Working for a variety of household national charities, as well as social housing providers, the Brabners LLP team handles complex governance issues, reorganisations, mergers, and new charity incorporations, offering 'in-depth knowledge of charity legislation'. Headed up by the 'supremely knowledgeable and competent' Stephen Claus, who has particular expertise in ecclesiastical law, the department also includes Robert Nieri and associate Graeme Hughes, who provides clients with 'thoroughly researched, accurate, and clearly presented' advice. The team continues to win clients across the Midlands and London, as well as the North West.
Charities and not-for-profit in North West
‘Excellent team from all aspects concerning charity activities.’
‘The firm’s practical knowledge and expertise are second-to-none in charities law.’
‘Stephen Claus has a depth of knowledge in dealing with ecclesiastical charities and trusts which surpasses anyone else we have previously dealt with.’
‘The team are knowledgeable, caring individuals with the ‘human touch’ who offer expert, sound, practical advice. The practice operates an efficient service.’
‘Excellent understanding of our business with an interest in our future plans and ambitions. Very responsive.’
‘Stephen Claus has provided excellent advice and support to our organisation over a number of years and has an excellent understanding of our focus. He works consistently to ensure we are viewing the longer-term implications of any short term decision making.’
‘Stephen Claus and his team are superbly accommodating and thoroughly appreciative of the challenges of the charity sector. I would have no hesitation in recommending Stephen or any member of his team to people seeking the best legal counselling in the charity sector.’
‘Stephen Claus is not only a supremely knowledgeable, competent and expert lawyer in his field, at the end of the day that is what we pay him for, being a leading voice in our sector. The main reason we moved our services to Brabners LLP is that he’s also a good person to know and we get on well, never demonstrates that he hasn’t got time for you. The business relationship is strong, clearly defined and enjoyable. Wouldn’t work with anybody else.’
‘The Brabners team offers in-depth knowledge of charity legislation and practice and has the ability to relate that knowledge to the particular needs of individual charity organisations. The team also offers regular updates on charity law and practice issues and these are well-presented and informative.’
‘Graeme Hughes is very approachable, well-informed, and has a pleasant sense of humour too! He has produced thoroughly researched, accurate, and clearly presented information to the organisation I represent and he is always on hand to explain certain courses of action/recommendations which may not be within our immediate understanding. Graeme is patient and nothing seems to be too much trouble for him and the Brabners organisation.’
Age Concern West Sussex
Autism Alliance UK
Birmingham City Council
British Society for Heart Failure
Campaign to Protect Rural England North Yorkshire
Carers Trust East Midlands
Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Chester Visual Arts
Chester Municipal Charities
Community Integrated Care
Edward Mayes Almshouses
Everton in the Community
Fisheries Society of the British Isles
Furniture Resource Centre
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre
League Against Cruel Sports
Liverpool Homeless Football Club
Manchester United Foundation
Merchant Taylors Schools
Michael Carrick Foundation
MAB Charitable Trust
Mobberley Parish Council
National Examining Board for Dental Nurses
North West Cancer Research
Passion for Learning
Petty Pool Trust
Portico Library and Newsroom Limited
Prestbury Village Hall
Professional Footballers’ Association Charity
Pumping Marvellous Queens School Chester
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Blackburn Limited
Sir Josiah Mason’s Almshouse Charity
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Smart Works Charity
St Ann’s Hospice
Stratford Upon Avon Municipal Charities
The Rainford Trust
Trustees of Stand Unitarian Chapel
UKIM Communities, Development & Welfare Limited
West Kirby Residential School
Yardley Grange Care Services Limited
Yardley Great Trust
Youth Federation Limited
- Advising Sir Josiah Mason Almshouses on a complex acquisition of Almshouse charities.
- Advising Stand Unitarian Chapel on a complex incorporation of a charity established in the 18th century and associated land registration issues.
- Advising Hoylake Cottage on the acquisition of a domiciliary care company and the subsequent registration of a company limited by shares as a charity.
Counterculture Partnership LLP
Counterculture Partnership LLP is a specialist firm with a strong track record in advising clients in the region’s creative industries including the cultural, heritage and education sectors. Clients include umbrella organisations, charities, not-for-profit organisations, commercial companies and sole traders. Keith Arrowsmith leads the team, which acts on a diverse range of matters including charity registrations, cultural tax relief, governance and leadership matters, fundraising regulations, capital projects, and finance and tax issues.
‘A specialist firm dealing with all matters pertaining to the Arts and Culture sector and charitable organisations. Their expertise in our area of operations is evident and invaluable.’
‘The individuals I have had contact with have been extremely professional, efficient, friendly, accessible and responsive in all matters, giving a great level of information in an understandable manner. Both Keith Arrowsmith and Grace Astbury have been particularly impressive.’
‘Because they have roots in the cultural sector, Counterculture understand how arts institutions work, and the challenges they face, they bring an invaluable broader view into the equation. Their expertise enabled what seemed like a daunting task for us as a small/medium-sized institution to become something feasible.’
‘Laura Marsden and Keith Arrowsmith at Counterculture are a great team to work with – they were responsive, knowledgeable and very adaptable to challenges of the project we were working on. They were able to tailor their help to the resources we had in-house and were really a fantastic team to have to support us through some complex issues.’
‘I can not sing their praises enough; they were like a breath of fresh air.’
