Next Generation Partners

Charities and not-for-profit in Scotland

Brodies LLP

With an impressive client list that includes some of the biggest charities operating in Scotland, Brodies LLP‘s charities and not-for-profit team combines its full-service offering with an extensive geographical spread across Scotland’s major cities. Kenneth Pinkerton, praised for his ‘exceptional‘ knowledge of the charity law sector, jointly heads the team with Brenda Scott . Christine O’Neill takes point on contentious matters, while Martin Sloan advises a wide variety of charities on commercial, contractual and data protection issues. The firm also receives regular instructions from philanthropic and family foundations as well as Scottish regulators and larger corporate entities operating in the charity sector. Lynne Marr and senior associate Rebekah Leviston are other notable members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Pinkerton; Brenda Scott

Other key lawyers:

Rebekah Leviston; Lynne Marr; Martin Sloan; Christine O’Neill


‘Kenneth Pinkerton is an experienced and safe pair of hands, who knows what is required and how to deliver it. They are good at keeping us up to date with developments in the law and understand the complex needs of this type of charitable trust. Rebekah Leviston does much of the day-to-day trust administration work and does it very well, indeed interacting efficiently and pleasantly with the trustees and our other advisers, the accountants and land agents for example.’

‘They have excellent understanding of our needs as a charity client and also of the complexity of working with a charity. They bring a thorough approach to the review and drafting of documentation and are very willing to talk through issues in depth.’

‘They have been a great team to work with over the past few months. They have been willing to explain in detail any issues and be pragmatic at finding solutions. They have all been a pleasure to work with on what has been a complex set of legal documents in relation to a lease and the setting up of several companies.’

‘Kenneth Pinkerton is a standout adviser, he is our go-to charity law adviser in Scotland. He is an insightful, detailed and thorough adviser, who speaks directly to clients in a clear, binary manner, conveying his advice in relevant and accessible terms.’

‘Martin Sloan: Always helpful, great listener, provides answers, advice and suggestions in a way that his clients can easily understand.’

‘Kenneth Pinkerton is very experienced in the area of charity law and has gone to considerable lengths to help us disentangle our legal position vis-à-vis a related body. He is very approachable and accommodating, while giving us confidence in his advice.’

‘Kenneth Pinkerton is our key contact and is an extremely patient, knowledgeable and pragmatic individual, who has become almost an extension of our internal team as a trusted colleague. His knowledge and understanding of charity law is exceptional and his ability to pose thoughtful questions and offer knowledgeable insights is an asset to us.’

‘Christine O’Neill is an excellent communicator; her expertise across a broad spectrum of legal matters is exceptional. We enjoy working with Christine; she is a very credible and approachable individual, who takes the time to listen and engage with clients.’

Key clients

The Scottish Charity Regulator

University of Edinburgh

Maggie’s Centres

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh

Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The Scottish Garden City Housing Society Limited

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Camphill Social Fund

St Mary’s Music School

Work highlights

  • Sole legal adviser to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR); recently advised the client on investigations into the management at charities and misconduct by trustees; advised on its powers to publish reports of investigations and the risks of challenge; and provided governance and charity trustee training to the board alongside training to OSCR personnel.
  • Acting for Scotland’s biggest charity, the University of Edinburgh, on a large number of complex issues, including student discipline cases and policy matters, such as free speech and equalities; provided litigation support, data protection advice, employment law, charity law and VAT advice.
  • Continues to provide full-service advice to Scotland’s welfare charity, including governance and charity law, data protection and commercial contract work as well as leading negotiations with the union surrounding a job evaluation scheme.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern‘s multidisciplinary charities team advises clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious charity law matters with particular strength in complex governance and regulatory issues, investigations and crisis management. Practice head Victoria Simpson acts for a diverse roster of clients, including international and dual registered entities, while Gillian Harkness-McKinlay is noted for her expertise in governance and charitable development trusts. Audrey Cameron acts for charities in the education and public sectors, Barry Nichol specialises in employment issues, and Douglas McLachlan takes point on GDPR and data protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Harkness-McKinlay; Douglas McLachlan; Audrey Cameron; Barry Nichol


‘Quick and clear advice. Clear explanation of any risk involved in any particular course of action. Excellent knowledge and a wide range of partners covering every area, we have ever sought advice in.’

‘They approached our situation with an immediate understanding of a very challenging situation. Their attitude throughout was caring, professional and efficient.’

‘Victoria Simpson was our key contact. Her legal advice was very clear and always handled with empathy and compassion. Victoria provided excellent service, and I would not hesitate to seek her advice again.’

