Charities and not-for-profit in North

Muckle LLP

The team at Muckle LLP provides a full service to over 400 active charity clients nationwide; John Devine focuses particularly on those in the sporting sector while Joanne Davison takes the lead on instructions from the education industry. Work handled by the firm ranges from advising on corporate governance matters, restructuring, fundraising, trading and mergers, to assisting with commercial, employment, property, construction, regulatory and tax issues. Samantha Roberts acts as the lead adviser to parkrun Global, and advises this core client on a range of charity, commercial and data protection matters.

Practice head(s):

John Devine

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Davison; Samantha Roberts


‘Excellent range of expertise available within the team. All team members we have dealt with have had a very thorough understanding of our entity and of our sector (faith charity).’

‘Muckle are able to provide the full range of advice we need as a regional charity, with their knowledge of charity law being especially beneficial. They also have good links with other local professional advisors so if we need, for example, employment and tax advice, they will work collaboratively with external advisors to help us develop considered solutions. The provision of up front cost estimates and full transparency in billing allows us to manage our costs and ensure value for money for the charity.’

‘I have received advice, guidance and support from John Devine and Samantha Roberts from Muckle for many years now. The personal touch in all matters is exemplary, along with sound legal advice.’

‘Without exception, every person I have dealt with has been responsive, efficient and provided high quality advice.’

‘Always respond to queries swiftly, always willing to meet (virtually). Listen closely to ascertain our concerns, so that they are specifically addressed alongside the giving of broader legal advice.’

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

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)

parkrun Global

The Football Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advising The Football Foundation on the national roll out of the £200m Parklife facilities project launched initially by The Football Association.
  • Advised City Football Group, owner of 10 professional football clubs worldwide including Manchester City FC, on the global implementation of its charitable “Cityzens Giving for Recovery” fundraising programme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advising parkrun Global and its UK and overseas subsidiaries on all legal matters.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

'Expert knowledge of the charity sector and its regulators' marks out the 'exceptional' team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. The group provides strategic, regulatory, governance and operational advice to household name charities, particularly those operating in the education, health, care and religious sectors. The firm is also increasingly focusing on safeguarding governance and regulatory investigations. Much lauded practice head Emma Moody is described by one client as 'the best thing that happened' to them, while another said 'her influence has been transformative for the better'. Seasoned practitioner Joanne Coleman and managing associate Samantha Pritchard are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Coleman; Samantha Pritchard


‘The team know their stuff! They’re all responsive, knowledgeable and approachable. They don’t use lawyer-speak which makes it easy to understand, and are happy to explain legal terms in simple English.’

‘Emma Moody is professional, wise, hard-working and a team player. Her influence has been transformative for the better. She is also a pleasure to work with.’

‘Quite simply they are great people to work with. Ability to provide sure footed advice and guidance. Experience and knowledge of how the regulator works and what is going on in the charity world. Ability to quickly understand and get to grips with any new issue. Friendly, empathetic and responsive customer service.’

‘Emma Moody is astute and has very practical knowledge of the charity field. Superb ability to craft safeguarding structures in a charity context. Approachable, swift to respond. Engaged with local issues well, sense of real personal support.’

‘WBD are an exceptional firm. Approachable, reliable, keen to communicate complex legal matters in an understandable manner. Prompt to deal with client concerns. Very fair billing system. WBD have guided our community for over 11 years and we would never change firms.’

‘Emma Moody is a brilliant partner in the firm. She is our go-to person and has never let us down. She communicates complex legal matters in language easily understood by clients like us. Her business acumen is excellent. I can honestly say that she takes the legal burden from you and deals with matters quickly, efficiently, quietly, professionally and advises outside the box. Emma Moody is the best thing that “happened” to us.’

‘We have benefitted from the team’s expert knowledge of the charity sector and its regulators.’

