Firms To Watch: Charities and not-for-profit

Liz Brownsell leads a ‘competent team of likeable and helpful lawyers’ at Birketts LLP who are ‘responsive’. It advises on the full range of matters from setting up new charities to charity mergers as well as advising charities on disputed legacies.
Excello Law fields a ‘very experienced team in supporting charities’ under the watchful eye of Vanessa Williams who ‘stands out for her expertise and down to earth approach. Always very knowledgeable and approachable’.
Keystone Law has Robert Meakin and Kelly Sayers, who continue to be busy working with various charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. It is praised for its 'flexible approach' and for the way in which the ‘lawyers work together in a collegiate way’.
Andrew Goldstone, Alexander Rhodes and James Libson lead the offering at Mishcon de Reya LLP that is particularly well-placed to advise individuals on charitable vehicles and governance structures as part of their estate and succession planning objectives.
James Quarmby and Emily Osborne co-head the cross-departmental practice at Stephenson Harwood that acts for numerous high-profile clients, not-for-profit organisations and trusts as well as galleries, museums and private donors.

Charities and not-for-profit in London

Bates Wells

Bates Wells is praised for its ‘focus on the charity sector with excellent knowledge of all relevant issues for organisations operating in this area – combined with its strong commercial practice, this is a winning combination’. Thea Longley heads the department that is recognised for its high-profile work on various cases. The sizeable team has built up niche expertise in many areas including faith-based expertise where Stephanie Biden leads on constitutional and governance issues relating to churches. Augustus Della-Porta leads on work with Muslim charities and Erica Crump leads a thriving practice that focuses on cultural charities. Philip Kirkpatrick is the deputy managing partner and Lawrence Simanowitz’s areas of specialism include advising on charity formations, governance, grants and contracts in addition to advising a whole host of international clients. Simon Steeden advises on many complex mergers and other issues including restructurings. It is an 'extremely responsive' team. Rosamund McCarthy Etherington is now at Stone King LLP.

Practice head(s):

Thea Longley

Other key lawyers:

Philip Kirkpatrick; Lawrence Simanowitz; Stephanie Biden; Laura Soley; Erica Crump; Lucy Rhodes; Simon Steeden; Luke Fletcher; Oliver Hunt; Augustus Della-Porta; Hannah Lyons


‘The advice to date has been incredibly thorough, considering a number of external factors that have been instrumental in our strategy for our business. They have been clear and open on billing and offered a range of ways to deliver what we’ve needed’.

‘Thea Longley has provided excellent advice to my organisation on a range of charity/public law related matters over many years. It is helpful to have this degree of consistency and one “go to” person who knows our organisation well, so they can always respond quickly and effectively’.

‘The team has deep expertise not just in charity law but also in the application of charity law and commercial law in all areas in which a charity commonly conducts activities. The lawyers at Bates Wells really care about the charities they work with and have been willing to support my team with two part time secondees at a time when I really needed the additional resource and expertise’.

‘Stephanie Biden has proved a valuable ally. She and her team provide excellent support’.

Oliver Hunt is a rock for our organisation. We have a long-standing relationship with him and he knows and understands our organisation intricately. He is solidly reliable on timing and attention, and gives us well-considered, practical and legally sound advice. He communicates openly with us and is available to support us whenever we are in need’.

‘Luke Fletcher is a technically skilled and forward-thinking leader in the charity law team at Bates Wells and charity law and impact investing sector more widely. He supports the development and dissemination of legal thinking in charity law and social investment’.

‘Bates Wells has a reputation for working extensively in the charity sector. The advice it provides reflects its knowledge of this sector and a familiarity with the issues we are facing. Laura Soley and Hannah Lyons are approachable and responsive. Advice is considered and pragmatic in finding solutions’.

‘High level of expertise, very accessible and responsive. In terms of being innovative and client-focused, the senior partner held a discussion with me to get my reflections on their service as part of the firm’s own reflection on its performance. Very easy to engage with. Stand-out partners I have worked with recently are Laura Soley and Lawrie Simanowitz ‘.

Key clients

BBC Children in Need


Comic Relief

World Animal Protection

British Council

Christian Aid

The Royal Foundation

National Federation of Women’s Institutes


Black Lives Matter

Work highlights

  • Advised ClientEarth on the donation and subsequent auction by Christie’s of a series of works by major international artists.
  • Worked on a governance review for United Bible Societies Association (UBSA).
  • Advised on a merger of the Northern Irish Squirrels Association into the UK Scout Association Royal Charter charity.

Farrer & Co

The ‘skilled and experienced’ team at Farrer & Co is ‘known for providing the highest quality legal advice to charities and the not-for-profit sector’. Anne-Marie Piper (who can ‘simplify extremely complex technical issues’) co-heads the department with Elizabeth Jones. Jones advises charities that are working internationally and continues to do a considerable amount of work in establishing corporate foundations. Its client base includes some of the largest and best-known UK and international charitable organisations and it is highly recommended for its transactional and structuring advice to charities that have extensive group, trading and constitutional structures. The team has been busy too advising on the establishment and operation of a number of high-profile corporate foundations. Another core area of expertise is advising on charity finance matters. The versatile team is also adept at handling complex disputes and at managing reputations and it is also recognised for its expertise in all areas of fundraising law and practice. Other key names in the area include James Carleton, Sam Macdonald, Julian Smith and James Maloney.

Practice head(s):

Anne-Marie Piper; Elizabeth Jones

Other key lawyers:

James Carleton; Sam Macdonald; Julian Smith; James Maloney; Peter Wienand; Hannah Whyatt


‘Anne-Marie Piper – high availability for clients, despite being senior partner. Deep and lengthy knowledge of the sector, personable, responsive, measured and accessible’.

‘The individuals that we have worked with know the organisation, its history and led a large project for us over 10 years ago. Because of this they are well versed in the areas that we need advice on. They are also well connected with other firms overseas where we needed specialist advice regarding an overseas subsidiary’.

‘The team at Farrer is incredibly engaged and willing to help, whilst also keeping a very tight rein over hours. Since we started working with them we have never been let down, and my Board and I have never had cause to question their advice or recommendations or indeed the quality and thought which has gone into it; with other firms it felt sometimes as if the response was often “hedged” which wasn’t useful at all’.

‘James Maloney is genuinely interested in our work, what we do as a Trust and how to support us by ensuring we have the correct frameworks in place, and the best advice. Not only that he is very fair and transparent on costs, he treats the whole team here with respect and has shown understanding of sensitive situations’.

‘The lawyers are very responsive to requests for advice at short notice. They are creative in finding solutions and good at articulating the legal position and what options we may have. They are also good at presenting information to members of the board of trustees who need the reassurance of legal advice but are often coming to situations cold’.

‘Farrers has an exceptionally strong team of experienced Charity lawyers and we believe that they give us excellent advice. The partners we have dealt with have strong “people” skills. They are very easy to work with, take trouble to understand clients and their wishes and communicate well. The firm is also strong in other areas relevant to the trust such as property and employment’.

‘Excellent balance of strategic and practical advice, deep understanding of our organisation and key risks we are facing in the context of wider developments in the sector. Excellent judgment, listening skills, patience – sense of shared endeavour –  Esp. Peter Wienand’.

‘Hannah Whyatt ably supported and supervised by Julian Smith as partner recently provided critical advice and drafting for a complex and high value endowment fund and grant contract variation. They were involved in negotiations with project partners and provided a view on risk and general practice in an area where my own experience was more limited’.

Key clients

Now Teach

Age UK

AllChurches Trust


Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Home-Start UK

Sweaty Betty Foundation

Women for Women

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)


Work highlights

  • Over the year the team has advised on the establishment and operation of a number of high profile corporate foundations (i.e. charities established by commercial companies).
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-making charities in the UK. The team continues to advise PHF in relation to its grant making programme, including in relation to the renegotiation of the terms of a significant grant to the Royal Opera House.
  • Advised Charities Property Fund – a substantial charitable investment fund, which has over £1.2bn in assets, on a cross-border change of its trustee to an entity established in the UK as a result of Brexit.

