Brodies LLP maintains a stellar track record in the not-for-profit space acting for an impressive roster of Scottish and UK charities, including Turning Point Scotland, and the Scottish Charity Regulator. The full-service group which has an extensive geographical reach across key cities in Scotland, is jointly managed by experienced charities law practitioner Kenneth Pinkerton, who was elevated to the partnership this year, Brenda Scott and Eric Galbraith in Glasgow. Contentious issues are dealt with by litigator Christine O’Neill. Also in the core team is Martin Sloan who advises on data protection matters, and employment lawyer Lynne Marr. The group holds various higher education institutions and local governments as key clients.
Charities and not-for-profit in Scotland
Kenneth Pinkerton; Brenda Scott; Eric Galbraith
Other key lawyers:
Martin Sloan; Christine O’Neill; Lynne Marr
‘The team are excellent, and are highly recommended to any charity operating in the third sector. Their insights and knowledge of the sector and regulatory requirements is second to none.’
‘Kenneth Pinkerton lives up to his stellar reputation. His detailed knowledge of the regulatory landscape is unrivalled and he is an asset to any charity client.’
‘Their patience, experience and depth of knowledge has been appreciated. They have provided advice and assistance pro-actively, timeously and in a manner that is easily understood.’
‘The charities team at Brodies takes in the full range of legal specialisms. Kenneth Pinkerton, provides excellent ‘triage’ advice which is invaluable for charities which may not have the high levels of familiarity with the law required to determine the specialism needed. In addition, Kenneth’s speedy assimilation of issues is a key part of the onward introduction to, for example, the employment team, the property team etc.’
‘Kenneth Pinkerton has deep and extensive knowledge and understanding of the issues impacting on charities both large and small. He is careful to understand the context of those he is advising and asks insightful and helpful questions around the circumstances of issues. Kenneth adopts a strongly strategic and long term approach to ensure charities can protect their purpose and objectives in addition to addressing whatever the core issue may be. His commitment to supporting the third sector is apparent in everything he does.’
‘The team has a broad range of expertise and individuals are good at connecting you to the right person for your needs. They provide freely accessible services and pro bono work as well as paid-for services.’
‘Kenneth Pinkerton is our key contact and he is generous in sharing his expertise, very pragmatic and understands the context that charities work in. He is friendly and easy to deal with as well as having a high standard of professionalism.’
‘Christine O’Neill stands out as being of the highest credibility and expertise. She gets right to the heart of the issue and provides accessible, authoritative advice.’
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
University of Edinburgh
ENABLE Communities Group
Turning Point Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Advising the Scottish Charity Regulator on landmark appeals and in relation to mismanaged charities, including acting for OSCR in the first appeals, since its creation, to the Upper Tribunal and to the Inner House of the Court of Session against OSCR’s refusal to grant charitable status to two trading subsidiaries of the New Lanark Trust.
- Acting for Scotland’s biggest charity; the University of Edinburgh in a large amount of complex issues including: support to the University’s Student Conduct Team in dealing with capacity issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and charity advice in relation to joint ventures and projects.
- Advising Scotland’s animal welfare charity; SSPCA – including: advising in connection with the registration of a rogue domain name and its recovery.
Anderson Strathern is noted for its ‘excellent understanding of the sector’ and has strength in governance matters, regulatory issues and sustainable community projects. Practice head Victoria Simpson is regularly instructed on Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) investigations and compliance matters, and heads the team, which also features Audrey Cameron, from Edinburgh. Clients of the group include royal charter bodies, religious bodies and educational endowments. Douglas McLachlan advises both the public and private sector on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters including GDPR and data protection issues. Gillian Harkness-McKinlay is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Audrey Cameron; Gillian Harkness-McKinlay; Douglas McLachlan
‘Victoria Simpson is easy to deal with, offering well thought through advice in a calm, pleasant and easily understood way based on her considerable experience of working for charities and not-for-profit organisations.’
