Charities and not-for-profit in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP is considered 'the leading firm in the North West for expertise in the charity sector'. The ‘dedicated and experienced team’ handles highly complex matters led by the ‘diligent’ and ‘attentiveStephen Claus, who also has experience in ecclesiastical law. Associate Graeme Hughes is also recommended. Robert Nieri joined from Freeths LLP in September 2018.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Claus

Other key lawyers:

Robert Nieri; Graeme Hughes


Up to date knowledge of the sector and great experience of the Charity Commission and their thinking. The fact that they look after so many charities means that they have a wide view of the sector and trends.

The team offers a bespoke service and are very accommodating and understanding of organisational context and complexities.

Graeme Hughes provides sound, pragmatic advice and attention to detail, whilst understanding the organisation’s requirements.

What is really helpful is the way that the different departments link in with each other in order to ensure that all specialist aspects of legal matters are considered.

Stephen Claus has a specialist charity law knowledge and experience that is quite unique in the sector and one of the qualities that singles Stephen out is the very pragmatic advice he gives.

Graeme Hughes has a very pleasant manner in dealing with clients – his breadth of knowledge has been invaluable.

Stephen Claus has provided an exceptional service to our organisation. He has extensive knowledge of the issues that challenge us. He is extremely responsive and flexible to the needs of our business.

Robert Nieri is a standout partner and an expert in his field. His advice is through yet easy to understand and to the point. He is our go-to lawyer for all charity law questions.

Robert Nieri is contactable, accountable, reasoned and objective.

The team are incredibly knowledgeable in charity sector law but also the emerging issues and direction of the charity commission – allowing you to plan effectively.’

Key clients

Addiction Dependency Services

Alexandra Palace Organ Appeal

An Hour for Others


Autism Initiatives

Campaign to Protect Rural England North Yorkshire

Carers Trust East Midlands

Chester Visual Arts


EMDR Association

Everton in the Community

Fisheries Society of the British Isles

Fleetwood Trust

Furniture Resource Centre

Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre

Grey Gables

Hoylake Cottage

Homes 2 Inspire

The Lauries Limited

League Against Cruel Sports


Liverpool Homeless Football Club

Manchester United Foundation

Mencap Liverpool

Michael Carrick Foundation

Murray Foundation

National Examining Board for Dental Nurses

North West Cancer Research

Passion for Learning

Petty Pool

Portico Library and Newsroom Limited

Professional Footballers’ Association Charity

Prospects Services Limited

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Blackburn Limited

Shaw Trust

Sir Josiah Mason’s Almshouse Charity

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Smart Works Charity

St Ann’s Hospice

Trustees of Stand Unitarian Chapel

Turner Home

UKIM Communities, Development & Welfare Limited

Yardley Grange Care Services Limited

Yardley Great Trust

Youth Federation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Chester Visual Arts on the conversion of the organisation from a community interest company to a charitable company.
  • Continuing advice to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation in relation to a range of matters.
  • Working with the Michael Carrick Foundation to introduce a standard grant making framework so as to ensure it is able to appropriately monitor its charitable application of funds.
  • Advising Passion for Learning CIC on the conversion of the organisation from a community interest company to a charitable incorporated organisation using legislation introduced in 2018.

Counterculture Partnership LLP

Known for its 'expertise in arts and culture as well as charities law' the team at Counterculture Partnership LLP is praised for being 'informed, professional and easy to work with'. The 'patient, empathetic and supportive' Keith Arrowsmith leads the practice, acts across a diverse range of areas handling matters relating to charity registrations, cultural tax relief and fundraising regulations. Sarah Bailey, former head of legal at The Tate, joined the team in March 2018.

Practice head(s):

Keith Arrowsmith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Roberts; Sarah Bailey


‘The firm combines in-depth knowledge as well as an empathy for us as an organisation.’

‘Essential experience of the challenges our sector faces, and the development of practical and pragmatic solutions.’

‘Experienced and highly credible team who are always prepared to provide bespoke quality help and guidance.’

‘Aside from the very personable approach that they bring, there is such a wealth of expertise and skill.’

‘Friendly and compassionate.’

Key clients

Southbank Sinfonia

Children’s Media Conference

British Youth Music Theatre

The Clay Foundation

NUS Students’ Union Charitable Services

National Operatic and Dramatic Association

Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust

Community Transport Association UK

Cornwall Museums Partnership

Voluntary Action Sheffield

National College for Creative and Cultural Industries

Creative and Cultural Industries Ltd

The Clore Leadership Programme


Matt’s Gallery

Ministry of Stories

Design and Artists Copyright Society

Hillsborough Area Sports Association

Mid-Ulster Community Services Ltd t/a Out & About

Woodhorn Charitable Trust

The Porthcurno Collections Trust t/a The Telegraph Museum

Work highlights

  • Provided charity law, governance and company secretarial services to the British Youth Music Theatre for its rebranding and move to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
  • Ongoing and sometimes urgent advice to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and its member organisations on theatre related legal issues.
  • Governance advice to The Clore Leadership Programme and its fellows.
  • Advised Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust in relation to its role in the £50m redevelopment and restoration of Buxton Crescent.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's cross-discipline charities team, which acts for more than 250 charities and continues to attract new clients, is committed to helping them achieve their commercial goals while maintaining high ethical standards and managing their reputation. Paul Knight, who jointly leads the team with Simon Pedley, was promoted to partner in June 2018. Senior associate Rona McPherson is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Paul Knight; Simon Pedley

Other key lawyers:

Mark Ashton; Rona McPherson; Sarah Whyman



‘Very knowledgeable and experts in their field.’