Withers LLP

The ‘committed; available; detailed and attentive’ team at Withers LLP under the leadership of Chris Priestley is ‘highly effective’ and its ‘knowledge of the sector is second to none’. With Priestley ‘there’s nothing that he doesn’t know and nothing that he wouldn’t do to help you out as a client’. He is highly recommended for his expertise in governance matters as well as mergers and commercial projects for charities. The group acts for 65% of the top 50 charities in the UK. The practice also has a significant international reach and is regularly instructed on charity matters spanning multiple jurisdictions. Alison Paines (who has ‘excellent technical skills') has particular expertise in board strategy, structuring and governance for national and international charities as well as significant strength in regulatory matters. It has a large UK tax team that advises on income derived from legacies that is led by Paul Hewitt.

Practice head(s):

Chris Priestley

Other key lawyers:

Alison Paines; Paul Hewitt; Roger Waite; Amy Carter; Emma Flower


‘Real specialists able to communicate complex issues and who work together. Chris Priestley is exceptional. Very calm approach and brings in specialists to make a seamless delivery team. Leads, takes responsibility and listens’.

‘The Withers team has a breadth of experience that they apply in a pragmatic manner which really helps when they have given us advice in really complex situations. They understand the sector very well and what impacts it and us as a charity. Chris Priestley is incredibly approachable and knowledgeable about the sector. I value his insight and advice’.

‘The Charities and not-for-profit team in Withers has provided exceptional advice to our company for years. The lawyers have a vast knowledge of the sector and no problem or issue was ever too much for them to answer. The team is very capable and once contacted will get back with answers / recommendations in a very short time period. If the requests were urgent, this was a never a problem for Withers’.

‘Our main point of contact in Withers has been Chris Priestley and he and his team have provided excellent service over the years. Chris and his team (Emma Flower) guided us and ensured that all angles were covered from a legal, taxation and regulatory perspective. I believe that Withers is and has always been value for money compared to competitors’.

‘Emma Flower and Chris Priestly are both extremely helpful, clear, highly knowledgeable and efficient. I would never hesitate to ask for their opinion / assistance. They answer what they can immediately and do further research if required’.

‘Withers is without doubt one of the most trusted of all our legal partners and in reality, probably the best. What makes it unique is the lawyers’ accessibility, always up to date knowledge and the whole solutions-focussed ethos of the firm. A credit to the legal profession’.

Alison Paines and Paul Hewitt are leading practitioners in their field and are stand-out performers, capable of dealing with the most complex cases.’

‘Alison Paines has a profound knowledge of charity law and the sector, and is marvellous at finding solutions to problems. Chris Priestley is also exceptionally knowledgeable and impeccably thorough. Roger Waite is a rising superstar among the associates, very hardworking and great with clients’.

Key clients

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

The British Red Cross Society

The Donkey Sanctuary

Cancer Research UK

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply

Start Network

Royal Society

NHS Charities Together

Work highlights

  • Advises NCVO for all of the charity’s legal work. NCVO is a major national charity and helps to guide the sector as a whole on governance and other essential matters.
  • Continues to act as standing legal adviser to the British Red Cross and assisted in its continuing support of beneficiaries during the pandemic.
  • Acting as the standing legal advisers to Cancer Research UK and in the past year has advised on a wide range of issues under the following headings: Governance, fundraising, regulatory, tax, international work, pensions, property, health and safety, employment and structuring.

BDB Pitmans

Praised for providing an ‘excellent and very personal service’ the team at BDB Pitmans provides the ‘highest quality of advice’. Penny Chapman heads the ‘very strong and specialised’ practice that has substantial experience across all areas of charity regulation (including safeguarding, serious incident reporting, political campaigning and all governance matters). It is also recommended for its ability to resolve trustee disputes as well as advising on charity investigations and helping charities with Charity Commission compliance. It acts for a range of large operational charities, grant-makers, funders and start-ups across all sectors including health, education, faith and the arts. Jonathan Brinsden receives many plaudits for his work in this area, and Nicola Evans is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brinsden; Nicola Evans; Sarah Williams; Harriet Ainsworth


‘I’ve always worked directly with Jonathan Brinsden, who always ensures the service we receive is of the highest possible standards. He makes a point of checking in with me just to see how things are going on and during the two years of the pandemic, made a point of arranging virtual meetings to see if there was anything he could do to assist. I feel that Jonathan really cares about how the charity is doing’.

‘High quality advice on complex not for profit organisation matters. Sarah Williams provides high quality and prompt advice on complex not for profit organisation matters’.

‘The charity team is very strong with key charity law individuals such as Penny Chapman and Harriet Ainsworth’.

‘Penny Chapman is an excellent lawyer – very thorough and diligent and a heavy hitter who brings real presence to a meeting and has vast knowledge of the charity sector. Harriet Ainsworth is an excellent lawyer with an eye for detail who can think around difficult legal issues and find a practical application of the law making a strategic call on tactics to use for the client’s best advantage’.

‘Jonathan Brinsden is the partner we deal with and he is a calm, knowledgeable and reliable legal advisor for us’.

‘Jonathan is smart, responsive, witty – and all round a great person to work with. In fact it doesn’t feel like work at all most of the time. He is my go to man on all charity related issues and finds ways through whatever the issue. He is ably assisted by Harriet Ainsworth and whenever instructed I know that I will receive sensible, clear, articulate, and commercial advice in a timely manner. They are a pleasure to deal with’.

‘Penny Chapman is an outstanding charity lawyer and has a proven track record of guiding charitable trustees successfully through existential crises.’

‘Jonathan Brinsden is an outstanding solicitor, with outstanding professional sector knowledge and with a willingness to go the extra mile’.

Key clients

ABF The Soldiers Charity

Air Ambulances UK

Barts Charity

The Big Give Trust

Blind Veterans

British Film Institute

Burdett Trust for Nursing

Christ Church, Oxford

Goldsmiths Students Union

HALO Trust

Healthcare Management Trust

Holocaust Education Trust

Jewish Care

Landmark Trust

Macular Society

Make-A-Wish Foundation

McClay Foundation

MS Society

Nuffield Health

The Pret Foundation

Prison Advice and Care Trust

Royal National Theatre

RNRMC (Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity)

ROH (Royal Opera House)

Royal Star and Garter Homes

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Work highlights

  • Advised The HALO Trust, one of the world’s leading landmine charities, following the withdrawal of US and UK troops and the Taliban takeover on its decision to continue to carry out vital landmine clearance work in Afghanistan.
  • Advising the Babyn Yar Memorial Holocaust Center with its efforts to expand its fundraising global footprint in support of its work to maintain the memorial, preserve the testimony of survivors and develop education programmes are of central importance to prevent such crimes from happening again.
  • Advised Nuffield Health on the successful defence of a Court of Appeal challenge to the charity’s entitlement to charity rates relief and in responding to a subsequent application to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP continues to represent high-profile national and international charities as well as historic educational institutions, ecclesiastical bodies and military charities. With Sarah Rowley at the helm the group is well-equipped to cover the full range of legal requirements that a charity has. It is also adept at establishing and managing corporate charitable and individual foundations. It is well-regarded too for its legacy management advice through its dedicated team at the Guildford office that advises an array of leading UK charities on contentious and non-contentious probate matters. Simon Weil specialises in tax planning, trusts and philanthropy and advising on other contentious issues that arise out of wills, trusts and the co-ownership of property for charities and private clients.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Rowley

Other key lawyers:

Simon Weil; Penelope Byatt; Richard Honey


‘I can obtain very high quality charity law advice quickly and without fuss’.

‘I instruct Penelope Byatt in the Charities team. I always find that she responds quickly, thinks clearly and provides me with timely advice on whatever charity law issues I throw at her. Her ability to think through issues, and look at it from all sides when she advises is one which I value. She has a huge amount of sector specific knowledge and experience’.

‘They are brilliant for non-contentious probate and especially Inheritance Tax issues. Richard Honey is brilliant at explaining extremely complex issues in a very straightforward way’.

‘We deal with one Senior Associate – Penelope Byatt – who also acts as the Secretary of our Foundation. Penelope is unfailingly available for all our needs and it is hard to believe that she acts for any other clients. She is really “one of the team”’.

‘Sarah Rowley stands out as knowledgeable and as having a pragmatic understanding of all sides to a debate and as giving a clear opinion’.

‘The team is approachable and will always attend to matters in a timely manner, being mindful of the need to keep the costs within the estimate provided and advise accordingly if a further costs estimate is required’.