‘The charities team at Anderson Strathern have extensive experience in all charity matters and have been very helpful in relation to the charity governance considerations we have been dealing with.’
‘The individuals I have worked with at Anderson Strathern have been professional, well informed, responsive and friendly. They have been contactable via telephone, email and video call and have made the transition to working with a new law firm during remote working and COVID remarkably easy. Victoria Simpson at AS has provided an excellent service during this transition period.’
‘The individuals we dealt with were exceptionally helpful, professional at all times and quick to respond to communications. They provided clear advice and feedback on the work we required, and worked well with our team to get the finer details finalised.’
‘Excellent understanding of the independent schools sector. Very responsive, pragmatic and practical advice.’
‘The firm provides an integrated service, drawing on various disciplines as required. the service provision is well managed by the senior relationship manager.’
‘The Anderson Strathern practice exhibits and high degree of collaboration between teams. This ensures an individual with the most appropriate skills and experience is allocated to specific tasks.’
‘I have found all the individuals I have worked with approachable and helpful. My lead contact Victoria Simpson has gone out of her way on several occasions to assist with our issues.’
BTO Solicitors LLP
At BTO Solicitors LLP, the practice group is led by senior associate Marion Davis from Glasgow and acts for a range of charities, public bodies and charitable registered social landlords (RSLs) which remains its specialty. The team is also noted for its charity law expertise. David Gibson advises on commercial property matters whilst Caroline Carr is recommended for employment-related advice. Also in the core group is senior associate Douglas Strang who advises on contentious employment matters.
Other key lawyers:
David Gibson; Douglas Strang; Caroline Carr
‘This practice provides a professional and comprehensive service which is tailored to the third sector user.’
‘Their depth of knowledge across different fields is extensive.’
‘They are to be commended for their appetite and willingness to learn more about how the sector operates which in turn enhances the services they provide.’
‘They provided the most flexible, knowledgeable and efficient service . They showed a clear understanding of the complexities of the organisation they were working for and with. It was done with consideration and innovation.’
‘Marion Davis is an outstanding lawyer with a clear understanding of the sector having spent some time on secondment at OSCR.’
‘BTO’s charities team has extensive knowledge and experience of charity regulation and OSCR’s requirements and regulatory roles.’
‘BTO’s employment team provide first-class advice on employment issues alongside the charities team where employment law, governance and charities issues all intersect.’
‘Marion Davis is quick to respond, often accommodating a request for a Teams meeting or phone call on short notice and following up with written advice where required.’
Scottish Housing Associations Resources for Education (SHARE)
Milnbank Housing Association
KKL (Scotland) Charitable Trust
CLIC Sargent Cancer Care for Children
The Scottish Cremation Society Limited
Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
- Advising The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, (RNLI) on all matters relating to their Scottish interests, particularly their large number of lifeboat stations.
- Advising Scottish Housing Associations Resources for Education (SHARE) on a range of complex governance review issues during a period of change for the charity.
- Advising a trustee regarding the charity’s response to various queries raised by OSCR regarding governance, focussing on the best way forward with OSCR and for the charity more generally.
Burness Paull LLP
Showcasing strength in servicing corporate and commercial law aspects for charities, Burness Paull LLP acts for an impressive roster of clients comprising of household names and grass-roots organisations. Under the leadership of Graeme Palmer, the group has seen an increase in activity in the education sector, advising higher education institutions and public sector projects on legal structures and regulatory issues. Senior associate Emma Maxwell is known for work around transfer of operations in the sector. The team works closely with its real estate practice group.
Other key lawyers:
‘For charities and voluntary organisations in Scotland, Burness Paull are a long established leading firm, providing support and expertise. They have been a consistent partner in the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ free legal advice service and have also created template constitutions for charitable legal structures in Scotland. These have been invaluable for organisations setting up as charities across Scotland.’
‘Emma Maxwell is an extremely knowledgeable and approachable professional who is always willing to provide support to the charitable sector in Scotland. She is easy to work with and has a good understanding of the every day workings of all aspects of the sector.
