head(s):

Gerald Kidd

Other key lawyers:

Alexa Beale; Michele Price; Christopher Perkins; Andrew Price


‘PWW is unique because it is  a small firm with a personal feel and competitive pricing but with an extremely high level of expertise. Gerald Kidd and Alexa Beale are both technically brilliant and extremely personable. Andrew Price is a rising star‘.

The people I worked with at PWW were all no fuss and practical. They avoided the mystic that some firms relish. Andrew Price was a pleasure to work with – good knowledge, a sense of humour and very responsive‘.

‘We really enjoy working with the team at PWW – we particularly appreciated that the team  can quickly introduce us to different parts of the business (property, conflict resolution). Chris Perkins is a very competent and helpful solicitor who is always available for us‘.

What I like about Pothecary Witham Weld is that it is a practice where you feel you are talking to a team of people who actually know us and our charity. It has a very personal feel about it and is not some anonymous conglomerate. If I am seeking legal advice in one area it is very easy to get advice from another colleague who has another area of expertise‘.

I valued being treated with kindness and respect by partner Michele Price, who provided me with professionalism and (unusually sensitive) hands-on attention when I needed it, which often meant during unsocial hours, for which I was extremely grateful because the situation I was in was so stressful. I was very grateful that she held to her original ‘quotation’ for the work she did for me, despite working many more hours to secure the best result for me than we had expected. It was altogether both one of the worst experiences of my life, and also the best experience I have ever had working with a solicitor’.

The PWW team not only has an up-to-date grasp of property and charity law, but also has a good understanding of our context and background. This contextual knowledge and good working relationship is the product of many years of reliable and efficient service. All members of the team are friendly, approachable and readily accessible at all times. As a team they work well together to address our varying and often complex needs. Due to the nature of cases, this often involves collaboration across different departments and specialities as well as liaising with other organisations. As an organisation, we have confidence in the advice we receive from PWW as a firm and those individuals who supply it to us‘.

‘The PWW Team is clearly efficient and a highly capable team. However, in addition to this, the lawyers are also friendly and easy approachable – this is paramount in our context and has been especially valuable during the last 12 months. All members of the PWW are competent and professional and show a real care and concern for the cases with which they deal. In particular we would like to commend the following individuals for their valued support: Gerald Kidd, Christopher Perkins, Andrew Price‘.

‘As a charity and registered provider, this practice meets our needs in relation to property and lending transactions. We work with Chris Perkins who provides an excellent service‘.

Key clients

Baptist Union of Wales

Methodist Church in GB

Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches

National social housing provider (youth and young people)

Food Foundation

Residential care home provider in north of England

Methodist Independent Schools Trust

International relief organisation

Grant-making maritime charity

Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK

Work highlights

  • Advised an institutional charity client on allegations of historic abuse
  • Represented a charity trustee in relation to a restitution claim bought by the Charity Commission for £750k
  • Advised a group of residents form a charity in connection with the transfer of ancient woodland from a national housing developer.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a specialist and niche charities practice that has an established reputation for its sector expertise in education, health and care as well as religion. The group has an emerging practice in safeguarding, governance and regulatory investigations.  It is well-equipped to handle matters nationally through its various offices in the UK and internationally through its US links. The team’s experience covers advising religious charities including Jewish community organisations. Emma Moody and Jo Coleman are key members of the department.

Practice head(s):

Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:

Jo Coleman


‘Extensive industry knowledge and practical solutions to issues. Pragmatic and solutions focused. Incredibly friendly team who are very approachable, I mainly deal with Jo Coleman and find her very easy to work with and also very friendly too, which makes a real difference when needing to contact her. When she has provided training to our Board members, they often feedback on how interesting she can make the topic of charity governance law!’.

WBD has been flexible, cost effective and consistently delivered high quality advice to our team. The lawyers have managed cost well due to limited charity resources but the quality of the advice has improved our regulatory relationships, contract management, employment practices and financing. Emma Moody has given us balanced and pragmatic support on all areas of charity law and regulation, while acting as client liaison for the wider firm. She has ensured a prompt response on all matters, managed cost and spent time building both relationships and a deep understanding of our business. She is a trusted adviser and her opinion and advice are highly valued by both the management team and the Board‘.

We are a registered Charity and therefore require specialist charity law advice. This specialism is very strong in the firm. We work mainly with Jo Coleman who is a charity specialist. She is very clear, very articulate and knowledgeable and we have complete confidence that she will protect our best interests. Her advice maintains complete integrity with the law and is very thorough. Her communication style is simple and very direct. She has worked hard to gain a lot of insight into our organisation‘.

‘The practise’s professionalism and accessibility has always ensured that the team has been available to provide current and up to date advice and support across a range of issues involving several areas of their practise. It has been useful to have a partner as our point of contact and to coordinate the collaboration across the various practise areas.  Jo Coleman’s professionalism and accessibility have been impressive, as has been her capacity to understand our needs and practically support these‘.

