Next Generation Partners

Charities and not-for-profit in South West

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP has a highly reputable practice in the charity sector. Its team advise a vast range of clients, including faith charities, almshouses, education-related charities and social enterprises. The practice is led by Tim Rutherford; he is well versed in the handling of governance matters and focuses mainly on advising Roman Catholic religious orders and Diocese. Alexandra Steffensen is noted for her expertise in governance and restructuring, as well as for her experience overseeing engagement with the Charity Commission.

Practice head(s):

Tim Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Harris; Luke Watson; Alexandra Steffensen; Alexandra Weatherdon

Testimonials

‘Stone King led us through the whole process in a professional and knowledgable way. All our questions and queries were dealt with and the solutions conveyed to us in an understandable way.’

‘The charity team are clearly specialists in their field and very approachable. ‘

‘Stone King demonstrated a good knowledge of charity law and Charity Commission practice and were able to provide practical, timely and effective advice.’

‘Tim Rutherford demonstrated the ability to think laterally to devise solutions. He has always responded in a timely manner.’

‘We find Tim Rutherford very good; he is very clear in his instructions and presents very well in face to face meetings and on Zoom.’

‘We were listened to very carefully and with respect. Options have been explained, with pros and cons, and we have been guided accordingly.’

‘I was very pleased with the way the team worked together as a unit, their expertise in our particular problem, and their communication with us.’

‘The particular partner I dealt with was a delight, highly competent, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘This practice is unique in that they are always there for their clients–they explain everything clearly for those who are going through something new for the first time.’

Key clients

The Archdiocese of Cardiff

Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries

The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty

PGA European Tour

Congregation of the Sisters of St Anne

Belmont Abbey

Irish Guards

Wimborne Grammar School Foundation – Church Branch

Diocese of Bristol

Work highlights

  • Advised Archdiocese of Cardiff on the strategic review of tis workings and governance.  
  • Advised Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty on its plans to carry out an extensive refurbishment of its almshouse.
  • Advised Irish Guards on an in-depth review of its charities and funds and devised a new, simplified, structure.

VWV

VWV has a sizeable team that specialises in advising healthcare, arts and educational charities in addition to public bodies. The practice is led by Con Alexander who regularly advises charities on transactions, endowment funds, fundraising and mergers. Laura Chesham has expertise in reviewing structural and governance arrangements, grant making and the establishment of new charities. Rachel Tonkin is noted for her advise to charitable universities.

Practice head(s):

Con Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Laura Chesham; Rachel Tonkin; Andrew Wherrett; Kate Sherlock

Testimonials

‘Laura Chesham and Con Alexander are both very knowledgeable in their sector. Their approach was rigorous and intellectually based.’

‘The range of skills and complexity VWV offers is exceptional and vital to our needs.’

‘Con Alexander and Laura Chesham continue to provide excellent advice and adaptive thinking to aid our work.’

‘We like working with VWV. They act as an extension to our in-house legal team and we appreciate the ability to pick up the phone at any time to discuss an issue.’

‘Con Alexander: an expert in his field, approachable, unflappable. Rachel Tonkin: an emerging expert, excellent drafting skill always clear.’

‘Throughout they have been very professional and approachable, which has made it a pleasure to work with them.’

‘Expertise in charity law and pragmatic & practical advice on the way forward. Continuity of personnel involved in the casework has been most helpful.’

Key clients

University of Bristol

Allchurches Trust Limited

Soil Association

Truro Diocesan Board of Finance

Gloucester Diocesan Board of Finance

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation

Society and College of Radiographers

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Bristol Old Vic & Theatre Royal Trust

Royal Academy of Music

National Star Foundation

Seashell Trust

Novalis Trust

Norland College

King Edward VI Schools Birmingham

Earthworm Foundation

Waterloo Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Earthworm Foundation in relation to branch structure and associated governance matters involving overseas jurisdictions.
  • Advised Malvern Hills Trust on a range of governance issues including a potential governance dispute and serious incident reporting to the Charity Commission.
  • Advised Gloucester Diocesan Board of Finance on legislative changes to allow diocesan boards of finance and other organisations within the Church of England to use their property assets more flexibly.