‘Very good charity-specific knowledge and good, practical advice given, particularly in being able to deal with our charity’s relatively unusual structure. Quick responses to queries. The team is all really personable and lovely to work with.’
‘Big thanks to Emma Maxwell who has steered us through a number of changes in the year, responding quickly to queries with good, structured, relevant and practical advice. She has linked in to other relevant networks when needed (on matters she is unable to advise on) on a timely basis, which was much appreciated and ultimately hugely helpful.’
‘Everyone that we deal with past and present have/are always available to us when we need them. Every step of any activity is managed extremely professionally, and good guidance and support always available.’
‘No challenge is too big for the team that we deal with.’
Sanctuary Housing Scotland Housing Association Limited
Health and Social Care Alliance
Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust
Glasgow Science Centre
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
Development Trusts Association for Scotland
Beatson Institute for Cancer Research
Street Soccer (Scotland) Limited
- Advised Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association on its acquisition of Thistle Housing Association Limited.
- Advised Glasgow Science Centre on property arrangements during COP 26.
- Advised Cornerstone on industrial relations and trade union law.
Gillespie Macandrew LLP
‘Outstanding advocate’ Lianne Lodge oversees the multidisciplinary charities practice at Gillespie Macandrew LLP from Edinburgh and handles large mergers, wind-ups, reorganizations and governance issues for third-sector clients. The team advises charitable foundations, endowments and corporate clients, as well as advising high-net-worth families on succession planning. On the commercial property side, Nikki Dundas is the recommended contact focusing on property transactions, acquisitions and leading issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘Responsiveness, attention to detail and in-depth knowledge’
‘Lianne Lodge Head of Charities – Lianne really understands the challenges facing charities, is thoughtful in her responses to queries and always puts the needs of the client first’
‘I have worked with Lianne Lodge on a number of occasions on issues relating to different charities. Lianne is not only knowledgeable and supportive, she is very willing to work in partnership so that I will undertake some of the more detailed on the ground tasks and she undertakes the high-level legal support, thus significantly reducing the costs to the client but also increasing assurance for the charity and its trustees, and any regulators involved.’
‘Gillespie Macandrew provide great support and expertise to charities and voluntary organisations in Scotland, through the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ free legal advice service. Their knowledge in all aspects of setting up and running a charity has proved invaluable for voluntary organisations across Scotland.’
‘Lianne Lodge is an outstanding advocate for the charitable sector with a wide knowledge and understanding of governance and the day-to-day challenges of charitable trustees. She is down to earth and approachable, and very easy to work with. Also a great speaker and trainer, she has provided consistent and valuable advice to organisations large and small across Scotland.’
‘My experience with the team has been exceptional. I have witnessed how partners and trainees are working cohesively to achieve team goals and how through these processes their relationship to one and other remains equitable, efficient and generative. It is an absolute pleasure to work with their team. All of which have provided detailed help and legal assistance to our fledgling organisation throughout its formation as sottish charity.’
‘Through this partner, GM have provided help in establishing all areas of my organisations governance, have assisted in communications with regulating bodies, given support in-kind and provided recommendations to insurers and accountancy firms and red flag actions that could have put me in legal jeopardy; all of which have proven to be of the highest standard.’
‘Through the quality of work provided I am confident the foundations of my organisation are providing my employees with protection and that we are taken seriously as we start to negotiate new business relationships in Scotland. I trust this partner and am very grateful for all they have done for our charity.’
Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh
Mount Stewart Trust
Blair Charitable Trust
Earl Haig Fund (Scotland) – known as Poppy Scotland
Johnson & Johnson Foundation Scotland
North Berwick Trust Ltd
Scottish Veterans Garden City Association (Inc)
Black Watch Association
Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh
- Acting as lead counsel to Johnson and Johnson Foundation Scotland (JJFS) in connection with a significant cross border funds investment. The Fund had $30m in commitments and looks towards achieving an ultimate fund size of more than $100m.
