Charities and not-for-profit in South West

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP advises trusts and funds, which involves acting for museums and galleries as well as for educational charities and charities which work with young people. The firm is experienced in assisting charities with restructurings and reorganisation, fundraising, charity acquisition, legacy disputes and employment regulations. Hannah Kubie and Tim Rutherford head the practice. Rutherford has particular expertise in working with faith organisations such as Roman Catholic charities and alms-houses. Senior associate Alexandra Steffensen advises museums as well as animal charities, and assists independent schools on the borrowing of funds from their permanent endowment to finance construction projects.

Practice head(s):

Tim Rutherford; Hannah Kubie

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Steffensen

Key clients

Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society

Society of Jesus

Faithful Companions of Jesus

Diocese of Arundel Brightin

Jonathan Burchfield as Interim Manager of the Essex Islamic Academy

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Curch of St. Mary of Debre Tsion

Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse

Brentwood Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust

The Society of St. Stephen’s House

English Province of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

The Carmelite Charitable Trust

Julian House

Sisters of Christian Retreat

Society of the Holy Child Jesus

The Sisters of the Divine Saviour


The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain

Fairfield Farm Trust

Family Action

Diocese of Westminster

The Polish Catholic Mission

Work highlights

  • Carrying out the incorporation of the Missionary Sisters of Verona, a charitable Roman Catholic religious trust registered in England and Scotland, as a charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Providing data protection advice to the Anne Frank Trust in light of the changes introduced by the GDPR.
  • Advised the Society of St. Stephen’s House, a permanent private hall at the University of Oxford, on its incorporation as a charitable company limited by guarantee and rationalising its subsidiary charities and trusts.
  • Secured approval from the Charity Commission to enable the Grace and Compassion Benedictines to make an ex gratia application following a testamentary residual gift.
  • Advised the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, a registered society with regional assets worth £83m, on the process of conversion to become a company limited by guarantee registered as a charity.


VWV specialises in advising healthcare, arts and educational charities. The firm regularly advises on structural reviews, commercial projects, use of trading subsidiaries as well as on governance and fundraising issues. Other areas of expertise include advice on employment law, tax planning, construction and financing matters. The ‘calm, reflective and well-reasoned’ practice head Con Alexander gives ‘helpful advice’ when acting for charities, academics, schools and universities on transactions, endowment funds, fundraising, mergers, and the restructuring of subsidiaries. Senior associate Rachel Tonkin assists with charity tribunal proceedings and cross-border transfers of charitable assets. Senior associate Laura Chesham has expertise in the registration and incorporation of charities.

Practice head(s):

Con Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Barney Northover; Rachel Tonkin; Laura Chesham


‘VWV has a very wide and deep charity practice, which possesses an excellent network and a good understanding of current legal and operational issues’

‘Barney Northover’s understanding of the sector and particularly of charitable schools is second to none’

Key clients

Soil Association

Diocese of Truro

Harpur Trust

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation

Institute of Cancer Research

National Star Foundation

Society and College Radiographers

Malvern Hills Trust

University of Law

Royal Academy of Music

London Southbank University

St Peter’s Hospice

Bristol Old Vic

James Tudor Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Harry Crook Foundation on making a £1m grant to Bristol Cathedral.
  • Established The National House Project, a charitable incorporated organisation to support young people leaving the public care system.
  • Advised Abbotsholme School on its acquisition by a commercial third party.
  • Advised Bancroft Clark Charitable Trust on a grant funding arrangement with the Alfred Gillett Trust.
  • Advised an educational charity on a governance dispute.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises charities on regulatory and governance issues including their incorporation as entities or trusts. The practice also assists with legacy administration, which involves disputed wills and trusts, proprietary claims and administration disputes. Other areas of expertise involve advice on the prevention of reputational damage arising from contentious matters. Senior associate Barny Croft joined the firm from Michelmores LLP in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

John Toth; Kerry Morgan-Gould

Other key lawyers:

Barny Croft

Key clients

Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust

The Eggbeer Trust

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust on planning and property development.
  • Providing strategic advice to the Eggbeer Trust on restructuring, property acquisition and the granting of tenancies and licences over charity-owned property.
  • Providing strategic oversight of charity activities for the Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust.
  • Advised on defending a charity’s legacy, following a challenge to the validity of the will, on the grounds of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
  • Marine licensing for Royal National Lifeboat Institution infrastructure.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP handles the establishment and registration as well as mergers and restructurings of charitable institutions. The practice also assists charities with the sale and purchase of assets, estate tenancy and lease agreements. Associate Penelope Byatt’s areas of expertise include the provision of regulatory advice on constitutional and governance matters. Clients include educational, religious and grant-making charities.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Page

Other key lawyers:

Penelope Byatt


The firm has excellent knowledge of daily charity business. The team is personable and willing to support the charity’s intent

The team is very approachable, clear and prompt. Its solutions are practical and carefully tailored to specific requirements

Charles Russell Speechlys is a firm with an excellent reputation

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey advises trustees, executors, beneficiaries and charities on inheritance and legacy disputes, legacy administration involving secondments as well as on trust compliance and recovering shares of estates. Practice head Lucy Gill also advises on property planning and provides strategic advice to charities with the aim of optimising legacy income and fundraising capabilities. Tax planning is another area of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Gill

Key clients

Cancer Research UK

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH)

National Trust


Salvation Army

Age UK


The Royal British Legion

Dogs Trust

Work highlights

  • Managing a significant proportion of the National Trust’s £50m annual legacy income.
  • Advising Cancer Research UK on legacy administration.