Jermyn Street Theatre
National Union of Students
National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Voluntary Action Sheffield
Creative & Cultural Industries Limited
The Clore Leadership Programme
Leeds Culture Trust
The Photographers’ Gallery
- Advised The Photographers’ Gallery throughout its successful application to the DCMS to be granted approval under immunity from seizure provisions for any future exhibitions.
- Advised Leeds Culture Trust on all aspects of establishing its operations, including company secretarial support, commercial and staff contracts and ongoing charity governance best practice.
- Assisted Blackpool Grand Arts & Entertainment Ltd with creating a trading subsidiary for theatre production; prepared appropriate investment and contractual agreements to comply with both charity and tax and employment law.
Paul Knight and Simon Pedley jointly lead the cross-disciplinary team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises many of the UK’s largest charities on international projects. Knight focuses on data protection issues, IT matters and commercial contracts, while Pedley specialises in dispute resolution, dealing with defamation cases, reputation management disputes and contested legacies; he also provides advice on trustee decision-making processes and general regulatory matters. Senior associate Rona McPherson is another name to note.
‘I appreciate the variety of experience and understanding that Mills & Reeve have. Over the years, I’ve contacted them on a number of occasions with often very different questions and each time they have been able to help. ‘
‘I worked closely with Paul Knight and Rona McPherson; they both showed excitement and enthusiasm to work with me to find a solution, which was really appreciated.’
BBC Children in Need
Alan Turing Institute
Greater Manchester Sports Partnership
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Snowdonia National Park Authority
Institute of Directors
Hallé Concerts Society
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
James Milner Foundation
- Advising BBC Children in Need on the legal implications of providing corporate partners with increased control and visibility over how funds are used.
- Advising Nesta on grants and contracts relating to the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, and on data protection issues relating to activity at the What Works Centre.
- Advising on a major project to improve governance and contracting arrangements at the Alan Turing Institute.
As well as providing traditional charity law advice, Addleshaw Goddard regularly acts for clients who are entering into commercial contracts with charitable bodies. The department also advises banks on charity land and asset issues, and acts for clients in Charity Commission investigations and inquiries. Private capital partner Yorke Eaton is the name to note.
Other key lawyers:
NFU Charitable Trust
Leeds Becketts University
- Providing pro bono support to a high-profile charity in relation to its commercial arrangements with corporate supporters and sponsors.
- Providing governance advice to the trustees of a charity established by and connected to a large Plc, including an analysis of the charity’s current constitution, considering its current and future objectives, and advising on the options for the future.
- Advising a charity on the appointment and retirement of trustees and advising on the distribution of significant funds to a large-scale overseas charitable project in pursuit of the charity’s objects.
Browne Jacobson LLP's team is headed by Nottingham-based Catherine Rustomji, who is an experienced charity lawyer specialising in constitutional, governance and regulatory issues. The firm primarily acts for clients in disputes and advises on contract and competition law. A key lawyer who assists with matters from the Manchester office is Dominic Buckley.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent service. Very proactive and speedy in response as well.’
‘Polite, helpful and good at explaining the more technical details to a layperson.’
‘They have a can-do no-nonsense approach and turn work around in a very good time frame. They are communicative and nice to deal with.’
‘I greatly value the approach and professionalism of Catherine Rustomji – to the point of continuing to use her services after moving charities. Catherine has a down to earth style which does not compromise the credibility of her advice or knowledge, she is approachable and affable and has a warm manner that is second to none.’
‘Extremely good knowledge of the charity sector and understanding of what it’s like for their clients who work in a charity.’
‘Catherine Rustomji is very understanding with regards to billing, timetabling of work, giving excellent, easy to understand, not long-winded, practical and useful advice.’
York Archaeological Trust
Contact Theatre/Manchester Young People’s Theatre Limited
West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity
Families First North East
Outreach Community and Residential Services
Cheshire Centre for Independent Living
YHA (England and Wales)
Sir Francis Nethersole Charities
North East Theatre Trust
- Advising York Archaeological Trust on all governance queries (including a proposed governance review and ongoing matters concerning members), sensitive employment issues, and commercial and IP matters regarding charity ventures.
- Advises Birtenshaw on a range of property, construction, commercial, litigation, employment and regulatory matters.
- Advising YHA (England and Wales) on the refinance of its entire commercial property portfolio with HSBC, acquisitions and restructuring of high-value properties, and the creation of a new YHA and National Landscape Centre.
At Hill Dickinson LLP, charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises of varying sizes are acted for on a range of matters including commercial issues, group structuring work, insolvencies, property mandates, constitutional and governance issues, employment matters and compliance work. Mark Fitzgibbon leads on most of the firm’s charity-related matters.
Other key lawyers:
Big Life Group
Parkwood Holdings Limited
The People’s Trust (Greece)
Open Hands Open Heavens
Manchester Literature Festival
Amnesty (UK) Group
Greenwich Leisure Limited
ARICD (formerly known as Association for Research in Infant and Child Development)
- Providing The Big Life Group with ongoing commercial and charitable legal advice, including on the potential restructuring of the various limbs of the group, which is considering its position around retaining legally discrete charitable entities.
- Established Open Hands Open Heavens as a company limited by guarantee with charitable (religious) objects and then successfully registered at the Charity Commission in March 2019.
- Advised the trustees of Delta Philanthropies on a number of overseas funding initiatives and constitutional matters.
Pannone Corporate LLP's charity and not-for-profit offering draws expertise from its commercial, corporate governance, finance, real estate, IP, IT, dispute resolution and employment departments, and advises clients on a broad range of issues. Steven Grant is the key contact.