- Advised Black Watch Association in relation to a merger with another charity The Black Watch Museum to form a new Black Watch Regimental Trust. Involved new constitutions, governance agreements, transfer of assets and staff, employment advice and liaising with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
- Advising a not-for-profit organisation around carving out charitable activities to a separate charitable organisation while safeguarding silver collections of national importance by arranging a gift of those assets to a third linked charity to ringfence the national silver from any issues within the operational charity.
Harper Macleod LLP
Harper Macleod LLP is regularly instructed by a diverse client roster comprising registered social landlords, faith-based charities, and trusts. Jointly managed by James McMorrow in Glasgow and Derek Hogg in Edinburgh, the team has demonstrable strength advising across the spectrum of matters leveraging its firm wide capabilities across employment law, as well on regulatory issues, governance matters and OSCR compliance. The wider team is made up of Jennifer Jack who acts in judicial reviews and senior associate Kelly Fraser who focuses on reorganisations and charity conversion issues.
James McMorrow; Derek Hogg
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Jack; Kelly Fraser
‘It is a team which is able to draw on its expertise across corporate, private client and litigation departments, all of whom are at the very top of their game. It is that ability to provide excellent service across multi-disciplines that makes Harper Macleod stand out from the other firms in Scotland.’
‘Jennifer Jack is brilliant at her job.’
‘They are knowledgeable and experienced and are able to distill often very complicated matters into information and advice that is readily understood by their clients.’
‘Great sector knowledge and covering a wide range of areas. A real one stop shop and great partners and staff. Very good at dealing with more contentious issues and difficult ones.’
‘James McMorrow. A real star and respected advisor. Our go to person on issues associated with governance, procurement, GDPR and FoISA.’
Kilravock Charity Trust
Grampian Housing Association Limited
Blackwood Homes and Care
National Autistic Society
Wheatley Housing Group Limited
Caledonia Housing Association Limited
Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership
Greenpeace International, Greenpeace UK, Greenpeace Netherlands
- Advised Glasgow City Council (GCC) on its procurement of an innovative £187m Homelessness Alliance Partnership agreement, including advice on all charity law issues.
- Advised Wheatley Housing Group, one of the UK’s largest housing groups, on a wide range of charity law issues concerning mergers, acquisitions and restructure exercises.
- Advised, RetailTRUST, the largest charity in the retail sector within the UK, providing a variety of services including wellbeing and hospice care, on a wide range of charity law compliance matters.
Lindsays acts for several large charities including campaigning organisations, grant-making foundations and charitable trusts on governance structures, OSCR compliance and constitutional reviews. Led by Alastair Keatinge, the group is well-placed to handle employment-related advice through specialists Ben Doherty (who heads the employment team) and Kate Wyatt who is regularly instructed by third-sector clients on disciplinary and grievance matters, dismissals and contract issues. Compliance and governance matters are dealt with by consultant David Dunsire. The health and social care sector continues to be the main area of activity for the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Ben Doherty; Kate Wyatt; David Dunsire
‘Their personal approach makes them unique. The regular newsletters are also very topical and have actions / considerations associated. They have very sound knowledge of the Charity Sector and this is very re-assuring.’
‘Their support during the pandemic was vital when there were so many new considerations and Lindsay’s always ensured we were aware of any change to employee practice when everything as so new.’
‘Kate Wyatt at Lyndsay’s is our nominated contact and we always feel re-assured with Kate’s support. This is delivered in an incredibly supportive manner, she is patient, direct when needs to be, reassuring and has a total understanding of our organisational legal needs.’
‘Kate Wyatt has built a relationship with us that has meant that we continually renew our annual contract based on the support she has delivered. Kate always updates us any legislative / employment changes and ensures that she has our interests considered. Our confidence in Kate as primary contact is the reason we have continued to engage with Lindsay’s.’
‘Alastair Keatinge and David Dunsire provide us with not just expertise and advice with charity law and HR but more importantly they do it with a person-centered relationship approach.’
‘The key values that I associate with Lindsay’s are integrity and their personal approach to relationship building rather than just being a client is a fundamental reason why i use their services.’