‘The team is very experienced and provides quick, practical advice on all aspects of charity law. We have very high regard for Jo Coleman for her ability to provide quick and practical advice on all aspects of charity law‘.

‘Jo Coleman is an outstanding professional who has our full trust. She is our go-to person when we need legal advice as her experience and knowledge of the charity sector are unmatched. She has provided support for us over many years. She is also a highly engaging speaker who takes great pains to present the reports she provides to board meetings and induction for our trustees in a clear, informative style which is very accessible for non-experts, but at the same time combining this accessibility with the full authority of legal representative as the situation demands. Her expertise has guided us safely through many different concerns over the years‘.


Key clients


Which? / Consumers’ Association

BBC Children in Need

National Trust

Katie Piper Foundation

United Synagogue

Humankind Charity

We Are With You (formerly Addaction)

Parkinsons UK

The Dogs Trust

St Paul’s Cathedral

The Royal Agricultural Society

Work highlights

  • Continuing to support BBC Children in Need with a variety of legal matters and have enjoyed supporting them in their legal arrangements around the “Big Night In” which was the headline public fundraising event of the summer.
  • Works with Which? the Consumers’ Association to implement the recommendations of the governance review and is currently supporting the work of a working party led by the new Chair of the CA, into ensuring the decisions reserved to the Council of Trustees is adequate to ensure the effective and efficient oversight of the charity and to discharge legal duties.
  • Registered Virgin Money Foundation in Scotland with the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator as the Charity expands its activities in Scotland and embarks on fundraising campaigns.

Druces LLP

The team at Druces LLP, led by consultant Richard Monkcom, comprises lawyers from a range of disciplines bringing together specialisms in taxation, employment, corporate and commercial as well as property and litigation alongside its considerable expertise in charity law. It has developed a particular specialism in advising clients on constitutional matters, commercial and publishing agreements as well as taxation issues for the not-for-profit sector. The group acts for more than 60 charities and also works with a number of leading independent schools, religious orders and City Livery companies. Helen Freely often advises new charities in their early years.

Practice head(s):

Richard Monkcom

Other key lawyers:

Helen Freely; Caroline Cropley


‘The team has great experience over a wide range of areas within charity and not-for-profit law. The lawyers work within the UK and internationally. Richard Monkcom has huge experience and is practical and sensible in his advice. He is also friendly and helpful.’

‘Caroline Cropley is knowledgeable, efficient, sensible and easy to deal with.’

‘Excellent team. Very professional advice. Great availability and promptness in response. Helen Freely an excellent, competent and efficient’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP often acts for charities, NGOS, foundations and social enterprises as well as multinational corporate clients on all aspects of their charitable and philanthropic activities. There is frequently an international dimension to its work. The practice is regularly instructed to advise on taxation and governance issues and it also provides disputes and reputation management advice to its local and international charity clients. Another area of expertise is advising charities in public interest interventions in judicial review cases. Richard Norridge heads the 'truly remarkable', 'very knowledgeable' and 'talented' team. Michael Hunt was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Richard Norridge

Other key lawyers:

Silke Goldberg; Michael Hunt; Rebecca Perlman; Matteo Yoon


HSF’s charities and not-for-profit practice is unique in having a really top-flight charities practice but experience working with small and start-up charities and NGOs, which gives it all-round experience which is unparalleled.  The lawyers were also able to draw in experience from other strong areas, such as dispute resolution and the Africa practice group, in order to give a depth of expertise across the board whilst advising on the establishment of a new charity.  There is excellent team working, use of technology and flexibility on fees.  We got a full HSF service despite being far from a top paying client.  We could not have wished for a better service from the team‘.

Richard Norridge was the perfect partner – providing guidance and reassurance when required, but allowing the associates freedom to deliver the work effectively and use their initiative.  The associate we worked with – Matteo Yoon was brilliant: hardworking, bright, easy to deal with, and clearly committed.  The involvement of Rebecca Perlman, with her experience of Africa, was priceless, as she really understood the context and provided insights which allowed us to cut through some problematic issues.  Rebecca Perlman was recently appointed to run the HSF environmental, social and governance practice in the UK/US/EMEA area, based on her experience in the charities and impact investment field.  She is perhaps the single most impressive solicitor I have ever worked with and will soon be a partner, I am sure‘.

The team has excellent insight into how a not-for-profit or charity functions and the needs of small start up social enterprises like my own. The lawyers have been able to guide me on how to minimise my liabilities whilst allowing me to set my own agenda and path. I often approach the team with quite random questions about how something should operate and it is able to draw on its experience with other similar organisations so I can understand what my options are. Quick, enthusiastic and supportive. It feels like an extension of my own team. I have been particularly impressed by Matteo Yoon and Rebecca Perlman‘.

‘It’s a really solid practice with specialists across all areas we need. Everyone has a strong practical focus along with good ethics and common sense.  Useful, in highly technical work‘.