Wilsons

Wilsons has particular expertise in the educational sector. The team advises schools and academies on public benefit matters and employment disputes. Its expertise extends into the care sector as well as in the military charities sector. The team is headed by Gillian Fletcher; she is renowned for her handling of restructurings, breaches of trust and compliance issues. Fiona Campbell-White  is noted for her specialism in disputes concerning legacies.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Watts; Fiona Campbell-White; Peter Jeffreys; Gillian Fletcher; James Aspden; Andrew Mackie

Testimonials

‘This is a team which competes with the top central London firms.’

‘The teams at Wilsons are extremely well coordinated. They each have complementary skills, that combine effectively to ensure that their guidance and advice is accurate, timely and based on a wide knowledge base.’

‘All individuals, without exception, are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their areas of expertise.’

‘Excellent knowledge of charities requirements and risk assessment.’

‘The firm has established itself as a leading player in the field of trusts and probate matters as they relate to charities.’

‘Gillian Fletcher: an outstandingly good listener who then uses what she hears to provide wise and entirely understandable advice and guidance.’ 

‘Gillian Fletcher truly excelled in providing us with support.’

Key clients

RNLI

Help for Heroes

RSPCA

Sense

Macmillan Cancer Support

Holland Park School

PDSA

Royal Hospital Chelsea

RNIB

Forces in Mind Trust

Work highlights

    Ashfords LLP

    Ashfords LLP handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. Its team comprises of experienced litigants, Court of Protection specialists and transactional specialists. The team is headed by both Kerry Morgan-Gould and John Toth . Morgan-Gould oversees the contentious charities team, whilst Toth oversees the non-contentious charities team. Barny Croft is noted for his representation of national charities and trustees.

    Practice head(s):

    Kerry Morgan-Gould; John Toth

    Other key lawyers:

    Robert Horsey; Barny Croft; Katie Webber

    Testimonials

    ‘Committed to the highest standards, patient, understanding and willing to spend the time to secure the best possible outcome.’

    ‘Genuinely interested in us as an organisation and as individuals. We always know that we’re getting the very best support delivered with sincerity, integrity and professionalism.’

    ‘I can always rely on someone in the team to come back to me with a fast and pragmatic first advice, and with clear costs estimates to take matters forward.’

    ‘The friendly and simple approach to providing what the charity needs in language that makes sense to charity people, not lawyers, makes Ashfords a dream to work with.’

    ‘Ashfords excels at responding quickly to new instructions and providing pragmatic legal advice at a competitive rate.’

    ‘Kerry Morgan-Gould consistently provides excellent, pragmatic advice to charities. She always keeps an eye on the PR sensitivities of litigation for charity clients.’

    ‘Ashfords’ charities and not-for-profit practice has an astonishingly strong team at partnership level, who can cover the internal challenges for charities as early as they can litigation in which charities are involved.’

    ‘John Toth brings a wealth of experience to the table from many years practice at the highest level in London. While clients love him for his relaxed and easygoing manner, they also know that they can have 100% confidence in his judgment.’

    Work highlights

    • Represented a leading national health charity in respect of a challenge to the validity of the last known Will of a testator.
    • Acted for four charities and advised the Trustees on making an application to the Charity Commission for an ex-gratia payment.
    • Acted for a large Hospice charity defending a 1975 Inheritance Act claim brought by the deceased’s adult, estranged daughter.

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is well versed in handling matters from both charities and not-for profit organisations; the team is well equipped to advise on all matters, including those involving property, construction, employment and banking aspects. The team is led by Christopher Page, Julia Cox  and Ian Brothwood . Another notable individual is Penelope Byatt; her expertise includes constitutional and governance matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Christopher Page; Julia Cox; Ian Brothwood

    Other key lawyers:

    Penelope Byatt

    Testimonials

    ‘There is a real specialism in the area of charity law, and an understanding of what the issues are for charities and what makes charities different, which is very refreshing.’

    ‘I deal with Penelope Byatt in the charities team, who always knows the answers to the questions I ask her, normally off the top of her head.’

    ‘CRS has a wide range of specialists in the practice.’

    ‘They are approachable, efficient and helpful. I have worked with a number of solicitors at the firm who have always been helpful, and understanding of us a charity and not a commercial business, and that makes dealing with them all such a pleasure.’

    ‘The advice given is relevant, clear and timely. The firm is able to draw on expertise across a number of different specialist areas and across the firm whether it be the London or Cheltenham team.’

