Charities and not-for-profit in North

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP provides a full range of services to charity clients nationwide, including advising on corporate governance, fundraising, mergers, employment, property and tax issues. The firm is particularly well known in the sports and education sectors. The ‘outstanding advocate in charity law and businessJohn Devine leads the practice and specialises in sports and finding innovative solutions to legal issues for high-profile clients.

Practice head(s):

John Devine


‘Due to Muckle’s size they are able to tap into a wealth of specialists.’

‘The practice has a real understanding of the operating environment and takes the time to get to the root of issues rather than looking for a quick fix.’

‘Whatever the task Muckle engages with the appropriate resources efficiently and effectively.’

‘John Devine has deep knowledge of and empathy with the charitable sector.’

‘George Festing always takes care to really understand all the elements of an issue.’

Key clients

The Great North Air Ambulance Service

The Alnwick Garden Trust

The Greggs Foundation (official affiliated charity of Greggs PLC)

The Premier League Charitable Fund

North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead music venue)

Chelsea FC Foundation

British Airways’ Concorde Club

The Auckland Castle Trust

Tyneside Cinema

St Cuthbert’s Care (incorporating The Alan Shearer Foundation)

Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF)

Newcastle University Students’ Union

Mental Health Concern (Concern Group)

QPR in the Community Trust

parkrun Global

Work highlights

  • Advise The Auckland Castle Trust to preserve the castle as a visitor attraction in Bishop Auckland. Work includes advising on the incorporation of a project-related trading subsidiary including appropriate legal structures, different types of trading, governance issues and property issues.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is known for its work for education, healthcare and religious charities, as well as particular expertise in transactional matters. The ‘solicitor par excellenceEmma Moody leads the practice and is ‘energised and positive’ as well as ‘well networked’ in the area. Her team includes managing associate Samantha Pritchard, who specialises in advising on the complex area where charity law and public law coincide, offering ‘clear and reassuring advice.'

Practice head(s):

Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Pritchard


‘Positive, confident engagement and the team takes the time to understand the business.’

‘Very quick to respond and support, providing a full service.’

‘Highly recommended, if clients want a job done well, go to Womble Bond Dickinson.’

‘This is a niche area of law and the firm has a depth of knowledge and experience that seems to outweigh its competitors.’

‘Emma Moody is extraordinarily committed to the client. She is also very accessible and very straightforward to deal with.’

‘Sally Cooper is very professional and client focused.’

‘Samantha Pritchard deals with challenging and difficult situations with ease. She has developed a novel governance model that is practical and reflects instructions exactly.’

Key clients

Crisis UK

Newcastle City Council

British Mountaineering Council

Ampleforth Abbey and St Laurence Education Trust

Gateshead College

Charity Commission – Cardiff Sixth Form College (now Cardiff Educational Endowment Fund)

East Durham College

Bauer Radio Cash for Kids Charities

Zedra Trust Company

Durham University Students’ Union

Northumberland County Council

Leeman Road Millenium Green Trust

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation

Percy Hedley Foundation


Mental Health Matters

Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School

St John of God Hospitaller Services

William Leech Foundation

Church Marketplace for Roman Catholic Dioceses

Work highlights

  • Advised Crisis UK on a review of its governance arrangements resulting in the adoption of new Articles of Association which better reflected its current working practices.
  • Supporting Newcastle City Council in transferring the city’s parks to a newly created charity called Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust.
  • Instructed (after competitive tender) to support a specialist governance committee to undertake a constitutional review to address some structural issues at the British Mountaineering Council.
  • Emma Moody was appointed by the Charity Commission as interim manager for St Laurence Education Trust, as well as the Ampleforth Abbey Trust, with responsibility for safeguarding following concerns about the adequacy and effectiveness of safeguarding at Ampleforth.
  • The Charity Commission opened an investigation into Cardiff Sixth Form College, identified serious regulatory concerns and appointed Emma Moody as Interim Manager of the charity to the exclusion of all current and former trustees in November 2016.

Sintons LLP

Full-service firm Sintons LLP is best known for its work with religious organisations. The firm also specialises in advising private clients on the formation and administration of charitable funds. Experienced commercial lawyer Amanda Maskery leads the team that includes Laura Peace, who has expertise in ecclesiastical property transactions, faculty work and church sharing agreements.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Maskery


‘Sintons is a highly efficient and effective law firm.’

‘Sintons is excellent. Good quality advice and work, delivered on time and with reasonable costs. Highly recommended.’

‘Paul Liddle handles requests with professionalism.’

‘Claire Morgan has tact, diplomacy and skill.’

‘Claire Morgan provides excellent personal attention and a real sense that the business is important to her.’

Key clients

Church of England – Newcastle Diocese and Carlisle Diocese

United Reform Church (Northern Province)

Family Gateway Trust

Charlotte Straker Project

North of England Civic Trust

The Auckland  Project

Eleven Arches

North East Council on Addictions

Church Commissioners for England

Methodist Church Managing Trustees

Work highlights

  • Representing Family Gateway in saving Howdon Community Centre from closure by North Tyneside Council.
  • Advising The Cyrenians Limited (operating as Changing Lives) on an agreement for loan from funds operated by The Big Issue to fund capital requirements for the provision of accommodation for entrenched rough sleepers.
  • Full-service provision to The Auckland Project and related charity, Eleven Arches (responsible for the spectacle “Kynren”).

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway provides a charities property practice and a charity employment practice, with experience advising registered and exempt charities and social enterprise clients on a range of issues, including governance, grant making, mergers and legacy management. The firm also acts for public, corporate and private sector clients in dealings with charities and social enterprises. Practice head Fiona Wharton has experience representing registered and exempt charities, as well as trading subsidiaries. The team also includes Gaynor Jackson, who specialises in advising charities on contentious and non-contentious matters related to trust and estate issues.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Wharton

Other key lawyers:

Gaynor Jackson

Key clients

We Love Manchester Emergency Fund

Newcastle University

CISV International

Sherburn House Charity

Changing Lives

Finchale College

Virgin Money Foundation

Sir James Knott Trust

Newcastle University Development Trust

County Durham Community Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee board of Virgin Money Foundation on governance issues, trustee’s roles and responsibilities.
  • Advised Newcastle University on the permanent loan of the personal and business archive from Sir Terry Farrell, the well-known architect, to the University, on contractual and charity law matters.
  • Advised on the sale of the existing Finchale Training College site.  Provided advice on disposal of permanent endowment assets including liaison with the Charity Commission as well as general property and related advice.
  • Advising Sherburn House Charity on its incorporation, which is one of the oldest registered charities in England and has substantial permanent endowment assets.
  • Advised University of Newcastle Development Trust on the legal arrangements for new investment management arrangements, obligations and framework for the Trust.