HSF has a really strong commitment to pro bono and it is very collaborative in its approach.  It is working with us on a number of programmes and has bought in its skills and expertise of its corporate clients to support our social entrepreneurs. Rebecca Perlman and Matteo Yoon are our main contacts at HSF and they are superb.  Rebecca is clear-sighted, strategic and will ruthlessly pursue goals for the good of her pro bono clients.  Matteo is incredibly helpful, supportive and brilliant at turning work around quickly and competently‘.

The team came to the project relatively late on, got up to speed very quickly and was well resourced. The lawyers were hugely collaborative throughout the process, of particular benefit was the ability to work between the Madrid and London offices seamlessly. They came up with a unique solution which is innovative and is perfect fit for our needs.  Rebecca Perlman for her clarity of thought and clear communications. Its presence gave our stakeholders a lot of confidence during meetings‘.

‘HSF’s commitment to the ESG/ impact sector is impressive and first-rate. Its support for us on a wide range of topics (including corporate, corporate governance, charities law, trademarks) has been high-class and invaluable. Very impressive.  Rebecca Perlman, in particular, shows a clear long term commitment to the sector, She leads the team dedicated to us extremely well – offering a significant amount of support. She also seems to be well connected and doing a very good job in helping HSF develop its activities in this area‘.

The wide reach of the firm -it is able to bring resources and expertise from so many different fields- this is a great strength. One individual, in particular, is outstanding: Silke Goldberg is just so generous in her time, willing to connect us to anyone potentially helpful and open the offices of the firm to our use for events and meetings‘.




Key clients

Big Issue Invest Trust (“BIIT”)

Stone Family Foundation (“SFF”)

Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Investment Fund II LP

The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs (“UnLtd”)

Equally Ours

The Big Issue Group

UNHCR, the Refugee Agency

Big Issue Invest

Surrey Docks Farm


Anti Tribalism Movement

University of Makeni (“UNIMAK”)

United Kingdom for UNHCR (“UK4UNHCR”)

The Lumos Foundation

Hire Hand

Process C-19

Danish Refugee Council

Queer Britain Museum Limited (“Queer Britain”)

Work highlights

  • Advised Big Issue Invest Trust (“BIIT”) on the English charity law considerations of providing significant grant funding to a social enterprise not registered as a charity, the key considerations for trustees in connection with the donation, and the terms of the grant agreement covering the same. This is a key area of focus for and scrutiny by the Charity Commission and required in-depth analysis of the potential risks regarding private benefit. This was the first grant issued by the Trust since its restructure.
  • Advised Stone Family Foundation (“SFF”) regarding the permissibility under charity law of the charity making impact investments via debt, equity or convertible instruments. The team carried out an extensive review of SFF’s approach to social investments to ensure compliance with English charity law. This involved reviewing and amending transaction documents, as well as SFF’s social investment strategy and related policies.
  • Continuing to advise UNCHR and its UK charity in relation to the ground-breaking MADE51 initiative, which empowers refugee artisans though social enterprise by connecting them and their artisanal goods with global markets; enabling refugees to use their skills and heritage to earn a living in the countries in which they find themselves displaced. The work on this has continued to include complex advice on corporate structure, intellectual property and refugees’ right to work, as well as the development of a legal and business capacity building toolkit to support the MADE51 social enterprises, giving them the acumen and resources they need to effectively set up and manage their MADE51 product line. The work on the project has previously won the Exemplary Partnership Award from the Public Interest Law Network in late 2019, was commended by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyers Awards in late 2019 and was also commended by The Lawyer as part of the Lawyer Awards in late 2019.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams

Howard Dellar leads the specialist 'professional and friendly' team of charity lawyers at Lee Bolton Monier-Williams that advises a wide range of not-for-profit groups from many faith organisations (in particular the Muslim community) and secular organisations. Its involvement in communities across the country ranges from churches and schools, thousing associations, social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organisations. The 'efficient and effective' team advises charities of all kinds and at various stages of their lifecycle. Khalid Sofi is recognised for his work with charities that are linked with Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and the Buddhist communities.

Practice head(s):

Howard Dellar

Other key lawyers:

Khalid Sofi; Ian Blaney; Lina Rodriguez; Ella Westby; Jane Grenfell


‘Lee Bolton Monier Williams has a diverse team that has a solid knowledge of the charity sector. We have worked with Khalid Sofi for many years, and his outstanding knowledge in the charity sector coupled with the years of experience gained from working with Muslim Charities makes it a stand out for us‘.

LBMW provides a wide spectrum of services without diluting the in-depth expertise of any particular area. This allows for a one-stop-shop for all legal services where seamless communication and referrals between areas of expertise and partners allow for all aspects of one’s needs to be met. LBMW excels at maintaining relationships by instilling confidence through the quality of its work and advice which is thorough, timely, well reasoned and comprehensive’.