‘The individuals I have worked with have all acted with professionalism whilst retaining an approachable demeanour’.

Key clients


Lord Wandsworth College

Dementia UK

Royal Air Force Museum

National Museum of the Royal Navy

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

City and Guilds of London Institute


The Ernest Cook Trust

British Computer Society

Work highlights

  • Advising the Royal Air Force Museum, one of the three national service museums, in connection with the petition for a Royal Charter and the incorporation of the charity and assisting in the process of transferring all assets, charitable activities and subsidiary companies to the newly incorporated company.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

David Scott and Colin Howes co-head an ‘excellent’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP that advises corporate foundations, media-related fundraising charities, subsidised arts organisations and high-net-worth individuals on their personal philanthropy. It is well-placed to advise charities on mergers, reorganisations and other corporate transactions and it has also been busy advising some new charities. The group is adept too at advising various high-profile media and performing arts institutions on their establishment and on ongoing operational issues. It is also recommended for its help to clients that face public scrutiny by working with its reputation management team.

Practice head(s):

David Scott; Colin Howes

Other key lawyers:

May Delaney; Katerina Capras


‘Colin Howes -his advice and support is consistently excellent and effective. I have always been able to rely on his input – being timely, insightful and effective. Colin’s deep expertise in the not-for-profit sector means that he has helped shape and optimise the big strategic calls that we need to make’.

‘Katerina Capras, associate – I’ve worked with Katerina on one project, that is ongoing. She is incredibly responsive – turning around queries, resolving issues and completing activities’.

‘A very experienced team (and we have had some unusual issues to sort out). So easy to deal with, in a genuinely collaborative way (and which is almost fun!). May Delaney – an up and coming star. Good to deal with; experienced operator David Scott – an experienced operator who provides sage guidance’.

‘Professional knowledge and competence allied to first-rate efficiency and open and warm client relationships. They are efficient and always willing to take time to explain often complex legal information. There is never a sense of being rushed or of not having time even though they are very busy’.

‘My experience of my contacts at H and L has always been reassuring and helpful. There is an attitude of support and empathy and the ability to take into account the lack of knowledge and expertise in myself as a client. Given that my work is predominantly philanthropy and pro-social in its nature H and L has also been helpful in explaining and limiting costs’.

‘We have always had a good service from the Harbottle & Lewis team. They are helpful, knowledgeable and able to work in a realistic timeframe. Katerina Capras and Colin Howes who are our main contacts at Harbottle & Lewis are both excellent and extremely easy to work with’.

‘The team at Harbottle and Lewis has an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of charity law. They are able to respond quickly on a number of varied issues and understand the complex structures of our individual charity and associated entities. The team also has got to know the various personalities that comprise the trustees and help frame the different legislation in ways that are meaningful to them’.

‘The lawyers are well organised, with accurate, on time monthly invoices. They also do their best to keep the costs down. Colin Howes is fantastic to work with. His responses to emails are punctual, considered and he draws on a huge amount of institutional knowledge of the charity and associated entities as well as up to date charity law’.

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

Modern Masterpieces

Semble Network Limited

Merky Foundation

We Imagine If

Association of Applied Biologists

Centre for Entrepreneurs

People versus Extinction

Work highlights

  • Advised Merky Foundation, the UK charity founded by musician Stormzy, on a donation from HSBC, and an onward grant to Cambridge University.
  • Advised Semble Network, a certified B Corporation, on the incorporation of a partner charity The Semble Grassroots Trust (SGT), a charity supporting grassroots community projects.
  • Advised The Association of Applied Biologists, an unincorporated charity and leading organisation promoting applied research in agricultural and food sciences on its incorporation as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).


Led by Ian Hempseed and Helen Hirst the national team at Hempsons ‘combines excellent knowledge and experience with an accessible and friendly approach’. Hempseed is a highly rated charity and social enterprise lawyer who has a wide range of experience in commercial, constitutional and governance law. Jon Pearce is a known name for his employment law advice in the health, social care and charity sectors. Hirst advises a wide range of charities and social enterprises from start-ups to established organisations such as academies, NHS charities and social care charities. The firm also acts for many Royal Charter corporations that are charities.

Practice head(s):

Ian Hempseed; Helen Hirst

Other key lawyers:

Jon Pearce


‘Hempsons is a very professional and very easy firm to work with. It has outstanding staff and is always happy to help and advise. Ian Hempseed is very well versed in our affairs, remembers issues going back over many years and is able to put everything into context. He has and remains a very valuable asset for us as an organisation’.

‘Hempsons is thorough, efficient and focuses on solutions and associated risks’.

‘Advises on complex issues in a straightforward manner. Throughout the pandemic it has offered free legal advice for all our members, this has been invaluable. They really care about the third sector’.

‘Helen Hirst – supportive, keen to raise awareness of social enterprise and our members throughout the organisation’.

‘Approachable, friendly, highly knowledgeable in the charity/non-profit field’.

‘I have worked with Ian Hempseed for the past 8 years, and his advice has only been superb, impartial, well balanced and respectful of our unique needs’.

‘Nothing but full praise. Always helpful and goes above and beyond. Would go as far to say they are a part of our team. It is truly collaborative’.

‘Ian Hempseed gives pragmatic advice in a straightforward easily digestible manner’.

Key clients

Autism Plus Limited

Avenues Trust Group

British Home & Hospital for Incurables

British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Christians Against Poverty

Christie Charitable Fund

Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation

DKMS Bone Marrow Donor Centre

Energy Institute

European Association for Cardio Thoracic Surgery

Federation of Jewish Services

Harrogate District Hospice Care

Henshaws Society for Blind People

International Federation of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Lowry Centre Trust

Making Space

Manchester University NHS FT Charity

Musicians Benevolent Fund

Outward Bound Trust

Overseas Development Institute

Pure Innovations Limited

Royal College of Emergency Medicine, The

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

Royal Exchange Theatre Company, Manchester

Royal Society for Public Health

Wilf Ward Family Trust

York Conservation Trust

Zoological Society of London

Work highlights

  • Advised on the merger of two exempt charities, Letchworth Cottages and Buildings Limited and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, by a rarely used process only available to community benefit societies, namely the statutory process of a Transfer of Engagement.
  • In 2021 the team was appointed to deliver legal services to Change Grow Live – a £200m charity. Advice has included significant real estate work in acquiring and relinquishing lease and licences, complex Data Protection advice, CQC advice and detailed work and analysis on the Vaccination as a Condition of Employment.
  • Supported the International Federations of Gynaecology and Obstetrics run its 2021 bi-annual General Assembly of world societies entirely virtually, benefiting from electronic meeting authorisations that the firm had previously drafted.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

The team is ‘ridiculously strong’ at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP. It gives its ‘lustrous client list a service of exceptional quality without any of the arrogance associated with excellence’. Head of department is Ceris Gardner who ‘stands out for her breadth of knowledge and experience’. The ‘professional, knowledgeable and friendly’ team is particularly known for the way it connects philanthropy with charity and private wealth. Emma-Jane Weider 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 well-regarded for her advice to philanthropists on charitable vehicles and on the creation of foundations, tax efficient giving and grants.

Practice head(s):

Ceris Gardner

Other key lawyers:

Emma-Jane Weider; Jennifer Emms; Jennifer Chambers


‘Ceris Gardner is a mine of information delivered in a very practical, friendly and authoritative way. Her experience and knowledge of charity law surpasses anyone else in the market that I have dealt with, and her team provides seamless support’.

‘Excellent all-round knowledge and service with first-rate individuals, who are on top of the law and how best to use it to achieve the clients’ aims’.

‘Jennifer Emms: very bright, hardworking with a real eye for detail and an excellent manner with clients’.

‘Extremely high expertise and experienced. Very good boutique law firm. Emma-Jane Weider – a top-notch lawyer and leading in her field; thinks out of the box. Jennifer Emms – a pleasure to work with‘.

‘MTG has a superb understanding of charity law in the UK and stands out as one of the very best firms that can provide holistic advice at a consistently superior level’.

‘Ceris Gardner is a standout in her field. A superb private client advisor, she also specialises in charity and philanthropy and can provide sophisticated advice for the needs of UHNWs and charities’.