‘I believe the individual we work with (Alastair Keatinge) is the best in his field in Scotland. He is accessible, responsive, hugely knowledgeable and experienced, and also gives me the advice and tools to do things myself, rather than always rely on him to, for example, draft letters/emails or attend meetings.’
‘The team are all very approachable and accessible. They have a broad understanding of charitable organisations across the firm. They are compassionate and caring about their clients.’
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
The Merchants House of Glasgow
Leith Neighbourhood Fund
Stewart Ivory Foundation
Girl Guiding Scotland
The Chrichton Trust
Social Bite Fund
Melville College Trust
Carnegie UK Trust
St Columba’s Hospice Care
Fife Voluntary Action
The Clark Foundation for Legal Education
Bank of Scotland Foundation
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home
- Advised Girl Guiding Scotland on a wide-ranging governance review, which involved a thorough legal review of proposed new Constitutions for County and Branch Units, as well as the main Constitution of Girl Guiding Scotland.
- Advised and provided governance and training to St Columba’s Hospice Care, a leading independent provider of specialist palliative care in Scotland.
- Advised, the arts and heritage charity Culture Perth & Kinross on increasing its fundraising capabilities and on establishing a new entity that would be linked to the charity and would lead on fundraising.
MacRoberts LLP offers ‘excellent quality advice’ to Scotland’s largest charitable organisations and public sector bodies on constitutional structuring, governance issues and OSCR applications. The group also focuses on fundraising and funding practices for clients, which saw an uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overseen by Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor from Glasgow, the group holds education bodies, arts charities and housing associations among its key clients. Robin Fallas advises social enterprises and charities on contractual work and disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘MacRoberts offers a genuine client-centred approach, offering flexibility and a pragmatic approach to its work for this client.’
‘The team draws on the strengths of all team members and the level of professional supervision and oversight involved creates confidence in advice and guidance.’
‘The occasional Third Sector briefings that they offer are an excellent added value feature of this firm.’
‘Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor’s advice and guidance on Board Governance matters is always excellent and a delivered with a good blend of common sense pragmatism while ensuring compliance with all regulatory frameworks.’
‘The MacRoberts Charities team is an outstandingly committed group of professionals with legal knowledge grounded with real-life understanding of the challenges faced by those in the not-for-profit sector.’
‘Their accomplished professionalism in advising charities is tempered with an authentic dedication to supporting individuals and organisations to deliver public good.’
‘Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor’s expertise across safeguarding, data protection and fundraising is incredibly useful in addressing major external challenges for charity operations.’
‘Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor’s friendly, direct and authoritative style means advice is clear, comprehensive and concise, especially for clients who value straightforward guidance.’
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
Who Cares? Scotland
Winning Scotland Foundation
Drumchapel Housing Co-operative Limited
Air Ambulance of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Frontier Science (Scotland)
Peoples Postcode Trust
- Advising the (now twenty) Postcode Trusts (the “Trusts”) for the charity People Postcode Trusts on the Trusts’ funding activities, including advice and drafting on funding terms (managing beneficiary requirements and protecting the Trusts’ position) and advising on beneficiary eligibility.
- Advised the charity Air Ambulance for Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Trustees for any charity have a duty to ensure the charity is compliant with data protection laws as part of its general good governance.
- Advised The Royal Incorporation of Architect in Scotland with a number of governance and regulatory charity matters and are currently assisting wide range of commercial arrangements and are heavily involved in assisting in the commercialisation of their services, including advising in relation to information governance, data protection, consultancy services and IP.
Shepherd and Wedderburn
Shepherd and Wedderburn is jointly overseen by practice co-heads and accredited charity law specialists Malcolm Rust and Christopher McGill in Edinburgh and advises large charities on constitutional reviews, governance issues and operational matters. Over in Glasgow, co-head Alexis Graham handles charity formation work whilst Gillian Campbell leads the team in Aberdeen and is the contact for charitable trusts.