‘Khalid Sofi – has unparalleled knowledge of the charity sector (and especially the faith segment therein) and interactions with the Regulators. Khalid’s depth of knowledge and nuanced understanding of the regulatory landscape are acknowledged as an asset by faith sector charities. Khalid is adept at realigning charity governance and charity structures to work and be compliant in what are currently challenging times. Khalid can help overcome very substantive challenges through identifying a clear road-map and assisting in achieving a solution. Lina Rodriguez – exceptionally efficient and adept in all matters pertaining to conveyance of property. Manages ambitious deadlines and complex negotiations with consummate ease and reliability‘.

‘The team at LBMW is very professional and has great expertise in dealing with the charity legal matters and its support is brilliant. The lawyers were able to help deal in our legal case and help to resolve it successfully. We highly recommend LBMW for any charity related legal issues assistance. The Team at LBMW is highly professional. Especially, Mr Khalid Sofi is brilliant in providing the advice and case handling of the matters up to conclusion. We are really thankful to Mr Sofi for his brilliant services‘.

‘The lawyers “go the extra mile” and ensure they have in depth knowledge of the charity, its Trustees, workforce and volunteers. Howard Dellar is Chair of our Trustees. He is always an exemplary Chair. He brings knowledge, patience and a sense of humour to every Trustees’ Meeting. He has continued with the same professional manner throughout meetings being held remotely‘.

We do appreciate the varied skills and knowledge of the partners of LBMW. The lawyers take the trouble to get to know us and our particular needs. I find that the solicitors who act for us always take the time and trouble to understand our position as fully as possible. Ian Blaney has provided expert advice with methodical comprehension and genuine warmth. At every stage I have had confidence that he would accurately explain the different options and ensure we were well positioned to make informed decisions‘.

‘The team at LBMW is very knowledgeable and experienced in the Charity sector. The lawyers have a unique set of expertise normally not available at other firms who do not specialise in working with the charity and ecclesiastical sector. The partners we work with have in depth knowledge of the Charity sector as well working with the Charity Commission in resolving legal issues and matters‘.

‘I want to give a special mention of Khalid Sofi (Partner) and also Ella Westby (Solicitor), both of whom I have interacted with and met on several occasions and are just amazing people to deal with. There is no nonsense talk, they are always succinct, to-the-point and get to the crux of our legal issues quickly and efficiently‘.




Key clients

The Ozanne Foundation

Bishopsland Educational Trust

Muslim Charity

The Mowgli Foundation

Stansted Park Foundation

The Vicar, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council of the Parish of Wymondham

Al-Khair Foundation

Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway Association

Association of Festival Churches

Harry’s Hydrocephalus Awareness Trust

The Orthopaedic Research and Education Fund

The Friendly Hand

Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust

The Parochial Church Council of the Parish of Wigan Team Ministry

Syria Relief

Muslim Welfare House

One Endowment Trust

The Parochial Church Council of the Parish of Holy Trinity West Hampstead

Charity of the Sisters of the Holy Trinity Bromley

Work highlights

  • Al-Khair Foundation was publicly and falsely accused of facilitating the trafficking of refugees in Greece, which had the potential to seriously damage the charity’s reputation. The team has advised on how to manage the crisis and is liaising with the Charity Commission on any regulatory action.
  • It has advised and assisted One Endowment Trust in setting up an innovative charity which aims to assist Muslim charities and not-for-profit organisations in investing their additional funds in investments which are compliant in English law as well as Islamic principles.
  • Advised Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust Limited on a variety of matters, including the application of the Charities Act to their property portfolio, enforcement of covenants and matters of governance. It also provides regular training to trustees and staff.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP acts for major charitable funds. Its main focus is on large charities that raise funds from contracts or from charging the beneficiaries of their services. The group advises its charity clients on a broad spectrum of issues from commercial property to procurement, employment and pension matters. It is recommended too for its knowledge of diverse regulatory regimes such as registration with the Charity Commission, the OSCR and other regulators including the CQC and the Regulator of Social Housing. Ian Davis heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ian Davis

Other key lawyers:

Emma Burrows


‘The team has a comprehensive knowledge of the charity and not for profit organisations and therefore is able to support decision making with appropriate and relevant advice and guidance. During the pandemic the team has introduced regular webinars on key topics that have been helpful, informative and collaborative. Members of the team take time to understand our challenges, whether that be resources, governance or the sector specific operating environment‘.

‘Emma Burrows and her team are like an extended part of the Leadership team here. The lawyers are trusted advisors and do not sit on the fence when giving advice. Their advice is clear, pragmatic and they will always seek to establish what outcome we are seeking and provide such advice in a timely trusted way. They are our go to advisors for all complex ER matters. Emma Burrows – she fully understands our business, she is a trusted advisor and most importantly to me she provides legal advice which I understand‘.

‘The advice is detailed, comprehensive and specific to the questions asked for the situation. Even if a number of people end up being involved there is handover between them and consistency of advice. The advice is helpful and gives useful recommendations. The lawyers are professional and always act appropriately in a trusted manner. They respond in a timely way with detailed and comprehensive advice that meets the needs, making useful recommendations. Everyone we have dealt with has been knowledgeable and trustworthy. We have had support from Emma Burrows‘.