    ‘Practical knowledge and experience of the transactions undertaken.’

    ‘Approachable, knowledgeable and responsive to requests for assistance.’

    ‘Penny Byatt has been there to guide us through the transaction and always responded to questions in a timely and practical manner.’

    Work highlights

      Michelmores LLP

      Michelmores LLP regularly advises charities on general commercial matters, and has particular focus on charity governance work. Both Tony Cockayne and Edward Porter head the practice. Cockayne is entrusted with the handling of contentious matters, whilst Porter deals with non-contentious matters. Andrew White is noted for his governance advice to charity trustees and his representation of private clients on the formation of charities.

      Practice head(s):

      Tony Cockayne; Edward Porter

      Other key lawyers:

      Andrew White

      Testimonials

      ‘Breadth of expertise across the spectrum of activity that charities operate.’

      ‘Edward Porter is erudite, personable and superb at simplifying complex issues.’

      ‘Andrew White has a clear and insightful approach, combining excellent knowledge with strong softer skills.’

      Key clients

      Cancer Research UK

      Work highlights

        Tozers Solicitors LLP

        Tozers Solicitors LLP offers a full service for charities clients, advising clients on matters involving compliance, governance, constitutions and legal structures, incorporations, restructurings and fundraising. James Evans heads the team. His specialisms include overseeing charity start-ups and registration, corporate transactions and trading agreements. Amy Laver was promoted to partner in July 2021; she is a charity governance specialist.

        Practice head(s):

        James Evans

        Other key lawyers:

        Vernon Clarke; Stephen Jennings; Martin Laver; Julia Knight; Amy Laver

        Testimonials

        ‘Understanding and appreciation of our needs, in a niche area.’

        ‘James Evans has been – and still is – a pleasure to work with. His breadth of knowledge is most reassuring and he has the ability to make everything, however convoluted or complicated, easy to understand’

        ‘The team has a real focus in the charity sector supporting a myriad of charities with all forms of legal advice.’

        ‘The practice in Exeter are always very responsive to questions and queries, they provide a great deal of detail in their advice and I’ve always found the team very approachable and knowledgeable in the Charity field.’

        ‘Very approachable and are always prepared to explain their advice in easy to understand terms.’

        ‘James Evans listened carefully to our wishes and we were able to discuss/agree the best way forward in fairly tight timescales.’

        ‘The practice has a specialism in charity law and hence what attracted us to engage with them.’

        ‘Working with James Evans has always been a positive experience. He can explain matters in a non-technical way and is very thorough and responsive.’

        Key clients

        The Donkey Sanctuary

        South West Lakes Trust

        Devon Wildlife Trust

        Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

        Dame Hannah Rogers Charity

        Rowcroft Hospice

        Plymouth Marine Laboratory

        Institution of Railway Signal Engineers

        Hospiscare

        Exeter City Community Trust

        National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain

        Clare Milne Trust

        Buckfast Abbey

        Ellie’s Haven- Cornwall Limited

        Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

        Farms for City Children

        Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation

        Westbank Community Health & Care

        Young Devon

        Devon Birds

        Devon Mind

        Work highlights

        • Advised Rowcroft Hospice on establishing a new social enterprise trading initiative: Devon Farm Kitchen.
        • Advised National Trails UK on its establishment and successful registration as a charity.
        • Advised Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation on its transition to registered charity status.

        Lester Aldridge LLP

        Lester Aldridge LLP handles matters concerning registration, charitable status, governance, constitutions and regulatory issues. The practice is led by Lisa Watson-Cook who joined the practice in April 2021 from RSPCA Legal Services. Her expertise lies primarily in charity governance and regulation matters and is also a member of the Charity Law Association.

        Practice head(s):

        Lisa Watson-Cook

        Other key lawyers:

        Edward O’Brien

        Testimonials

        Lisa Watson-Cook has proven very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and finally very personable.’

        ‘Lisa Watson-Cook is very approachable, straightforward, friendly and very good at explaining the more legal terminology when needed.’

        ‘Lester Aldridge LLP were able to supply urgent advice.’