‘Jennifer Chambers -calm, logical, collaborative and a pleasure to work with. Emma-Jane Weider – quick, clever, can deal with complex issues’.

‘The charities and not-for-profit team is ridiculously strong. They give their lustrous client list a service of exceptional quality, staying well ahead of the curve, without any of the arrogance often associated with excellence.’

Key clients

Vincent O’Brien

Work highlights

  • Advised its client in the context of the very high profile proceedings issued against him (and others) as a former trustee of the “Kids Company” charity.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Andrew Studd leads a ‘very personable’ team at Russell-Cooke LLP that advises on the full spectrum of issues from governance, mergers and restructurings to fundraising, charity regulation and data protection matters. It is also adept at advising charities on employment and highly sensitive people issues. In addition it is well-regarded for its work with clients that have unusual governance structures including those charities that are governed by Acts of Parliament, Royal Charter or Charity Commission Schemes. Clients include leading household names, smaller organisations and individuals who are interested in family philanthropy. Chris Rowse, James Sinclair Taylor and Pippa Garland are among the other prominent members of the department.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Studd

Other key lawyers:

James Sinclair Taylor; Chris Rowse; Pippa Garland; Gareth Roy


‘Great support and knowledge. Rapid engagement and strategic advice. Great people people. Very approachable, supportive and advice has been great’.

‘Gareth Roy. Provided us with excellent charity law advice but also commercial advice. He understands the needs of the client, is pragmatic, keeps an eye on costs, and inspires confidence from our senior management team’.

‘Russell-Cooke provided practical, commercial advice. They were attentive, available and flexible and understood the specific needs of our organisation. The team made the process incredibly clear and easy to follow and ensured that all the necessary pieces were handled’.

‘We really valued Andrew Studd for his down to earth nature and ability to explain complex charity law issues to a range of non-experts’.

‘Each team member we have worked with has shown to have a friendly and approachable manner, which is of great importance when dealing with legal sensitivities, particularly to work in a manner that allows laymen to understand some complexities behind the legal ask. This provides a sense of trust that we are receiving the best advice’.

‘Professional, quick to respond, excellent advice and support’.

‘Having used Russell-Cooke for a number of years, we can comment on the following strengths-wide range of legal services, well-suited to our global business; resourcefulness, international law and ability of the team to advise on the local code of practice abroad; high-quality advice’.

‘The team members are very experienced in and advised us on various challenges related to the charity law. The team takes a very detailed and structured approach to the issues we have undergone and communicates extremely well about expected timelines, follow-up meetings and any legal documents (outcomes). Cannot recommend enough!’.

Key clients

Unicef UK

Youth Hostel Association (England and Wales)

Consumers International

Impetus, as trustee of the Youth Endowment Fund

British Heart Foundation

Dr. Martens Foundation

National Council for Civil Liberties

Borough Market

Voluntary Services Overseas

Anthony Nolan

Work highlights

  • Advised Consumers International on its research for membership organisation for consumer rights organisations around the world.
  • Advised on the formation of the Dr. Martens Foundation, including advice on the governing documents, formalising the charitable activities, and the charity’s grant making activities.
  • Advised Impetus, as trustee of the £200m Youth Endowment Fund, in relation to data protection, contracts and employment matters.

Stone King LLP

Stephen Ravenscroft heads a ‘strong team’ at Stone King LLP that is ‘very caring and friendly’. Its charity and social enterprise sector group also operates on a national basis through its various regional offices. Julian Blake is a key figure who combines charity law expertise with sustainable business and best practice employee and community engagement. Lee Coley has a broad practice that focuses predominantly on ecclesiastical and charity law that affects the Church of England. Hannah Kubie and Reema Mathur are among the other known names at the firm that was pleased to add Rosamund McCarthy Etherington to the practice, who joined from Bates Wells.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Ravenscroft

Other key lawyers:

Julian Blake; Rosamund McCarthy Etherington; Ann Phillips; Lee Coley; Hannah Kubie; Reema Mathur


‘The team has provided a great service; bringing discernment and wisdom which have assisted the wider remit of legal advice. The lawyers have provided prompt responses to enquiries and helpful assistance and guidance, and sought to cascade knowledge and good practice as part of the shared provision and aim of deepening learning and understanding’.

‘Lee Coley has continued to provide a great service, supported by a responsive and helpful team, and has made a positive contribution to the life of our work’.

‘In my view Stone King is renowned across the whole charity and social enterprise sector including all phases of education from pre-school to colleges and universities for the high quality of its people, national support through teams in London and the regions, excellence in client care and full range of outstanding specialist solicitors to support clients’.

‘Julian Blake is one of the top charity and social enterprise solicitors in Britain today, renowned for his first-class legal brain, deep personal commitment to the sector and outstanding care for clients’.

‘I believe Julian Blake is an outstanding public benefit lawyer. He has effectively encouraged flexibility in how the procurement regulations are interpreted and pioneered the use of the innovation partnership procedure for social purposes and the development of social value imperatives Other partners such as Hannah Kubbie complement Julian’s skills’.

‘Knowledgeable and courteous. Always willing to tackle a thorny issue with great poise. They are very candid and honest and don’t tell us what we want to hear (rather what we need to hear) to protect our Charity’s legal risk. Hannah Kubie is exceptional’.

‘All of the partners at Stone King are personable and expert in their field. Of particular note is Reema Mathur who has provided expert advice on setting up a charity from scratch and continued to advise on ongoing matters as our income is now into seven-figures.’

‘Advice always provided promptly, well presented, concise and easy to follow. Good team working, so if you are referred to another team member on a particular matter, because it is their field of expertise, they are fully apprised of the issue in hand and your organisation when you speak to them’.

Key clients

Northern Roots

BV FutureGen Foundation

St John’s College School, Cambridge


Save the Children International

London South East Colleges

Corporation of Trinity House

Diocese of Leicester

Sacred Heart Sisters 1983 Charitable Fund

Watts Gallery

Treloar Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising on the implementation of the community development project for the UK’s largest urban farm and an eco-park in the centre of Oldham, including securing registration of the charity with the Charity Commission.
  • Advised Britishvolt on the establishment and registration with the Charity Commission of the BV FutureGen Foundation to power future employment in the North East.
  • Advising on a novel and complex demerger of the independent school, St John’s College School, from a higher education institution, St John’s College, Cambridge.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP advises the full range of charitable organisations across multiple sectors with particular strength in education, housing, leisure and the arts. Other core areas of sector expertise include culture and ecclesiastical. Alison Talbot has extensive experience in charity law and governance and has also advised charities on several high-profile Charity Commission investigations and inquiries. Joanna Bussell has considerable strength in advising charities in the leisure, arts and cultural sectors. Bussell advises on all aspects of charity law from the establishment of new start up charities to undertaking governance reviews for existing charities. Aiden Hargreaves-Smith acts for various institutional charity clients including individual parishes and clergy as well as Bishops and Cathedral Chapters.

Practice head(s):

Alison Talbot; Joanna Bussell

Other key lawyers:

Aiden Hargreaves-Smith; Darren Oliver


‘Field leaders in ecclesiastical law. I don’t trust any other firm to know the complexities of it the way I trust WS to know it’.

‘I principally work with Darren Oliver, who has a wealth of knowledge and applies it well. He is willing to look at the practical realities of situations as well as the black letter law’.

‘Joanna Bussell is the lead partner and is undoubtedly the leader in the charity and not-for-profit field. She is able to call on, and organise, her colleagues in other practice areas, such as HR, property, finance etc to great effect, to give a great all-round service’.

‘Joanna Bussell is knowledgeable, helpful, precise and swift in all the work that she does for us, and has a unique commercial insight that she brings to the field. She also has a thorough understanding of other related fields, such as local government and other related sectors. We consider Joanna to be a vital member of our team, and she has been essential to help our organisation deal with all the issues we face’. 