Key clients

E Hayes Dashwood

Durham Aged Mineworkers

Chatham Maritime Trust

London Historic Buildings Trust

Caterham School

Island Health Trust

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Rheema Church

Aquaterra Leisure

Youth First

LGBT Women charity

Strawberry Hill Trust

Certitude (Emma Burrows)

Dimensions Welsh Subsidiary

Together Trust

Unicorn School


Royal Ostoporosis Society

Woolwich Creative District Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising LBTQWomen on its registration as a charitable entity operating internationally to support, mentor and promote LBTQ women in business, around the world.
  • Advised Island Health Trust (through appointment by the Charity Commission)  in relation to the former trustees for breach of duty arising from the grant of a consultancy contact to its former chair of trustees.
  • Advised members of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) on a range of potential liabilities to employees, residents and other clients and visitors, mechanisms to help minimise and mitigate claims and advice in relation to professional indemnity, public liability and employer’s liability insurances.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP represents a significant number of national charities in all types of litigation and is respected in this sector for its contentious trusts and probate work. Key areas of expertise include advising on proprietary estoppel claims and claims under the Inheritance Act in addition to reputation management issues. Team co-head Kerry Morgan-Gould continues to excel on various contentious legacy matters. Robert Horsey is another known name for his work on all aspects of contentious trust and estate administrations. John Toth co-heads the charities practice on non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Morgan-Gould (Head of Charities – contentious matters); John Toth (head of Charities (non-contentious matters)

Other key lawyers:

Robert Horsey; Barny Croft


A well-rounded, full-service law firm. Kerry Morgan-Gould is a highly effective and pragmatic lawyer who gets straight to the heart of the issue and maintains a cool head at all times.  She has helped us to defend several probate claims successfully and has also managed to steer lay Executors back on track when estate administrations are taking far too long or are encountering difficulties.  We really value her calm and professional approach, and we know that we can trust her completely to communicate appropriately with lay Executors, striking the perfect balance between a supportive, collaborative approach and being robust enough to obtain real results.  Kerry will always flex her communication style to suit the type of Executor or Claimant involved, and we can relax knowing that we don’t need to ask her to adjust the tone of her letters – she gets it spot‘.

The Ashfords team has an intuitive understanding of the practical needs of a charity in these circumstances, providing billing solutions and collaboration that make my life easy when I instruct the team on a matter. The knowledge and again the intuitive understanding of my needs when instructing as a charity are second to none. Barny Croft in highly valued, he is generous with his time and assistance in ensuring the charity gets not only the best result but understands why fully. Robert Horsey and Kerry Morgan-Gould make themselves available instantly if you have any queries so there is always someone to support you‘.

The team is very experienced and well respected in this area of law. Kerry Morgan-Gould is very approachable, efficient and easy to deal with and explains the situation in layman’s terms‘.

Very client friendly, exceptionally knowledgeable, and really nice people to work with. I work with Barny Croft, Robert Horsey and Kerry Morgan-Gould. I cannot rate them highly enough, they are great lawyers and really friendly‘.

‘I have been extremely impressed with Ashfords’ team. Both commercially minded but also caring for clients in distressing circumstances. It offers a great holistic product. Barny Croft is a superb lawyer, approachable, conscientious and deeply caring, whilst delivering tactically astute and high quality legal expertise’.

Key clients

A National Charity

Two National Charities

A Local Hospice

A local branch of a National Charity

A UK based Charity

Work highlights

  • Represented a national charity in an application for a Statutory Will in an estate worth over £15m.
  • Represented a national charity in defending a claim by an adult child for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Acted for a national charity in successfully defending a proprietary estoppel claim.

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Boodle Hatfield LLP had another strong year advising on some new charitable initiatives both for existing charities and for HNWIs on their philanthropic ventures. It has been busy advising its corporate clients and family offices on how to structure their philanthropic activities. The group is increasingly advising too on alternative not-for-profit structures. Andrea Zavos heads the team that includes Eleanor Sepanski who advises on governance issues, philanthropy and on CRS planning for companies.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Zavos 

Other key lawyers:

Eleanor Sepanski


‘Able to cover all the ‘usual’ commercial issues that face an organisation, combined with specific expertise and experience in the arts sector. Makes the team great, full-service support for anyone working in arts & culture‘.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP has a substantial charities and not-for-profit team which is particularly known for its sector expertise in health and social care issues, with particular experience in providing CQC and regulatory advice to charities. It is also recognised for its connections with the Privy Council Office through its work with a number of Royal Charter clients. London-based Alistair Robertson and Newcastle-based Gill Weatherill co-head the department.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Robertson; Gill Weatherill

Other key lawyers:

Anne-Marie Gregory


We are provided with clear and pragmatic advice with the ability to respond on shorter timescales when necessary. The team is able to link quickly to specialists in other areas of the practice when needed. I have worked with Alistair Robertson over a number of years when in different organisations and appreciate his calm demeanour and the breadth of his knowledge’.