        Key clients

        Lewis-Manning Hospice Care

        Care South

        Adventure Under Sail

        Guerrand Hermes Foundation for Peace

        Talbot Village Trust

        Brent Lodge Bird & Wildlife Trust

        Dorchester Municipal Charities

        West Bay Housing Society

        Dorset Community Foundation

        The Tank Museum Limited

        Work highlights

        • Acted for Guerrand Hermes Foundation for Peace on a collaboration agreement with a University to structure the charity’s research work within the university framework in order to apply to be formally recognised by UNESCO.
        • Advised Charity members on constitutional matters of a charitable company, the British Wheel of Yoga, on exercising their statutory rights to call a general meeting of the charity.
        • Advised trustees of RSPCA West Suffolk on a three way merger, particularly the capture of future legacies and drafted documents to underpin the agreement and clarify the trusts under which assets of the dissolved charity are held by the transferee charities.

        Stephens Scown LLP

        Stephens Scown LLP has a diverse range of expertise, working with clients across sectors from housing, education and healthcare, to environment, recreation and heritage. Laurie Trounce heads the team; her expertise lies within the establishment of charities and restructuring projects.

        Practice head(s):

        Laurie Trounce

        Other key lawyers:

        Davina Haydon; Ellie Hibberd; Tim Lane; Olivia Miller

        Testimonials

        ‘The team are very knowledgeable and have experience of working with many charities of various sizes which gives future clients confidence. ‘

        ‘Laurie Trounce is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in working with the Charity sector. She is personable, professional and explains sometimes complex information in an easy to understand way to different audiences.’

        ‘Laurie Trounce brings a lot of experience to the table, especially in relation to charities and not for profit entities working with local authorities.’

        ‘Laurie Trounce has a strong sense of equality, diversity and inclusion. She is very supportive of charitable ideals.’

        Key clients

        Surfers Against Sewage

        Cornwall Air Ambulance

        Cornwall Wildlife Trust

        Langaford Farm Charitable Trust

        Exmouth and District Round Table Gordon Mather House Charity

        Laywell House

        Coastline Housing Limited

        Medic Malawi

        Age UK Cornwall

        Reside Housing Association

        Work highlights

        • Advised trustees of Age UK Brand Partner on the implementation of a new governance structure for the charity, involving necessary procedural steps.
        • Advised Surfers Against Sewage on proposed amendments to its governing documents, decision making, preparation of necessary minutes and resolutions and the associated filings at Companies House and with the Charity Commission.
        • Advised trustees of Mevagissey and District Museum Society on the process of transferring all the charities assets and liabilities to a new CIO.

        Willans LLP

        Willans LLP acts for both regional and national charities, overseeing matters of an employment, commercial and regulatory nature. The team is also well versed in litigation. Nigel Whittaker heads the practice. His focus lies with commercial property matters, including freehold and leasehold acquisitions concerning national charities.

        Practice head(s):

        Nigel Whittaker

        Other key lawyers:

        Alasdair Garbutt; Matthew Clayton; Charlotte Brunsdon

        Testimonials

        ‘All aspects of our fairly complex situation were dealt with professionally.’

        ‘The team dealt with all aspects of our requirements and provided a comprehensive set of services that met all of our requirements.’

        ‘The team at Willans is knowledgeable, friendly and always available to answer any questions or concerns we have.’

        ‘Nigel Whittaker provides a comprehensive and reassuring service.’

        ‘We continue to be impressed with the expertise across the team.’

        Key clients

        Sue Ryder

        Trinity Hospice Shops Limited

        Shelter

        Scope

        We Are With You

        New College Swindon

        New Start Cat Rescue

        The Cheltenham Trust

        Cheltenham Festivals

        Cheltenham Silver Band

        The Abbeyfield Gloucestershire Society Limited

        Cheltenham Open Door

        Cheltenham Bridge Club

        Friends of Shipton Moyne

        Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation

        Macmillan Cancer Support

        Work highlights

        • Advised Scope on its lease acquisitions and renewals for its entire property portfolio across England and Wales.
        • Advised on the merger of The Abbeyfield Sodbury Vale Society Ltd and The Abbeyfield Gloucestershire Society Ltd, by way of a transfer of all assets and liabilities from The Abbeyfield Sodbury Vale Society Ltd to The Abbeyfield Gloucestershire Society Ltd.
        • Advised Cheltenham Open Door on proposals to update its memorandum and articles of association in its entirety to ensure up-to-date terms of the relevant legal and regulatory requirements and to reflect best practice in the charity sector.