Key clients

University of Highlands and Islands

Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust

Eric Liddell Community


Federation of Scottish Theatre

The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

RS Macdonald Trust

YMCA Scotland

Edinburgh Napier University

Pet Blood Bank UK

Work highlights

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's charities team acts for a diverse range of public sector clients, registered social landlords, charities and other third sector entities. Acting for registered social landlords is a speciality for the team led by senior associate Marion Davis, a seasoned charity law expert, who ‘goes above and beyond‘ when assisting clients across the sector. On the commercial side, David Gibson advises major Scottish and UK-wide organisations on commercial property matters, while Laura Salmond and Caroline Carr specialise in sector-specific employment law.

Practice head(s):

Marion Davis

Other key lawyers:

Laura Salmond; David Gibson; Caroline Carr


‘Their availability was key in our dealings with this firm. Also their expertise in working with charities such as ours. There was always a back-up contact, should the main contact be unavailable. As a new and inexperienced board, we inherited some very complex situations, which were very overwhelming. This company was able to guide us through these complexities and help us understand the route that needed to be followed in order to make some very serious decisions.’

‘Our main contact was Marion Davis, who goes above and beyond in her dealings with us. She managed to steer us with priorities and actions that needed to be done to help unravel the situation we found ourselves in. The people, who provided advice and support, were excellent.’

‘Marion Davis is an outstanding lawyer with a deep understanding of the charity sector. She instinctively feels how the regulator will respond, and her insight and knowledge are extremely valuable.’

‘BTO has always delivered a first-class service. David Gibson is the lead partner on our account and he has built up a considerable wealth of knowledge of our organisation and he continues to provide excellent advice in a timely manner. David is supported by his colleagues in the corporate, IP and employment teams, all of whom have helped us greatly over the years with our routine and unusual ad-hoc legal requirements.’

‘It is the service provided that is outstanding. The firm responds to queries very quickly and very thoughtfully every time. They have a depth of knowledge.’

‘Our main contact is Marion Davis, who has a wide range of knowledge of the charity sector and always takes time to understand whatever challenge we have.’

‘We have excellent relationships with the partners and their respective teams. Time is always at their disposal and that is essential when you need that quick chat to either reassure you of a situation or indeed put actions into place.’

‘Our experience is that the team at BTO is able to cover all of our needs, which, as a charity, can be quite specialised. That is, there is someone with the right knowledge when you need it, including an understanding of the challenges charities face.’

Key clients

McSence Limited

Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust

Tigh A’Chomainn Camphill

Deafblind Scotland

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland SCIO

Scottish Housing Associations Resources for Education

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Rangers Charity Foundation SCIO

The Scottish Cremation Society Limited

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Island of Hoy Development Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising The Richmond Fellowship Scotland on a series of construction contract disputes in relation to a multi-million pound development and on all general property work.
  • Pursuing a court action for Quarriers in respect of its factoring role, the outcome of which may have far-reaching ramifications for factors more generally.
  • Ongoing advice to The Royal National Lifeboat Institution on its Scottish operations, including its large number of Scottish lifeboat stations.

Burness Paull LLP

Led by Graeme Palmer, the charities team at Burness Paull LLP acts for household names as well as grassroots organisations and newly established charities. The practice is noted for its strength in providing corporate governance advice and has recently been increasingly active in sector-specific education, social housing and renewable energy work. ‘Extremely knowledgeable‘ senior associate Emma Maxwell advises on corporate, commercial and charity law matters, while Emma Manson is a key contact for sector-specific commercial property law and dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Emma Maxwell; Emma Manson


‘I honestly cannot speak highly enough of them.’

‘Thorough in their approach at all times, extremely professional services. Deadlines are not missed, which is critical to the charity and ease of business. Diverse range of expertise available and extremely experienced how this applies to the charity practice.’

‘The team at Burness Paull is extremely approachable and no wrong door approach to get advice. The strength and diversity of the team allows quick responses and solutions.’

‘Recently, we have worked mostly with Emma Maxwell, who is always easy to talk to, knowledgeable and generally a pleasure to work with.’

‘Emma Maxwell provides focused advice and detailed knowledge of the third sector, on charity regulation and governance in a friendly and easily understood way.’

‘The charities and not-for-profit team at Burness Paull has extensive knowledge and experience. We have worked with them over many years and cannot fault their service.’

‘Emma Maxwell is extremely knowledgeable and approachable. She is highly skilled in being able to explain technical jargon to those who need to know their legal responsibilities as charity trustees.’