Malcolm Rust; Christopher McGill; Alexis Graham
Other key lawyers:
‘I cannot speak too highly of the professional standards, thoroughness, efficiency and effectiveness.’
‘Christopher McGill has been a pleasure to work with – very responsive to our needs, quickly grasped complex issues and provided thoughtful, pragmatic and useful advice.’
‘Highly professional but friendly service.’
;They take a genuine interest in what we’re all about. Always respond quickly to queries.’
‘The team at Shepherd and Wedderburn take great care to ensure not only that we align with our legal obligations (a given) but with best practice in the sector.’
‘For a charity that requires to fund raise and retain the trust of its donors, reputation is of real importance. Being able to show that we are following the highest standards helps. Furthermore, at a time when income streams have been badly affected by COVID, being able to call on the expertise of a team with a deep understanding of the issues impacting on the sector (and the solutions that others have tried) has been of real help.’
‘Malcolm Rust is superb at providing clear and cogent advice in a manner that really helps the Board of Trustees make decisions.’
‘The Charities and not for profit team are very experienced. I have found them to be very technically able. They are solution based, if an issue arises, they will come up with solutions to resolve the issue.’
Balfour+Manson LLP acts for faith-based organisations, and charitable organisations operating across the healthcare, education and sports sectors. Alan Gilifillan leads the group from Edinburgh and has expertise advising on both contentious and non-contentious work spanning commercial property matters to regulatory inquiries. Hugh Angus specialises in social housing, grants and public sector property projects.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent client relationship and knowledge of the charity sector’
‘Alan Gilfillan (Partner) provides a speedy and accurate service using understandable language!’
‘The firm does not have the largest not for profit practice in Edinburgh but they offer a combination of knowledge, good client service and value for money. Importantly, they do not try to create issues where none exist.’
‘I find Alan Gilfillan to be approachable, pragmatic and knowledgeable’
‘Thoroughly knowledgeable about the subject, quick to reply, giving reasoned advice with pros and cons.’
T C Young
T C Young has a specialism operating in the social housing sector and acts for various community regeneration organisations and charities involved in renewable energy projects. Accredited specialist Mark Ewing oversees the team, which advises on group structures, governance issues and housing law compliance. The team also handles commercial contracts. Managing partner Andrew Cowan is also a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Jacqui Baynham; Andrew Cowan
‘TC Young have a long-standing, collaborative and fully supportive relationship with our business.’
‘Managing partner Andrew Cowan is an exceptionally dedicated and trusted friend of our business.’
‘TC Young have in my recent and longer term experience provided professional, thoughtful and innovative advice and assistance to charities and third sector organisations.’
‘Mark Ewing and Jacqui Baynham are approachable and helpful.’
‘Mark Ewing and Jacqui Baynham are always available to answer any questions or queries that arise quickly. They provide an excellent legal service.’
‘Partners and staff always friendly and helpful. Trusted relationships easy to establish. Commissions completed timeously.’
‘Their advice is always measured, pragmatic and underpinned by their wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with social housing legal issues.’
‘We have worked with the team at TC Young for almost 5 years and they are highly professional, helpful, supportive and provide guidance and support when it is needed.’
Scottish Veterans Residences
Osprey Housing Limited
Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid
Doing it for Daniel Foundation
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Charing Cross Housing Association Limited
- Continuing to work with Erskine Hospital providing governance advice during a very challenging year for the care sector.
- Currently acting on behalf of Abbeyfield Scotland in a proposed Transfer of Engagements whereby we are assisting with the streamlining of the current governance structures by transferring the assets and liabilities of Abbeyfield Scotland Limited by way of a transfer of engagements in terms of Section 110 of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 to Blackwood Homes and Care.
- Assisted Scottish Veterans Residences with the recent streamlining of the current governance structures by combining the assets, activities and engagements which had previously been dealt with by Scottish Veterans Residences (a company limited by guarantee) and Scottish Veterans Housing Association Ltd (a registered social landlord) to become a single charitable registered social landlord.