Key clients

Christ Church, Oxford

Wiener Holocaust Library

Oxford Centre for Mission Studies

Archbishop of Canterbury

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

Artists’ General Benevolent Institution

Knepp Wildland Foundation

Staffordshire Cricket Limited

Camden Highline

St George Plc

Rossendale Leisure Trust

Tower Hamlets Community Transport

Tonbridge and Malling Leisure Trust

Enable Leisure & Culture

Staffordshire Cricket Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Camden Highline on the £100m park in the sky for London. This is one of the UK’s most exciting infrastructure projects, inspired, in part, by the New York Skyline.
  • Advising Staffordshire Cricket on the advantages and disadvantages of charity registration culminating in the Cricket Board registering as a charity in December 2021.
  • Advising Tonbridge and Malling Leisure Trust on the management and operation of Leybourne Lakes. This is an expansive Country Park in Leybourne, including woodland, open space and lakes for water sports activities and fishing.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

‘The ‘highly recommendedMalcolm Lynch leads the large and specialist team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP that acts for a broad spectrum of regional, national and international clients. Key areas of work including advising on charity governance, corporate foundations, international charities as well as advising on grants and social financing. It is skilled at helping faith-based and health-based charities as well as arts, culture and heritage charities. Other core areas of expertise lie in conservation and environmental matters as well as community led housing. Sylvie Nunn is also well-regarded and advises on a wide range of charity law matters.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Sylvie Nunn; Laura Moss; Elizabeth Wilson


‘The practice specialises in supporting charities and is particularly adept at supporting community-led housing organisations like ourselves. They have a broad spectrum of knowledge encompassing charity, corporate governance and property law’.

‘Laura Moss was quick to respond, succinct and very understanding of what we required. It was clear she had an in-depth knowledge of organisations like ours, built up from years of experience and plenty of time spent doing the spade work at conventions and other events where the sector meets. This, we were able to get what we wanted on budget and within time’.

‘As far as we are concerned , Wrigleys gives an excellent service and is a very good Charity law firm which is what we require. We feel the lawyers are interested and care about their clients, at least that is our experience. They are generally young, hardworking and efficient’.

‘The individuals we have worked show a caring attitude and really take an interest in the charity, always providing good legal advice. They are also approachable, friendly and easy to work with. We have done a lot of work on fairly big projects with Elizabeth Wilson and found her approach very thorough with obviously a good up to date knowledge of Charity Law’.

Key clients

Blue Ventures Conservation

Canopy Housing Project

The DLA Piper Charitable Trust

The Eaton House Foundation

Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches Trust Corporation Limited

Fair4All Finance Limited

London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust

Opera North Limited

Penny Appeal

Royal Welch Fusiliers Regimental Museum Trust and The Royal Welch Fusiliers Regimental Collection

Regent’s Park College

Sisters of the Cross and Passion

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Under the direction of Dominic Curran the charities team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is known for its work with faith-based charities; for its national and international charity work (especially for those charities in the health and social care sectors) as well as for its regular interim manager appointments by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Other core areas of focus include advising on the financing for charities as well as fundraising for charities (by way of corporate partnerships, lotteries and grants). Anna Dabek advises on a range of complex employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Curran

Other key lawyers:

Anna Dabek

Key clients

Spinal Injuries Association


Kent Wildlife Trust

Adoption Plus

Kent Wildlife Trust

Charity Commission re Alternative Animal Sanctuary


National provider of learning support and care for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities

Social Mobility Toolkit – multiple clients

Work highlights

  • Assisted Barnado’s by negotiating an agreement with the Dfe, drafting and negotiating the subcontracts with certain partner charities, and drafting the project extension agreement, related to ‘See, Hear, Respond’.
  • Advising Kent Wildlife Trust on various matters such as  environmental work.
  • Advising Adoption Plus on various matters.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP acts for some of the largest household name charities, not-for-profit and social enterprise organisations in the UK alongside some smaller charities. With offices in London, Thames Valley, the South coast and Wales, it is well equipped to advise on a wide spectrum of issues from governance and safeguarding to advising on amendments to Royal Charters and statutory charitable bodies. Legal director Ben Brice heads the department and senior associate Kirsteen Hook is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ben Brice

Other key lawyers:

Kirsteen Hook


‘Responsive, sensitive, timely, knowledgeable. Partner and associate engaged well on a modest piece of work that was important to us as a small charity’.

‘The depth of their knowledge and expertise in charities is second to none. They also pay attention to detail which I need them to be good at as I am bad at it! They have picked up inconsistencies which we had never seen and shown us how to correct them. Magnificent service’.

‘Kirsteen Hook has been fantastically helpful, clear and has detailed knowledge and experience. Other firms have generalists who dabble; Kirsteen is an acknowledged specialist and extremely good at it’.

‘The team knows us well and consequently is able to provide good, targeted advice’.

‘Ben Brice and his team were very helpful, and thorough in their work for us’.

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

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

Forsters LLP

The charities and not-for-profit team at Forsters LLP forms part of the firm’s private wealth practice and provides charity law advice to a wide range of clients including operational and grant-making charities, public bodies (in particular local authorities) and individuals seeking to develop their philanthropic plans. Fiona Smith heads the department that includes Neasa Coen. It has an established track record of providing charity and tax law advice to high-net-worth individuals in the context of donations and the establishment of charities.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Smith

Other key lawyers:

Neasa Coen

Hunters Law LLP

The well-established team at Hunters Law LLP stands out for its particular speciality in safeguarding issues through Dominik Opaliński, who is adept at advising on safeguarding audits and investigations. Paul Almy heads the department and is recommended for his advice to charities on governance and regulations as well as commercial, employment and property matters. New addition to the team from IBB Law Paul Ridout has advised faith organisations of all denominations as well as charities in the scientific, cultural and health sectors. Wilfrid Vernor-Miles is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Paul Almy

Other key lawyers:

Dominik Opaliński; Paul Ridout; Wilfrid Vernor-Miles


‘Hunters has a decades long history of involvement in charity and not-for-profit entities. Dominik Opalinski is the go-to person in this firm for such work. He is an immensely hardworking, tenacious and innovative lawyer. No set backs put him off. He persists to the end of the processes he has devised, deploying his personal charm and ability to persist in explaining the advantages inherent in the advice he has provided to his clients’.

‘A large company able to deal with the vast array of services we require across our business, education, charity, investment and property departments. Our very long involvement with Hunters indicates the very good service we have received over many, many years. The service we receive across all sectors is excellent and they maintain our interests at all times’.

‘They have a thorough understanding of the Charity sector and in particular our specific Charity and history. We deal with Paul Almy as senior partner, who has worked with us for many years’.

‘The team has clear experts in their chosen field. Sound, practical advice is given and responses are always prompt and easy to understand. Paul Ridout is a joy to work with. He is approachable and his responses are always practical whilst demonstrating his deep knowledge of his subject area’.

‘This is a niche firm with good experience in charities, trades unions and kindred organisations’. 

‘Paul Almy, senior partner, is a confident lawyer with high diplomatic skills’.

‘Dominik Opalinski, partner, is enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile for his clients’.

‘Competence. Good use of ZOOM and other technologies, friendliness. The concern they have for our problems and the good advice. Dominik Opalinski stands out for us’.

Key clients

Musicians Benevolent Fund (t/a Help Musicians UK)

Ursuline Sisters Brentwood CIO

Institute of Biomedical Science

WeProtect Global Alliance

Chartered College of Teaching

Leaders of Worship and Preachers Homes

Guarantors of Brain

Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors

The churches and charities team at Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors is well-known for its work with churches and religious orders as well as Islamic charities. With Gerald Kidd at the helm the group is well-equipped to handle a broad range of matters with particular strength in charity property matters. It also assists numerous smaller and medium charities. Alexa Beale advises many religious charities on complex property matters. Michele Price  is now at gunnercooke LLP.

Practice head(s):

Gerald Edward Kidd

Other key lawyers:

Alexa Beale; Chris Perkins; Aliya Sahadevan


‘What I really like about PWW is that it is very much a person orientated firm and very friendly. My experience is that they have responded very well to all my queries and questions. They have real knowledge and experience of the Charity sector and especially in my experience religious charities’.

‘Individuals, who eagerly undertook our legal requirements responded quickly and in a friendly manner to our correspondence. No individual ever gave the impression of being preoccupied, always attentive to requests. Chris Perkins is friendly, eager to assist and very efficient’.

‘They are able to deal with complex legal issues at a reasonable price and also remain personable because they are a small firm’.

‘Gerald Kidd, Alexa Beale and Chris Perkins are all excellent with a wide breadth of knowledge. They are marked out because they are not too specialised but still with a depth of knowledge in many areas which means you can receive holistic advice whilst remaining very personable’.