‘This team’s strength is their commitment to meet our deadlines with expert advice provided on a full range of commercial contracts and data protection matters.’

Key clients

British Council

BBC Children in Need


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Big Lottery Fund

Greater Manchester Sports Partnership

Advance HE

Snowdonia National Park Authority

The Mountain Training Trust

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Pannone Corporate LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP has a cross-departmental charities and not-for-profit team which brings together commercial, procurement, corporate governance, finance, real estate, IP, IT, dispute resolution and employment expertise. The department, under the leadership of Steven Grant, advises a large number of charitable and other social enterprise clients on a broad range of issues, from  registration to corporate structures through to transfers and dissolution. Bill Dunkerley joined as director from Keoghs LLP in December 2018.

Practice head(s):

Steven Grant

Other key lawyers:

Jack Harrington; Nicola Marchant; Fiona Hamor; James Wynne; Sarah Bazaraa; Alexandria Winstanley; Gareth Birch; Stephen Mutch


‘A very experienced legal firm – the support we receive is second to none.’


Key clients

The Road Safety Trust and its trading subsidiary UKROEd Limited

Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust

Big Life Group

PRS For Music

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Wythenshawe Forum Trust Limited


Manchester Community Centre

Manchester Foster Care Association


North West Community Services Ltd

UK Biobank

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Greater Manchester Community Basketball


Addleshaw Goddard

At Addleshaw Goddard, private capital partner Yorke Eaton is known for his expertise in advising charities on a wide range of matters such as the establishment and registration of new entities, governance and trustee issues, commercial contracts, charity land transactions and restructuring issues. The department also advises banking clients on the taking of security over charity land and assets.

Practice head(s):

Pervinder Kaur (Leeds)

Other key lawyers:

Yorke Eaton

Key clients

National Coal Mining Museum

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Bedingfield’s Trust

NFU Charitable Trust

Browne Jacobson LLP

Led by the Nottingham-based Catherine Rustomji, Browne Jacobson LLP offers the full range of services to its clients in the charity sector. The team has recently seen an increase in instructions relating to governance and the establishment of corporate foundations. Kerren Daly advises on employment-related charity work, while Dominic Buckley handles property-related charity matters.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Rustomji

Other key lawyers:

Kerren Daly; Dominic Buckley


‘Catherine Rustomji is warm, friendly and a safe pair of hands.’

Key clients


Pharmacist Support

West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity

UK Coaching

The Running Bee Foundation

Breathworks CIC

Disabled Living

Droylsden Little Theatre

High Peak Theatre Trust

Kidneys for Life

The Manchester Young People’s Theatre Limited (Contact Theatre)

Railway Benevolent Fund

Early Break

Charities Trust

Yorkshire Cancer Research

Work highlights

  • Advising longstanding charity client Pharmacist Support on a range of matters from charity governance and best practice, to employment compliance and property arrangements
  • Advised West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity on the transition arrangements from one legal structure to another and related advice concerning property ownership.
  • Serving as exclusive legal adviser to Birtenshaw on matters including charity law and governance, employment and HR, property and commercial issues.

Hibberts LLP

Michael Young leads the department at Hibberts LLP, which focuses on complex charity and unregistered conveyancing work. In these matters it is assisted by the firm's agriculture and commercial property departments.

Practice head(s):

Michael Young

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a diverse range of large, medium and small charitable not-for-profit organisations as well as social enterprises across sectors including health and education, offering advice on a range of matters covering corporate, property and governance, among others. Mark Fitzgibbon enjoys a good reputation in the local market, while Jeff Middleton advises charities on employment-related matters. Paul Baker advises clients on tax-efficient philanthrophy while schools head Luke Green works with academy clients.

Practice head(s):

Mark Fitzgibbon; Jeff Middleton; Paul Baker; Luke Green

Key clients

Big Life Group

Greenwich Leisure Limited

The People’s Trust (Greece)

Delta Philanthropies

Parkwood Holdings Limited

Manchester Literature Festival

Amnesty (UK) Group



New Brighton Cricket & Bowls Club

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

Led by Graham Wood, Kuit Steinart Levy LLP's practice provides a comprehensive service for charities and not-for-profits, with particular expertise in the establishment of new charitable trusts, Charity Commission registration and governance and constitutional matters. The team also advises charities in relation to commercial contracts, commercial property and employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

Graham Wood

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Clyne

Key clients

The Stoller Charitable Trust

The Morris Feinmann Home Charitable Trust


Mivke Charitable Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised DanceSyndrome on taxation, governance and compliance issues.
  • Advised on all of the legal arrangements for the Stoller Charitable Trust, which has been involved in the establishment of the UK’s first proton beam therapy centre.