The team was always available when needed. Its practical advice and depth of knowledge impressed us. We found the individuals we worked with very helpful and good communicators. Anne-Marie Gregory and Alastair Robertson, were a pleasure to work with‘.

‘The lawyers are efficient, well co-ordinated internally and responsive to client needs. Alistair Robertson is excellent.  He is very calm and approachable and has excellent judgment‘.

Very accessible and gives extremely clear, straightforward guidance, unpretentious but professional throughout. Anne-Marie Gregory leads an excellent team and she instils a culture of speaking plain English (vs couched legal jargon)‘.

Key clients


Children’s Trust

Disabilities Trust


United Response

ESCP Business School

Royal College of Physicians

The Adolescent and Children’s Trust

Stand Against Racism & Inequality

Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth

National Academy for Social Prescribing

NHS England

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Aviva Community Fund

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The Trinity Challenge

Work highlights

  • As part of its commitment to providing pro bono services, it provided full support to pioneering The Trinity Challenge (which aims to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of one billion more people against outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics) and secured registration with the Charity Commission through an expedited route given the links between their work and Covid-19.
  • Worked with National Academy for Social Prescribing to provide legal advice on the incorporation, governance and funding arrangements in respect of the Academy, the establishment of which was announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
  • Won a competitive tender to become the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health  full-service legal adviser in 2020, and now advise it on all aspects of its business, including charity law, Charter and Bye-laws and commercial activities.

Edwin Coe LLP

Edwin Coe LLP is increasingly working in the area of philanthropy by helping to structure and establish new charities for private individuals and families. The group works with its private client department and is adept at handling cross-border tax and trust matters in conjunction with advising on the establishment of new charitable structures – it also provides ongoing operational advice to these charities. With David Goepel at the helm clients range from international pan-continental educational initiatives and national charities through to professional governing and regulatory bodies. Alison Broadberry is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

David Goepel

Other key lawyers:

Alison Broadberry

Key clients

The Lion Youth Club

Theatre Royal Haymarket


Coram’s Fields

The Spinoza Foundation

Salvation Army International Trustee Company

Work highlights

  • Advising  Coram’s Fields, a leading children’s charity, on governance and restructuring matters.
  • Advising Salvation Army International Trustee Company on restructuring and managing its property portfolio.
  • Advising The Spinoza Foundation, a leading think tank, on an application to become an Institute, in recognition of its ground-breaking work in the wealth inequality area.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP  has particular experience of advising charity clients in the education, research, health, regeneration, mental health and grant-giving sectors. It advises on a wide spectrum of charity law matters including governance, compliance, mergers, commercial, fundraising, campaigning and regulatory issues. It has increasingly been advising on setting up corporate foundations. The key members of the team are Glynne Stanfield, Paul Pugh and the skilled legal director Stephen O’Reilly.

Practice head(s):

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

Other key lawyers:

Stephen O’Reilly


‘Expertise coupled with deep sector experience. Highly personalised service but drawn from a large pool of lawyers. Partner involvement in client care and identifying the correct lawyer for the job. Close collaboration between offices‘.

‘Recently I have taken advice from Stephen O’Reilly’s team in Cambridge re complicated applications to the Charity Commission. I was greatly impressed by the quality of service‘.

Excellent customer support, clear and timely advice, responsive to queries. Stephen O’Reilly has been exceptional in helping us get our charity up and running – he was recommended to me and I would highly recommend him to others‘.

‘As a charity we value its tremendous expertise on charity law and engagement with our regulator, the Charity Commission. The team is able to bring other skills into the mix when required, – property, commercial, lotteries, etc. Stephen O’Reilly is our main point of contact. His knowledge of charity law is really extensive, and his approach is always detailed, and thorough‘.

Key clients

Our Future Health (formerly the Early Disease Detection Research Project UK)

Turning Point

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

National Oceanography Centre

Laidlaw Foundation

Anchor Hanover Group

The National Film and Television School

Medical Research Council

Inner Circle Educational Trust

Richmond, The American International University in London, Inc.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons has a wealth of experience in acting for service-providing charities, corporate charities, land-owning and grant making charities as well as alms-houses, educational charities and the full range of non-profit organisations and small local charities. Head of team Virginia Henley is skilled at advising on a range of governance, commercial and regulatory matters. Ben Moorhead has helped to establish several leading charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Henley

Other key lawyers:

Ben Moorhead; Saffa Mir


‘I find Virginia so approachable and pragmatic, it never ever feels ‘about the fee’, nothing is ever too much trouble and crucially the advice is always in plain English! Approachable, good humoured and easy to get hold of. I find the approach to charging sensitive and sensible, that’s why I continue to make further referrals!’.

The team will work with you hand in hand to deliver the outcomes you are looking for, always taking into account the charitable nature of your organisation. The individuals we worked with were professional and knowledgeable but what made them stand out was their flexibility to work around the needs and time commitments of our trustees‘.