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP advises charity trustees on formation and ongoing governance. The firm also represents charities in litigations arising from legacy disputes. Other areas of expertise are the acquisition and disposal of assets, as well as the handling of professional negligence claims against administrators of estates the clients are entitled to. The practice is also experienced in advising trustees on charitable trusts.

Practice head(s):

Tony Cockayne

Other key lawyers:

Edward Porter


Senior associate Edward Porter impresses with his knowledge, depth of thought, analytical abilities and client engagement. It is always a pleasure to work with him

Work highlights

  • Advising two charities on the disposal of a gift of land with development potential and national interest.
  • Acting for a charity on a professional negligence claim against the administrators of an estate which it is solely entitled to.
  • Funds review and advice on terms.
  • Advising on a charitable trust administration.
  • Advised on a charity restructuring.

Tozers Solicitors LLP

Tozers Solicitors LLP provides charity law support to all types of charities including religious and educational charitable institutions on corporate, commercial, employment, dispute resolution, property, intellectual property and data protection matters. A particular area of expertise is providing assistance with charity mergers and the structuring of charities. James Evans heads the practice and is experienced in assisting organisations with the obtainment of a charitable status and advising charities on regulatory compliance.

Practice head(s):

James Evans


Easy to get hold of and very responsive. As a client, it is a positive experience

The firm has an excellent understanding of charity work and an ability to find solutions through deep knowledge of charity regulations

Clients receive a consistently high level of service and have established a strong working relationship with James Evans

James Evans has expert understanding of the charity sector but also understanding of the challenges that charities face.  His advice is always well thought through and pragmatic

Key clients

The Donkey Sanctuary

Dartington Hall Trust

Plymouth Diocesan Trust

Institution of Railway Signal Engineers

British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA)

Libraries Connected

Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Driving Mobility

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Buckfast Abbey Trust

Family Mediators Association

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

Devon Wildlife Trust

Dame Hannah Rogers Trust

South West Lakes Trust


South Devon Railway Trust

South West Coast Path Association

Farms for City Children

Clare Milne Trust

Families for Children

Exeter Leukaemia Fund

Heartswell South West

Westbank Community Health & Care

Eddystone Trust

Africa Services International

Work highlights

  • Acted on a joint basis on the merger of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom with the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS).
  • Assisted Libraries Connected with the obtainment of a charitable status for the organisation.
  • Advised Brake Bros on the registration as a charity of its ‘Meals & More’ initiative.
  • Advising the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers on data protection and website legal compliance among other corporate and commercial matters.
  • Advising The Donkey Sanctuary on the drafting of an IT contract, employment regulations and data protection matters.


Wilsons advises on disputes involving legacies and disputes arising from the administration of trusts and estates. The practice also advises on charity regulations and assists with the restructuring of charities. Practice head Gillian Fletcher is experienced in advising on breaches of trust and compliance issues. Charity mergers constitute another significant area of expertise, alongside the protection of data and intellectual property rights.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Fletcher


Professionally competent and fully on top of their brief

The Depth of knowledge and the quality of advice are the firm’s most valued qualities

Gillian Fletcher stands out as the consummate professional. Her team mirrors her approach and it always delivers

The practice is characterised by an immediacy of response, personal touch, and a range of skill sets brought immediately to bear

The practice members are always polite and helpful and offer sound and impartial advice

Key clients


Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

British Cardiovascular Society


Forces in Mind Trust

Blue Cross

BMA Charities Trust Fund

Save the Children

Christopher’s Hospice

Work highlights

  • Advising St Christopher’s Hospice on governance matters and constitutional review.
  • Advising a group of charities on the defence of a challenge to the validity of a will.
  • Advising The Royal Marines Association on its merger with The Royal Marines Charity, and on governance and property-related matters.
  • Advising a charitable independent school on matters arising from a safeguarding allegation.
  • Advising a medical research and education charity on commercial contracts arising in connection with its Joint Congress in Glasgow 2020.

BPE Solicitors LLP

BPE Solicitors LLP is experienced in advising on charity formation and registration, which involves advising on the legal structure and drafting governing documents. The firm also ensures compliance with charity legislation and regulations as well as the implementation of employment and property law. Another area of expertise is the drafting and negotiation of intellectual property and commercial contracts as well as sponsoring and trading agreements.  