‘The people who I normally deal with, particularly Alexa Beale have always been very helpful and supportive. Alexa responds to my queries promptly and is always at the end of the phone if I need further explanation or support. Documents have been produced quickly and any work done has been detailed and thorough’.

‘Alexa Beale is so personable and helpful. She is easy to get hold of and never makes you feel she is too busy to talk to you and help you. If I send something to her late afternoon, I quite often receive a response/documentation from her after what are recognised as normal working hours. I feel she fights your corner and has your best interests at heart, which is always encouraging’.

‘I think the whole PWW team is very responsive to the charity’s needs. They have a range of expertise so can help us with a wide range of areas’.

‘I have dealt mostly mostly with Aliya Sahadevan who I have found to be very friendly, efficient, thorough and reliable’.

Key clients

International Grant Making Charity

Creative Arts Charity

Educational Charity

Local Heritage and Archival Charity

The Passage

Providence Marian Company

Temporary Housing Charity

Work highlights

  • Registered a new Educational Charity with the Charity Commission within 2 working days.
  • Advised a Local Heritage and Archival charity on a Memorandum of Understanding with a Local Authority.
  • Negotiating a high value lease on behalf of a big charity known as The Passage.


VWV fields a large team of specialist lawyers across its offices in London, Bristol, Watford and Birmingham. It advises more than 1000 charities of all types and sizes with a particular specialism in advising health and social care charities. In addition it acts for 50 universities and is also recommended for its work with faith charities as well as independent schools. Other strengths include advising high-net-worth individuals on their philanthropy strategies and advising public sector bodies on charity law and charity trusteeship. Paul Voller and Con Alexander are among the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Paul Voller; Con Alexander; Chris Knight; Shivaji Shiva


‘Good understanding of the charity sector and, in particular, mergers’.

‘Very good knowledge of the charity sector based on many years’ experience. No problems over the last two years in working wholly remotely’.

‘I have worked extensively with Paul Voller. As an audit and general practice partner in a firm of Chartered Accountants I seek someone who is approachable and has a considerable amount of expertise if I am to recommend them to my charity clients. In Paul I have found someone that I am very happy to recommend to any of my charity clients, knowing that they are in safe hands and are sure to get along’.

‘This is a competent and helpful firm covering all legal areas with which I am concerned. The individuals with whom I work are very co-operative responding well themselves and calling upon colleagues for swift answers where necessary’.

Key clients

Allchurches Trust

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

YMCA Trinity

Work highlights

  • Advising the British Library in connection with the acquisition of a collection of manuscripts and other artefacts of historic national importance.
  • Advising Nuffield Health on regulatory and compliance matters.
  • Advising the UK charity arm of an international social investment group in connection with the financial reorganisation of its major Africa project.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has an established practice in safeguarding, governance and regulatory investigations and has particular sector expertise in education, health/care and religion. The practice acts for many household name charities and is increasingly advising government departments, local authorities and commercial bodies where charity law and governance has an impact on large-scale projects and programmes. Jo Coleman is highly regarded for her work on all aspects of charity law and governance. Emma Moody specialises in governance and constitutional issues for charities. The group is well-placed to handle matters nationally through its different offices in the UK and internationally through its US links.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Coleman; Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Harris


‘Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has particular expertise in working with Charities and not for profit organisations. They have an in-depth knowledge of this area of practice and helped my Charity with a complex merger with another Charity’.

‘Responsive, knowledgeable and excellent communication skills across their team. They have been supportive and reassuring throughout their work easing through a complex merger in straightforward and uncomplicated language. Jo Coleman and Joseph Harris were exemplary in their help and support. I valued their extensive knowledge and understanding of the issues and the helpful explanations and communications throughout the process. Also the humour’.

‘Takes time up front to understand the organisation’s strategy and values. Very responsive’.

‘Jo Coleman has been a superb business partner as we have set up the charity’.

‘The team at WBD has a superb knowledge of charity law and regulation and almost as important, can suggest pragmatic and workable solutions to the many issues facing charities’.

‘Jo Coleman has an unrivalled knowledge of the charity sector and what makes good governance. She is adept at explaining matters to trustees and dealing with complex issues’.

Key clients

BBC Children in Need

Which? / Consumers’ Association

Crisis UK

National Trust

Royal Academy of Engineering

Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul

Absolute Return for Kids (ARK)

National Benevolent Charity

Mental Health Matters

The Dogs Trust

National Energy Action

Board of Deputies for British Jews

The Cyrenians Limited / Changing Lives

Virgin Money Foundation

St John of God Hospitaller Services

Hay Festival

Royal College of Pathologists

Thomas More Project


Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling

Work highlights

  • Continues to advise BBC Children in Need in relation to a variety of legal matters including its initial assessment of grant making activity in the context of equality diversity and inclusion.
  • Advising Consumers’ Association (CA), the charitable parent of Which? Limited on the implementation of recommendations made after a substantial governance review by Dame Deidre Hutton including the preparation of new Articles of Association.
  • Advising Crisis UK on its merger with The London Pathway.

Druces LLP

Helen Freely now heads the department at Druces LLP that comprises lawyers from a number of disciplines as the previous head of the team, Richard Monkcom, is now a consultant. It acts for more than 60 charities across a range of sectors including animal, medical, religious and education. The practice also advises a broad range of HNWI individuals and philanthropists on the tax implications of their charitable giving and on setting up of family charities.

Practice head(s):

Helen Freely

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Cropley; Richard Monkcom


‘The team has a wide range of high-quality charity work (including matters with an international element)’.

‘Richard Monkcom has exceptional depth of knowledge and experience’.

‘Caroline Cropley has excellent instincts and knowledge. Both are easy and pleasant to deal with’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP frequently advises charities, NGOs, foundations, social enterprises and multinational corporate clients on their charitable and philanthropic activities. Richard Norridge leads the group that advises on the full array of issues that often have an international dimension. Recently it has also advised on social investments and it has been busy providing disputes and reputation management advice to international and local charities. Rebecca Perlman is another key member of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Richard Norridge

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Perlman; Matteo Yoon


‘It has been a great team and has provided us with invaluable advice and support over the last years, particularly helpful in our pandemic response to support the social enterprise sector’.

‘They’ve been thoughtful and helpful in every way’.

‘They are collegiate and laser sharp in their analysis. Although they were working pro-bono, they treated us as a client. Matteo Yoon was a particular pleasure to work with, responsive, efficient, reassuring’.

‘Highly professional service. The team has enough experience to give guidance by providing alternative solutions and helping with the decision process without interfering’.

‘Excellent follow-up. Clear and concise communication. Always available when needed. Patience with answering lots of questions in a clear way’.

Key clients

Médecins Sans Frontières UK (MSF)

Queer Britain Museum Limited (“QB”)

Social Tech Trust (“STT”)

Jangala Limited (“Jangala”)

Little Village

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

UNHCR, the Refugee Agency

Surrey Docks Farm


Anti Tribalism Movement

University of Makeni (“UNIMAK”)

United Kingdom for UNHCR (“UK4UNHCR”)

The Lumos Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Queer Britain Museum Limited (“QB”) on various matters including the establishment of a trading subsidiary.
  • Advised Social Tech Trust (“STT”) on its investment into Xploro, a health information platform that uses augmented reality, gameplay and artificial intelligence to deliver health information to young patients, in a way which reduces stress/anxiety and makes them feel empowered, and informed.
  • Advised Big Issue Invest (“BII”) on its role in and the documentation regarding the National Lottery’s Social Enterprise Support Fund.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams fields a ‘very experienced and responsive’ team under the guidance of Howard Dellar. Its work spans involvement in communities across the country from churches, schools and housing associations to social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Clients include unincorporated bodies and corporate clients. Khalid Sofi has particular expertise in advising clients that are linked to Muslim communities while Ian Blaney is adept at advising on the interaction between charity, education and church law.

Practice head(s):

Howard Dellar

Other key lawyers:

Khalid Sofi; Ian Blaney; Ella Westby; Lina Rodriquez


‘LBMW provides a wide spectrum of services and has an in-depth expertise in all of them. 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 addressed’.

‘LBMW excels at maintaining relationships by instilling confidence through the quality of their 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’.