‘The team clearly had a deep and sympathetic understanding of the charity sector which was/is important to us. The lawyers also understand the way the Charity Commission works and has advised us helpfully on procedures and system. Saffa Mir has reacted promptly to all queries and also explained to us in clear and simple terms what is happening, expected timescales and options that are available to us. She has reacted positively to requests for clarification. She is also “friendly” whilst maintaining a professional relationship which to us is important. She has also given us confidence that what we are seeking to do is possible and will “hold our hands” through the complicated process‘.

Our initial contact with Hewitsons was with one of the partners, Virginia Henley.  Virginia spent a long time seeking to understand our issues and when appropriate handed the work over to Saffa. We have the confidence that she is maintaining a watching brief whilst rightly allowing Saffa to work with us independently. She has always made herself available to us if needed‘.

In the relatively short time I have worked with Hewitsons, I have found the lawyers knowledgeable, willing and helpful across a range of topic areas.  Their understanding of the governance of registered societies has been particularly helpful to me. I have found everyone I have dealt with at Hewitsons to be ready to help and keen to understand the issue from our perspective in order to ensure that they provide the advice or service that we need‘.

Virginia’s expertise of charity law is very impressive. She is also very pragmatic, and client focused, and particularly sensitive to the issue of fees, which is always a concern for charities.  Saffa has been very, very impressive.  Saffa is very responsive, highly organised, and has a very impressive knowledge of charity law, especially given that she is relatively newly qualified. Virginia Henley: an absolutely outstanding lawyer,  very responsive, impressively knowledgeable,  as well as client focused and pragmatic‘.

Saffa Mir: I have no doubt that Saffa should be recognised as a potential future leader in the field of charity law.  It is evident that Saffa is very committed to  charity law, and that really shows in the way  in which she works with clients.  Saffa is very approachable, and I have full confidence that she really does know what she is doing, which is particularly impressive for a relatively newly qualified solicitor.  I look forward to seeing Saffa’s career develop, I have no doubt she has huge potential to be a leader in her field‘.

Very helpful and willing staff, knowledgeable and competent.  Very fair with pricing. Virginia Henley and her assistant Saffa Mir were very efficient and helpful despite a heavy workload.  Went the extra mile to help us with intricate detail‘.

Key clients

Old Wilsonians Association

Upshot Systems CIC

Wye Building Preservation Trust

The Isles of Scilly Museum Association

The Toybox Charity

Mrs Ann Dutton’s Charity

Consortium for Street Children

Garden House Hospice Care

The Pelly Charitable Trust CIO

Soham Moor Old Grammar School Fund

Community Spaces Northampton

The Scott Bader Commonwealth Limited

Xylem Global

The Max Perutz Fund

Wellingborough School

SLG Charitable Trust Limited

SLG 2017 Limited

GMC Charity to End FGM

Work highlights

  • Advised the  Isles of Scilly Museum Association on its conversion to become a charitable incorporated organisation. The transfer of assets and liabilities has included complex work surrounding the lease of the building in which the Museum’s contents had been held but which is currently uninhabitable, assisting the Trustees in working with the Council to reach an agreeable outcome for both sides.
  • Advising Old Wilsonians Association (a long-established sports club) on its registration as a charity.  This has involved detailed guidance on its membership structure, review of governance and land registrations and transfers.
  • It set up a new Community Interest Company for Upshot Systems CIC  and then advised on the acquisition of part of the business of The Football Foundation by its newly established client, Upshot Systems CIC. It continues to provide close support to the client on matters including data protection, terms and conditions and the Board of Directors’ terms of reference.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Through its six UK offices, Mills & Reeve LLP works for all types of charities and provides the full range of services. Neil Burton leads the team that continues to act for many major charities. It has particular strengths in health, sport and religious charities and also boasts considerable expertise in advising education and research organisations as well as livery companies. Mark Ashton specialises in governance and charity law regulation.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Mark Ashton; Nathalie Jacoby-Danesh


The team has a strong understanding of our organisation and this enables it to provide strategic, valuable and timely input on a range of issues. Billing is centrally coordinated with helpful management information provided on a regular basis‘.

‘Extremely responsive and Neil Burton is very commercial but also appreciative of how technicalities etc may play out and ensures complete advice is given. Neil Burton is extremely approachable and supportive, taking the time to really understand the issues associated with any particular instruction or matter. Mark Ashton is also very good and provides good technical advice, as well as bringing the benefit of his experience dealing with the Commission‘.

‘Appreciated (1) breadth of experience in specialist sector (charities), (2) sensitivity to costs, (3) willingness to adjust billing cycle to client’s convenience, (4) exceptional availability/responsiveness, (5) timeliness and speed of service delivery. Nathalie Jacoby-Danesh, Principal Associate, was exceptionally good to work with, for listening and responding to client’s perspective and needs.  Head of Charities, Neil Burton, was always available for supplementary help, as needed, but permitted work to go forward through Ms Jacoby-Danesh‘.