Practice head(s):

Iain Garfield

Key clients

Community Foster Care

The House of Bread

Bristol Memorial Woodlands

The Smallpeice Trust

Innov8ive Software/ Anilog

Brockworth Community Sports & Recreation

Gloucestershire Environmental Trust

Gloucestershire Everyman Theatre

Aspire Sports & Cultural Trust

Trinity Church PCC

Action Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Roots HR CIC

Work highlights

  • Providing training to key senior and management personnel of Lilian Faithfull Care on the charity’s obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
  • Review of corporate structure and implementation of new articles of association for The Children’s Family Trust.
  • Advising on the client’s appointment as outsourced manager of a local museum.
  • Advising on the client’s conversion from a trust to a charitable company.
  • Assisted with first registration and boundary issues within the client’s property portfolio, as well as two property disposals.

Lester Aldridge LLP

Geoff Trobridge heads the practice at Lester Aldridge LLP and advises on charity registrations, charity mergers and restructuring, trustees’ duties and liabilities, fundraising regulations and charity disputes. The practice also assists with legacy protection, risk management and contentious Court of Protection cases. The firm is additionally experienced in the review of charity governance and the role of charity members.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Trobridge

Key clients

Care South

Autism Wessex

Kent Autistic Trust

Lewis Manning Hospice

Solent Mind

Macmillan Caring Locally

The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust

Help and Care

Prama Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advising Macmillan Caring Locally on the governing document of the charity.
  • Advised a charity working with people who are drug or alcohol dependent on its merger with another charity.
  • Advising on the incorporation of a nursing home charity by its transfer to a charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Advised the Minstead Trust on its acquisition of Hanger Farm Arts Centre from Nacro through a business transfer agreement.
  • Advised Lewis Manning Hospice on the transfer of its lottery operation to a national organisation.

Stephens Scown LLP

Stephens Scown LLP covers employment and fundraising disputes and is experienced in handling charity mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance matters. The firm has also expertise in advising charities on terms and conditions, and agency and distribution agreements as well as on confidentiality agreements. The practice regularly assists clients on IT contracts and data protection audits. The firm typically advises healthcare, education, faith and housing charities.

Practice head(s):

Laurie Trounce

Key clients

Age UK Plymouth

Charitable Giving

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust

Cornwall College

Various Housing Associations

Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Cool Earth Action

Surfers Against Sewage


Cornwall Care Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustees of the Franciscan Sisters – Minoresson on issues arising in respect of the academy conversions of two primary schools.
  • Successfully represented and defended Age UK Plymouth in respect of claims for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
  • Advising Cornwall Wildlife Trust on contractual arrangements and grant agreements and provided general corporate and commercial support in relation to fundraising and funding issues.
  • Assisting Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary with the incorporation of a charitable incorporated association (CIO).
  • Advising Charitable Giving on IT contracts, a data protection audit and governance and employment matters.

Willans LLP

Willans LLP acts for charities on property-related disputes and provides advice on employment regulations, commercial contracts, intellectual property and business immigration. The firm is also experienced in handling commercial freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, lettings, assignments and surrenders in relation to property portfolios. Other areas of expertise involve assistance with head office relocations and data protection issues including GDPR.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Whittaker


This practice contains lawyers who have demonstrated that they know what they are doing, do their work in a way which shows they understand their clients and their requirements, and provide a cost-effective service

Key clients


Trinity Hospice Shops

Cheltenham Festivals


Sparsholt College

Holy Trinity Brompton

Victim Support

Sue Ryder

Princess Alice Hospice

Work highlights

  • Assisting Princess Alice Hospice with new leases and renewal of leases in expanding its portfolio.
  • Advising Shelter on retail property portfolios.
  • Advised Cheltenham Family Welfare on the TUPE transfer of employees from four different charitable trusts into a new charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Advised on the relocation of Sue Ryder’s headquarters.
  • Advising on the expansion of Trinity Hospice Shops’ retail property portfolio.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises religious, environmental, educational, healthcare and sheltered accommodation charities as well as trustees on governance restructuring, charity mergers, collaborations and partnerships, as well as on fundraising and tax planning, compliance issues and charity commission requirements. Other significant areas of expertise include the provision of advice on property investment portfolios and endowments. The firm also assists with the implementation of joint venture projects involving multiple charities.

Practice head(s):

Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:

Robert Drewett


This practice had first-hand knowledge of grant-making, endowed and land-holding charities

The able approach of the lead partners is supported by a strong team of specialists in various sectors

Robert Drewett has vast experience across a wide range of areas of concern to trust. His advice on legal matters is of very high quality and is accompanied by very useful insights into the issue at hand and the environment in which trusts operate

Key clients

St Monica Trust

Bristol Charities

Chippenham Borough Lands Charity

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 St Monica Trust on the structuring of its public-facing facilities.
  • Advised on a review of Crisis UK’s governance arrangements.
  • Advised British Mountaineering Council’s specialist governance committee on a constitutional review to address structural issues.
  • Advised the Charity Commission on the securing of Cardiff Sixth Form College’s assets and reviewing its financial procedures.
  • Advising St. John of God Hospitaller Services on business transformation planning to strengthen its financial resilience and sustainability.