‘They have a client-centred and collaborative approach and understand the challenges faced by third sector organisations like ours. They have gone above and beyond what I might have expected on several occasions.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Crossdykes Community Services Limited

Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association Ltd

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)

National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS)

Scottish Football Benevolent Trust

Changeworks Resources for Life Ltd

Development Trusts Association Scotland

Link Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Crossdykes Community Services Limited and its charitable parent company, Crossdykes Community Benefits Limited, in connection with establishing the Crossdykes Windfarm community investment project.
  • Worked with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) to prepare an updated suite of template documents for various common charitable structures and accompanying guidance published on their website. The templates are accessed and used by many of SCVO’s members, including companies limited by guarantee, Scottish charitable incorporated organisations (SCIOs) and unincorporated associations.
  • Acting for National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) on various matters, including governance, general contracts (such as funding agreements) and employment.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

With particular strength in charity governance, incorporation and community asset transfers, the charities team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP is regularly instructed by a diverse client roster comprising charitable foundations, endowments and corporate clients. The ‘outstandingLianne Lodge advises charities and high-net-worth individuals on succession planning and oversees the practice from its Edinburgh office. Nikki Dundas and Chris Smith specialise in corporate and commercial advice, and Fiona Cameron takes point on contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Lianne Lodge

Other key lawyers:

Nikki Dundas; Chris Smith; Fiona Cameron


‘We will use them again without any hesitation.’

‘Lianne Lodge was very good to deal with in person and by email. She is a very professional and impressive lawyer. She created a lot of trust between us, I had total faith in her abilities, and she delivered.’

‘Gillespie Macandrew as a team is very approachable, listens to the clients’ needs and suggests a course of action that really addresses these needs and is proportionate to the size of the organisation and their scope of operation.’

Key clients

Mount Stuart Trust

Blair Charitable Trust

Earl Haig Fund (Scotland) – Poppy Scotland

Johnson & Johnson Foundation Scotland

North Berwick Trust Ltd

The Leeward Trust

Eliza Haldane Wylie Fund

Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh

Erskine of Torrie Institute

The Dewcross Centre for Moral Technology

Work highlights

  • Advising its long-standing client Mount Stuart Trust on various charity matters, including a review of its overall strategy.
  • Advising the Black Watch Association on its amalgamation of fellow military charity, the Black Watch Museum.
  • Advising the Johnson and Johnson Foundation in connection with a significant cross-border funds investment.

Harper Macleod LLP

Drawing on its firm-wide capabilities, Harper Macleod LLP offers faith-based organisations, registered social landlords and trusts ‘one-stop-shop‘ charity sector services spanning regulatory issues, employment law, governance matters and OSCR compliance. The team is jointly led by James McMorrow and Derek Hogg. McMorrow, based in Glasgow, advises clients on charity compliance, regulatory matters and reputational risk issues, while Hogg splits his time between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and focuses on governance and constitutional matters. On the contentious side, Jennifer Jack acts for clients on judicial reviews and appeals.

Practice head(s):

James McMorrow; Derek Hogg

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Jack


‘An excellent team with deep and varied knowledge.’

‘The team as a whole is very strong.’

‘They offer a one-stop shop across a range of areas and issues, which are relevant to our activities. They are sound advisors and able to look at the application of the law in a practical and even tactical manner.’

‘James McMorrow possesses extensive knowledge of issues relating to our activity and is able to communicate this to laypeople in a manner that enhances their understanding.’

Key clients

Kilravock Charity Trust

Bowls Scotland

ROHHAD Association

Grampian Housing Association Limited

Blackwood Homes and Care


Inspiring Scotland

National Autistic Society

Wheatley Housing Group Limited

Caledonia Housing Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Wheatley Housing Group Limited on all charity law issues associated with the restructure of a £657m syndicated loan facilities agreement; a £114m note purchase agreement with Prudential Assurance Company Limited and M&G; a £50m note purchase agreement with Barclays Bank plc; and a £50m note purchase agreement with BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited. Sector-specific work included advice on the grant of cross-guarantees by the various charitable members of the group funding arrangements.
  • Representing Greenpeace UK, Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Netherlands in various actions in the context of the climate emergency, including actions for interdict brought in the Court of Session by Shell, BP and Transocean Drilling relating to protests on oil rigs. One case involving Greenpeace UK also gave rise to an action for breach of interdict and contempt of court, which raised complex competing human rights issues argued before the court.
  • Assisted Culture and Sport Glasgow with a review of its board composition, skills and related governance arrangements, having regard to its status as a registered charity, including advice on charity trustee duties and related charity law matters.