Key clients

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK)

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Science Museum Group and National Railway Museum

English Heritage

The Henry Smith Charity

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Francis Crick Institute


Clean Air Fund

Wellcome Sanger

Work highlights

  • Continues to act for The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (“CIFF”) (the 5th largest global philanthropic organisation) on a restructure of its $6bn investment portfolio.
  • Provided The Henry Smith Charity – a  £multi-billion charity with a variety of charity law and grant-giving advice
  • Acting as full service firm to The Institution of Engineering and Technology advising on the full range of issues

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a multi-practice team that advises a broad range of third sector clients from local and national cause charities to education institutions, social housing, trade associations and religious institutions. Other key clients include family offices, philanthropists and grant making charities. It has particular strength in working with prestigious education charities and it has been busy working with ecclesiastical charities. Gemma Bell and Daff Richardson now head the team as Henrietta Mason is at Farrer & Co.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Bell; Daff Richardson

Key clients


City & Guilds

Right to Play UK Ltd

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – t/a Sightsavers

The Licensed Trade Charity

Marine Stewardship Council

World Obesity Fund

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers


Magdalen College, Oxford

Work highlights

  • Advised Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – t/a Sightsavers in relation to a gift of a property to the charity by Will, which leaves a right for the current occupier to reside for as long as they wish.
  • Advising CABI on changes to working arrangements on the client’s move to state of the art sustainable new premises; on the application of the CJRS (furlough leave); on appropriate Covid-safe arrangements and homeworking; in relation to UK workers visiting overseas branches and the application of travel restrictions
  • Advised The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) in relation to their constitution (a company incorporated by Royal Charter) which did not allow the holding of virtual general meetings, and changes to their Regulations in order to allow virtual a virtual AGM to take place in light of the pandemic.


Wilsons acts for over 550 charities. The ‘very strong’ contentious legal team is well-regarded for its work for charities on all matters relating to disputed gifts in wills. It has an excellent client list and advises on a broad array of matters under the leadership of Gillian Fletcher . It also receives plaudits for its work in niche areas including acting for armed forces charities and care homes. Other strengths lie in its work for many schools and academy clients.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

James Aspden; Charlotte Watts ; Peter Jeffreys ; Fiona Campbell-White; Chris Unsworth


The firm has a long history of working with charities, from trustees at the top to legacy managers at the bottom and culturally is closely attuned to what charities want and need from their legal advisers. James Aspden is a cerebral litigator, who is always keen to get stuck into the legal detail. Charlotte Watts is a tenacious litigator who really shines when dealing with the awkward squad‘.

The whole team appreciates the challenges charities have in dealing with contentious legacies and disgruntled family members. The team works flawlessly with clients, ensuring they are kept up to date. The fee structure is unique, ensuring charity clients can monitor their costs. Since lockdown, the firm has not missed a beat, transferring seamlessly from office to home based with no tangible interruption. All the members of the team have a excellent working relationship with clients. Clear, concise advice with a real understanding of charities and how their respective hierarchies function. Outstanding fee earners: Charlotte Watts, Peter Jeffreys and James Aspden‘,

Wilsons has extensive experience of the military charity sector, the lawyers understand the unique aspects of our community and provide excellent advice.  They are also able to provide advice on a wide range of subjects utilising their subject specialists. Gillian Fletcher is experienced, approachable, and pragmatic.  Her advice is clear and her opinions carry weight.  She understands the challenges our Board faces and has been a great help in improving our governance and structure’.

‘My work with Wilsons has been in the field of contentious trusts and probate work, often for charities as clients, but not specifically charity work. In that context, it is in my view one of the two, three or four teams in the country: trusted by clients, respected and feared by opponents‘.

‘James Aspden is a brilliant lawyer, diligent, and wonderful with clients. Charlotte Watts has a fantastic ability to communicate difficult points to clients – her letters of advice are always a masterclass. Fiona Campbell-White is a tireless and effective litigator, regularly reducing opponents to jelly. Chris Unsworth is learning fast!’.

Wilsons dedicates individual solicitors to clients. In our case, our charity affairs are managed by Gillian Fletcher.  The Wilsons’ ethic is consistent, fair and sensitive handling of the complex subtleties associated with this client. As for innovations, these appear to be evolutionary and there is no suggestion that Wilsons is anything but quick in adopting latest standards. The access to our personal solicitor is exemplary.  There is never any doubt that our affairs are attended to quickly and appropriately‘.

Vast experience and a friendly smile.  They take the time to get to know your business and staff‘.

Wilsons manages to combine its excellent legal skills with a deep understanding of the particular issues facing charities in relation to legacies. Peter Jeffreys and Charlotte Watts have earned a reputation for giving sound advice with great clarity. Both continue to display a flexibility of approach and a level of availability that means we get the support we need when we need it‘.

Key clients


Royal Hospital Chelsea


The Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity

Macmillan Cancer Support

St Christopher’s Hospice


Help for Heroes


The Trussell Trust