‘Lina Rodriguez – exceptionally efficient and adept in all matters pertaining to the conveyance of property. Manages ambitious deadlines and complex negotiations with consummate ease and reliability’.

‘Ecclesiastical Law is specialised, and the team is able to offer a breadth and depth of experience, understanding and sympathy for legal work in this field. The range of wider experience and advice from other specialism in the firm, when required, is a benefit as well’.

‘Ian Blaney is generous, diligent, careful and care-filled in the exercise of his work. He brings real expertise alongside genuine commitment to our work. He is both clear and creative: a much appreciated colleague’.

‘Khalid Sofi is very experienced in the sector with particular expertise in and knowledge of Islamic religious charities’.

‘Khalid Sofi is very knowledgeable about current issues in the sector, particularly internal trustee disputes which raise religious and cultural issues, and sensitive to clients’ needs’.

Key clients

Al-Khair Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Al-Khair Foundation  on restructuring its legal structure for various entities, reviewed its governance policies and procedures and is now instructed to implement the new legal structure.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP advises on the full array of issues for its charity clients. Ian Davis heads the department that acts for major charitable funds as well as large and innovative charities that raise funds from contracts or from charging the beneficiaries of their services. Helen Briant has a strong reputation for fraud investigation and recovery work. Sharron Webster provides corporate advice to a wide range of charities while Emma Burrows specialises in all aspects of employment law for charities.

Practice head(s):

Ian Davis

Other key lawyers:

Emma Burrows; Helen Briant; Sharron Webster


‘One of the things I value most with our relationship is that I can ask all the daft questions without being made to feel daft. We also receive a very responsive service’.

‘We have worked with a number of individuals but my main contact is Emma Burrows, I can’t tell you how highly I value this relationship. Emma is supportive, pragmatic and kind in all of my dealings with her’.

‘As workloads change and new depts of T&H have been worked with, it is apparent that the standard of service is extremely high across all teams. The company’s ethos and values are modern and partnership working is valued. Challenging work areas are welcomed with a solution the objective. Would never hesitate to recommend this company who really stand out amongst the competition’.

‘More professional and knowledgeable about their specialist area. Willing to help resolve challenging situations and give a comprehensive, easy to understand work plan in terms of solving a problem. Friendly, accessible and nothing is ever too much bother’.

‘Helen Briant brings a litigator’s outlook to what can often be a sleepily conducted area of disputes. She is also able to take on contentious appointments. Helen Briant is a cut above the competition and is unafraid to get contentious’.

‘The team is long established with senior partners that have been with the firm a long time and have developed credible personal brands through their own work. They are able to offer great input at various price ranges that are not in anyway sub-par’.

‘Emma Burrows is a standout leader in her field. I have worked with her through various roles in my career and look forward to doing so in the future. She is a trusted ally of boards and CEOs for her ability to deliver clear, concise advice in context of the sector and its long term impact’.

Key clients

Aster Foundation

Tech She Can

Save the Children UK

Plymouth Diocesan Trust

Active Prospects

Museum of London

Rochdale Borough Council

Aurora Nexus

Sign Health

The Strawberry Hill Trust

Caterham School

Work highlights

  • Advising Plymouth Diocesan Trust on additional benefits it may be able to receive from incorporation. Additionally, advising the Trust in relation to legacies.
  • Acting for Museum of London on the relocation of the Museum from London Wall to new premises in Smithfield Market.
  • Instructed by Signhealth to review a contract that it proposed to enter into with the NHS to deliver mental health services through British Sign Language (BSL).

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises a substantial number of national charities in all types of disputes and an array of contentious trusts and probate matters. Exeter-based Robert Horsey has a wealth of experience in all aspects of contentious trusts and estate administrations. Practice co-head Kerry Morgan Gould who is also based in Exeter is recommended for her work on a range of contentious charities matters. John Toth heads the non-contentious charities offering and is based in London.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Morgan-Gould; John Toth

Other key lawyers:

Robert Horsey; Barny Croft


‘They are very clever, very good lawyers, very approachable and very good value for money’.

‘Barny Croft and Kerry Morgan-Gould are both exceptional, Barny in particular is a very good contentious probate specialist’.

‘Ashfords understands and supports the charity sector, rather than simply feeding off it. The service is accurately tailored to each client’s needs’.

‘Kerry Morgan-Gould is the consummate contentious charities trusts and estates performer. She can cope with the biggest cases, and the most intense disputes’.

‘Barney Croft has built an excellent reputation in the sector, and the team can rely on the encyclopaedic knowledge of John Toth, too. Everything is covered’.

Work highlights

  • Representing a leading national health charity in respect of a challenge to the validity of the last known Will of a testator.
  • Acting for four charities and advising the Trustees on making an application to the Charity Commission for an ex-gratia payment.
  • Acting for a large Hospice charity defending a 1975 Inheritance Act claim brought by the deceased’s adult, estranged daughter.

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Boodle Hatfield LLP continues to enjoy a steady stream of instructions from its high-net-worth clients and trustees advising them on charities and philanthropy programmes. It is adept at advising corporate clients and family offices on structuring their philanthropic initiatives as well as liaising with the Charity Commission and acting as trustees. The group under the leadership of Eleanor Sepanski is also increasingly advising on alternative not-for-profit structures and digital platforms in addition to governance issues and CRS planning for companies.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Sepanski

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP has a new head of department with the addition of Bristol-based Emma-Jane Dalley from VWV. The group is particularly known for its work with health and social care charities and education charities as well as charities carrying out public functions, and has strength in all aspects of governance. Gill Weatherill and Alistair Robertson are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Emma-Jane Dalley

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Robertson; Gill Weatherill; Anne-Marie Gregory


‘A genuine interest in the charity sector in general and the development of our organisation in particular. This is demonstrated through its pro bono work and commitment of staff to supporting community projects through volunteering’.

‘ Anne Marie Gregory – thoroughly professional, personable, responsive and communicates clearly and in accessible language. Always looking to help us by explaining how we can rather than why we cant’.

‘They are client focused, clear conversations about billing, very supportive, highly capable. Anne Marie Gregory is a standout lead’.

‘We have known Emma-Jane Dalley for many years – she is enormously experienced in our sector (not-for-profit social care) and is always sensible, pragmatic and reliable. Overall, she is a safe pair of hands’.

‘Very responsive and accessible, and well resourced with competent people at all levels. Alistair Robertson – very calm and thoughtful, with excellent judgment. A pleasure to work with’.

‘I’ve worked with Emma-Jane Dalley and found her superb. Emma-Jane Dalley provides superb legal support in a manner which is understandable, focused on the key issues and friendly and is therefore value for money’.

‘This is a really smart, ambitious team, populated by efficient, empathetic lawyers who are masters of their subject. Emma-Jane Dalley has been a brilliant recent hire. She gives straightforward, expert advice and works incredibly hard for her clients’.

Key clients

Nuffield Health

Greensleeves Homes Trust


Children’s Trust

Disabilities Trust


St Anne’s Community Service

Department for Education (in relation to its relationship with charitable providers)

Newcastle University

Sheffield University


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

Novalis Trust

Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Girls Day School Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised on the agreement between Banksy and Southampton Hospitals Charity for the donation of his artwork Game Changer and its subsequent sale with the proceeds going to the NHS Charity.
  • Acting as sole advisers to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health a charitable chartered body, and currently liaising with the Privy Council Office about regulated amendments to the RCPCH’s charter and bye-laws.
  • Advised a charity in relation to a high profile statutory inquiry involving safeguarding concerns and cross-border considerations, which was subject to international press scrutiny.

Edwin Coe LLP

Edwin Coe LLP advises on a broad array of issues and has increasingly been working in the area of philanthropy by structuring and establishing new charities for private individuals and families. With its private client department it is skilled at assisting on cross-border tax and trust matters. Practice head David Goepel advises on issues such as the powers and duties of charity trustees and other areas including advising overseas charities seeking to establish a UK base. Alison Broadberry also plays a pivotal role in the department.

Practice head(s):

David Goepel

Other key lawyers:

Alison Broadberry


‘They have excellent interpersonal relationships, maintaining good connections and rapport even years after our work with them’.

‘Edwin Coe is a very professional, progressive and yet friendly practice which has always provided me with a positive and effective service’.