Lindsays‘ multidisciplinary charities team leverages its strength in employment law, commercial property and dispute resolution to advise on the full range of charity-related matters. The team is regularly instructed by large and high-profile charities to assist with OSCR compliance, governance structures and constitutional reviews. The ‘exceptional’ Helen Kidd now leads the practice, having joined the firm from Brodies LLP in 2022. Employment law specialists Ben Doherty and Kate Wyatt act for third sector clients on employment tribunal claims, disciplinary procedures and contract issues, while Lynsey Kerr acts for charitable trusts providing assistance with their establishment, reorganisation and winding up.

Practice head(s):

Helen Kidd

Other key lawyers:

Lynsey Kerr; Ben Doherty; Kate Wyatt


‘Helen Kidd was a pleasure to work with and super efficient and knowledgeable. She understood the trust and always gave good and clear advice.’

‘Fantastic team.’

‘Helen Kidd deserves a mention, very approachable, helpful and so easy to work with.’

‘Helen Kidd sat on our governing board. Her openness, helpfulness, professionalism and dedication made her an exceptional member of the team.’

‘The team is very accessible with a “can-do” approach.’

‘Supportive. Honest. Pragmatic.’

‘There is a breadth of knowledge across the team giving access to many different aspects of charities’ needs, e.g. employment, contract, company law.’

‘Helen Kidd is exceptional and really knows the issues when it comes to dealing with charities. She is proactive, pragmatic and very responsive.’

Key clients

SAMH – Scottish Association for Mental Health

Sense Scotland

Carr Gomm

Chest Heart and Stroke (Scotland)


Scottish Autism

Carnegie Trust

Volunteer Development Scotland

With You

Hostelling Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Sense Scotland in relation to the successful defence of an employment tribunal claim for disability discrimination and breach of contract.
  • Acted for a large Scottish care charity acquiring a number of care/ assessment/ outreach centres operated by a UK charity in Scotland.
  • Advised South Morningside After Schools Club on complicated legal and governance matters.

MacRoberts LLP

Under the leadership of Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor, MacRoberts LLP's charities and third sector team counts major Scottish and international charities and public sector bodies among its clients. Many of its recent instructions stem from clients in the social care, education and arts sectors and pertain to constitutional structuring, governance issues and OSCR matters. Robin Fallas regularly advises charities and public sector entities on contractual work and disputes alongside legal director Lynsay Cargill. At associate level, the team is supported by Melissa Hall and Agne Zasinaite.

Practice head(s):

Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor


Lynsay Cargill has been wonderful in guiding us through a most difficult case, making sure we understand the steps and position in full.’

‘They are the best at anticipating issues that might arise over the course of work as well as at highlighting areas I need to consider. Robin Fallas and Allan Key are two partners I have found particularly helpful.’

‘Good, reliable advice from an experienced team. Val Armstrong-Surgenor continues to be an excellent adviser.’

Key clients

Who Cares? Scotland

South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture Limited

Enable Scotland

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Greenpeace Nordic

Community Enterprise in Scotland

Coalition of Care Providers Scotland

First Port for Social Entrepreneurs Limited

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Homeless Network Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Greenpeace Nordic on its current use of website cookies, and its digital marketing practices’ compliance with the local data protection and electronic communications laws in each of the four Nordic countries in which it operates. Acting as lead counsel and coordinating advice among local counsel in each of these jurisdictions.
  • Continued to support Who Cares? Scotland with advice on data subject access requests and requests for data sharing by organisations such as Police Scotland, local public authorities and disclosure services, as well as providing the client with advice on brand protection.
  • Assisted The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) with the update of its royal charter, commercial agreements and intellectual property matters, particularly in relation to copyright.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Working across several offices, Shepherd and Wedderburn is turned by various non-profits and third sector organisations for assistance in both domestic and cross-border matters. Key name to note include Malcolm Rust, Christopher McGill, and Glasgow-based Alexis Graham. All other named lawyers are based in Edinburgh.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Rust; Christopher McGill; Alexis Graham


‘Very helpful with the reviews of charity applications and provide excellent office space and assistance to complete applications for funding.’

‘Liaising effectively is non-negotiable for me and I have always found S&W to be of like mind. This leads to the clients receiving an excellent service.

‘In relation to people, I find it refreshing that I know the full team dealing with a particular engagement not just the partner leading it.’

Key clients

Scottish Council of Independent Schools

Work highlights