‘Confidence and competence in the individuals at WBD is what stands out but all of this done with a sense that they are taking responsibility for advice and decision making. We have worked closely with Emma Moody at WBD and she has been exceptional in the quality of advice and the quality of the relationship that has been built. ‘

Key clients


Which? / Consumers’ Association

BBC Children in Need

National Trust

Katie Piper Foundation

United Synagogue

Humankind Charity

We Are With You (formerly Addaction)

Parkinsons UK

The Dogs Trust

St Paul’s Cathedral

The Royal Agricultural Society

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing support with a variety of legal matters to BBC Children in Need, including supporting the client with arrangements around the Big Night In, which was a partnership between Children in Need and Comic Relief, and raised £70m on the night itself.
  • Registered the Virgin Money with the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator to allow the client to expands its activities in Scotland and embarks on fundraising campaigns.
  • Working with the Consumers’ Association to implement the recommendations of a governance review, and supporting the work of a working party led by the new Chair.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

'Highly respected charity specialist' Fiona Wharton leads the team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP; she has particular experience advising on relationships with or spin outs from the public sector, as well as assisting various public sector bodies in their role as corporate trustees. Other areas of focus for the 'very diverse' practice include governance, contracts, mergers, fundraising and collaborative working issues. Claris D’cruz is singled out as a 'tremendous font of knowledge', especially when it comes to matters concerning the healthcare and education industries.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Wharton

Other key lawyers:

Claris D’cruz


‘Wrigleys have a strong charity legal team who are well versed to assist charities with all their legal issues.’

‘The practice is made up of a very diverse team of individuals coming from various backgrounds previously (in-house, charity commission, barristers) so their experience is invaluable and they offer practical workable solutions, as well as technical legal advice where needed. They also offer a huge breadth of experience and expertise on all charitable matters (from regulation, to dealing with the commission to education and trading) which is a very workable solution for a large organisation.’

‘Claris D’cruz is a tremendous font of knowledge on all things charitable, and is very personable and practical too. As a former barrister who has worked at the Commission and in-house, she has an amazing eye for technical detail; she has worked in-house and is also a trustee and school governor so she has lots of hands on previous experience so her solutions are workable and practical; and in private practice she offers training and advice to her clients. She is very personable and I enjoy instructing her on new matters and hearing her view.’

‘The ability to build personal relationships with the practice and having one point of contact for our legal and governance issues has been immensely helpful.’

‘Flexibility and response to urgent issues has been important and excellent knowledge in the areas we have required expertise. When dealing with Wrigleys there is a feeling of a small practice with bespoke and friendly advice.’

‘Fiona Wharton is a highly respected charity specialist in the North East, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is always a pleasure to deal with and I would have no hesitation in recommending her to my clients.’

‘My main contact at Wrigleys is Claris D’cruz, with whom I have had regular contact for over twenty years. She has a deep understanding of charity law based on vast experience and has successfully acted on a number of issues over the years. Both senior staff and governors have been immediately impressed with the prompt and excellent advice and service she has provided, including her concise and clear explanations of issues which governors needed to address.’

‘Fiona Wharton leads the legal team and she is extremely approachable, able to translate complicated legal issues and clearly communicate the steps needed to resolve the issues to clients. I know clients value this clear communication.’

Key clients

Society of the Sacred Mission Europe

The Burton Constable Foundation

The Virgin Money Foundation

Sherburn House Charity

Autism Research Trust

Youth Futures Foundation

Leeds Community Homes

Leeds Older People’s Forum

The Beulah Charity Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised the Society of the Sacred Mission Europe on the update of its governing document, with new articles now adopted, and advised on changes to the structure of the relationship with the Province in South Africa.
  • Advised the Burton Constable Foundation on its powers to carry out trading within the charity itself, particularly if the trading volume expanded, and advised on the potential for setting up a standalone trading subsidiary, its governance and future relationship with the parent charity.
  • Advised the Youth Futures Foundation on a number of matters, including the grant agreement with BBC Children in Need and its precedent grant agreements.