‘The individuals are high quality, knowledgeable and accessible to clients’.

Key clients

Salvation Army International Trustee Company

Theatre Royal Haymarket


Coram’s Fields

Work highlights

  • Providing cross-practice advice relating to the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s in-house education charity on the conversion from a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee.
  • Advising  Coram’s Fields (a leading children’s charity) on governance and restructuring matters which will include the formation of a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation as part of the restructuring.
  • Having a co-ordinating role for African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative which is a pan-African educational charity, including advice on the international governance structure.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for a number of high profile bodies in the fields of science, medicine and research as well as other substantial registered charities in the UK and commercial companies seeking to establish corporate foundations. Under the leadership of Glynne Stanfield and Paul Pugh the team continues to be busy in a number of other key areas from advising banks lending to charities to advising on commercial collaborations with the not-for-profit sector. Stephen O’Reilly has recently been promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Glynne Stanfield; Paul Pugh

Other key lawyers:

Stephen O’Reilly


‘The team delivered on time and on budget and wrote a comprehensive and excellent report that showed a clear understanding of our business purpose’.

‘Stephen O’Reilly was extremely knowledgeable about the areas in which advice was sought and was happy to go the extra mile to translate the legal requirements of our project into practical advice that could be understood by non-lawyers’.

‘Stephen O’Reilly is a very practical lawyer. He provides sound and useful advice, and has extensive experience to call upon. He is always available when needed’.

‘For a charity, the approach from Eversheds Sutherland is hard to beat. They possess in-depth knowledge of charity law and best practice, and a working knowledge of the governance arrangements for a wide range of different charities. In addition they are also able to call upon specialists in other areas, eg property, when necessary’.

‘They have the wisdom to know when they do not have the required expertise, and therefore cannot advise. Counterintuitively, this makes me more likely to use them in future, knowing I will only get the best advice’.

‘Stephen O’Reilly is my main point of contact. He is extremely knowledgeable, but also an easy person to deal with. He is prepared to stand up for the Charity he represents to ensure that decisions are always taken in the best interests of the charity’.

Key clients

Our Future Health

FIA Foundation

Turning Point

Founders of Global Pathogen Analysis Service Ltd

National Oceanography Centre

Laidlaw Foundation


Medical Research Council

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Richmond, The American International University in London, Inc.

HCR Hewitsons

Virginia Henley leads a strong education and charities practice at HCR Hewitsons that advises many charities on a wide array of matters from initial registration to growth and mergers. Henley is a member of the Interim Manager panel of the Charity Commission. Clients range from charities of all sizes (including Almshouses) to community interest companies and Oxbridge colleges.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Henley

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Cole; Saffa Mir


‘Stephen Cole was very attentive and helpful’.

‘Very professional, interested in our charitable aims and objectives, always responsive, efficient and totally reliable. Very good client care; excellent value for money’.

‘Virginia Henley is a real expert in the field of charity law. I have total confidence in Virginia’s ability to guide us through complex legal matters’.

‘Saffa Mir is very capable, personable and a pleasure to work with’.

‘Approachability, honesty and their uncomplicated plain English advice’.

‘Virginia Henley & Saffa Mir are outstanding and an absolute pleasure to work with’.

Key clients

SLG 2017

The National Association of Master Bakers

Charity Commission of England and Wales

Ending Impunity

The Isles of Scilly Museum Association

Mrs Ann Dutton’s Charity

Singlehurst Charitable Trust

The Analysis Trust

Le Ciel Foundation

The True Athlete Project Ltd

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP provides a full service to all types of charities across its six regional offices. Key types of work include advising on the establishment of charities as well as advising on people issues, estates work and intellectual property matters for charities. Neil Burton leads the team that has sector expertise in areas such as health, sport and education as well as being adept at advising on philanthropy and legacy matters. Rebecca Pallot and Andrea Newman have been recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Simon Pedley; Rebecca Pallot: Andrea Newman


‘Detailed and pragmatic knowledge’.

‘Neil Burton, Simon Pedley – responsive and reassuring, with a wealth of experience’.

Key clients

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation


Rothamsted Research

Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Francis Crick Institute

Institution of Engineering & Technology

Henry Smith

British Council

Wellcome Sanger

Work highlights

  • Advising the £6bn The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (“CIFF”) on endowment, charity governance and major overseas operations & branches.
  • Acting for the Institute of Engineering and Technology with 160,000 + members, advising on the full range of issues including charity governance, trading subsidiaries and other charity corporate governance matters.
  • Advised on the establishment of the new charity, Podium Analytics. The charity was founded by Ron Dennis CBE and officially launched at 10 Downing Street in September 2021.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Oxford-based Daff Richardson and Cambridge-based Hilary Aldred co-head the department at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP that is particularly well-known for its legacy work with various local and national charities. It is well-placed to advise on the full array of legal issues and also provides specialist advice to grant making charities. It is skilled at advising on the creation of philanthropic structures as well as delivering a wide range of guidance to exempt, excepted and registered charities on governance, regulatory and charity issues.

Practice head(s):

Daff Richardson; Hilary Aldred


‘The team has a particular strength in education and University work in general. They are fantastically organised and hardworking’.

‘Hillary Aldred is an outstanding lawyer and tactician, knows the law back to front and has an impressive following’.

Key clients

Christ Church, Oxford

Somerville College, Oxford

Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship

Pembroke College, Oxford

Reeds Foundation

Quadram Institute Bioscience

Cambridge Commonwealth European and International Trust

Right to Play UK Ltd

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind-t/a Sightsavers

The Licensed Trade Charity

Marine Stewardship Council

World Obesity Federation

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineers

The Pirbright Institute

The Company of Biologists

The Institute of Psychoanalysis

The Chartered Association of Business Schools

The Institute for Fiscal Studies

The Finzi Trust

The Consumers’ Association (t/a Which?)

Work highlights

  • Reviewed and negotiated the template services agreement with over thirty business schools and universities to deliver the Government’s £520m Help to Grow: Management Programme.
  • Advised The Pirbright Institute on compliance both with charity law and also UK subsidy control.
  • Acting for the Consumers Association (t/a Which?) on an intervention in the Court of Appeal case of Fiona Lorraine Philipp v Barclays Bank UK PLC.


Wilsons provides ‘consistently authoritative advice that is sensitive to the particular needs and obligations of charities’ and acts for over 600 charities with Gillian Fletcher at the helm. It handles all aspects of charity law matters and has a flourishing education practice. The team is well-equipped to handle child welfare cases and its legacy disputes practice is highly regarded. It is acting for a growing number of care homes in addition to having a strong presence in the military charity sector.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

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


‘This team is one of a handful of firms who are experts in acting for charities. They are extremely experienced in understanding the specific requirements of this sector. On top of that they are highly skilled lawyers who have real expertise in this area and fight their clients’ corner’.

‘James Aspden is an excellent lawyer who has taken cases for charities to the Supreme Court. He is good with clients but pragmatic and sensible about trying to settle matters. Charlotte Watts is also excellent-a really steely litigator’.

‘The go-to firm for Charity matters. Particularly the best for military charities – and they support many of the oldest institutions in the UK. They are really the leaders in the space, and treat clients with dignity and respect. Lead the way in advice in keeping the sector in line with good practice’.

‘Gillian Fletcher – calm, witty, erudite and fair. She stands out because when all around her are flapping she is so calm’.

‘Through experience, I have constantly been reassured by the consistently reliable advice and support. There is no doubting their expertise and therefore there has been no reason to look for alternative advice over the 12 years I have worked with Wilsons’.

‘There is a reason that so many top-ranking charities use Wilsons for their litigation work – they really understand the sector and the particular parameters that charities have to litigate within. They push when they have to push, but know when to flex’.

‘Excellent understanding of charity needs, the risks and PR implications of a matter. Fee structure is easy to understand and fees are very competitive and superb value. Outstanding Individuals; Peter Jeffreys, Charlotte Watts’.

‘Wilsons consistently provide authoritative advice that is sensitive to the particular needs and obligations of charities. Their handling of contentious Probate matters is of the highest quality.’

Key clients


Help for Heroes



Macmillan Cancer Support

Holland Park School


Royal Hospital Chelsea


Forces in Mind Trust