Next Generation Partners

Charities and not-for-profit in South West

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP fields an 'outstanding' team which consistently acts for a stellar roster of charities on regulatory and contentious legacy matters. The team is well-placed to act for a diverse mix of clients, including faith charities, almshouses, social enterprises and education-related non-profits. The team is led by Tim Rutherford, a key port of call for Roman Catholic religious orders and the Diocese, whose expertise is notably concentrated in the resolution of governance issues. Alexandra Steffensen is noted for her expertise in governance, conflict management, and restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Tim Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Steffensen; Dan Harris; Luke Watson; Alexandra Weatherdon; Alice O’Mahony


‘I found Stone King utterly refreshing. Their collaborative approach, made it possible for me to get the outcome I wanted whilst being compliant, this is very different to having to mold my ideas to fit a model with other firms.’

‘They are outstanding in their expertise, approachability, efficiency, and support.’

‘Their knowledge of the charity sector is excellent. We worked very closely with Tim Rutherford and Alice O’Mahony and they are a superb team.’

‘They have a real understanding of religious organisations and can offer support for a variety of matters that wouldn’t occur for many secular organisations.’

Key clients

The Almshouse Association

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust

Vulcan to the Sky Trust

Mary Feilding Guild

Sisters of the Holy Cross Charitable Trust

The Coldstream Guards Regimental Lieutenant-Colonel’s Fund

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Penn & Widow Smith Almshouses

United St Saviour’s Charity

Congregation of Our Lady, Canonesses of St. Augustine CIO

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary

Work highlights

  • Modernised and updated the Almshouse Association’s key handbook and template policies, which provide essential guidance for almshouse operation, to ensure that they remain fully up to date and the go-to resource for members.
  • Carried out a rationalisation of the Diocese’s complex charity trust structure, consolidating subsidiary charities and dealing with the transition to a corporate (CIO) structure, including dealing with the new CIO’s registration in the Channel Islands which are within the Diocese.
  • Advised on the complexities of dealing with a failed appeal, ensuring that a cost effective solution was taken to contacting donors.


VWV routinely advises healthcare organisations, arts and educational charities, as well as public sector bodies, on a range of issues. Utilising its broad capabilities, the team is particularly well-versed in issues concerning governance, procurement, state aid, and advice on employees, among other matters. Con Alexander - who leads the team - has spent the majority of his career working with a range of charities on all aspects of charity, company, and trust law. Laura Chesham is noted for her experience in advising faith organisations, while Rachel Tonkin specialises in education sector work, advising universities, schools, and educational charities.

Practice head(s):

Con Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Laura Chesham; Rachel Tonkin; Andrew Wherrett; Kate Sherlock


‘Con Alexander is a trusted and leading specialist who has helped our charity to navigate complex charity law surrounding trust land.’

‘They give sound advice, based on experience and expertise, in intelligible language.’

‘Con Alexander has enormous experience. He has handled a very complex and innovative cross-border transaction in the charity sector, coordinating advice from lawyers and tax advisers in different jurisdictions.’

‘Con Alexander is an expert in his field, combining deep technical knowledge with years of practical experience dealing with clients, boards, and the Charity Commission. This combines to give clear, focused advice which is pragmatic and proportionate.

‘Rachel Tonkin is a highly capable, thoughtful lawyer who is clearly highly experienced in her field. I am as happy to trust her advice and judgement as that of a partner, which is a reflection of her ability.’

‘The legal professionals I have worked with from VWV are intelligent and competent, as one would expect, but also personable and kind. They are brilliant at keeping in regular communication, and at explaining complex legal matters clearly. There is a brilliant wealth of expertise when it comes to charity law, probate, estate accounts, inheritance tax, and anything else to do with estate planning and/or charity legacy income.’

‘Notable mention should go to Laura Chesham; efficient, communicative, and always ready to answer a quick question by phone or email.’

Key clients

University of Bristol

Soil Association

Truro Diocesan Board of Finance

Gloucester Diocesan Board of Finance

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation

Society and College of Radiographers

Royal College of Surgeons

Bristol Old Vic & Theatre Royal Trust

Royal Academy of Music

Novalis Trust

Institute of Cancer Research

Waterloo Foundation

The Francis Crick Institute

The Donkey Sanctuary

Work highlights

  • Advised the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers in relation to a disposal of almshouses, involving engagement with the Charity Commission and establishing the Company’s powers as trustee.
  • Advised Bristol Charities in relation to range of issues affecting its endowment trusts, in order to support the charity’s strategic priorities.
  • Advised Malvern Hills Trust on a range of governance issues, including the conduct of its annual general meeting and the Trust’s powers.


Praised for its ‘unique understanding of the needs of charities‘, Wilsons acts for a range of clients, including some of the biggest names in the third sector. The work handled by the team includes the full spectrum of disputes involving wills and legacies which includes claims under the Inheritance Act 1975, allegations of fraud, and breach of duty. The practice also handles Court of Protection cases. The team is jointly led by Charlotte Watts and Gillian Fletcher: Watts regularly works with both charities and individuals on contentious trust and probate and legacy administration problems, while Fletcher has been a charity law and governance specialist for over 30 years.


Practice head(s):

Charlotte Watts; Gillian Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Peter Jeffreys; Fiona Campbell-White; James Aspden; Debbie Ashenhurst


‘They have a unique understanding of the needs of charities; not just the legal aspect but also how Trustees need to be advised – their written and verbal advice reflects this. They manage to home in on the critical points of a case, advise accordingly and ensure that all points are covered.’

Their billing structure is adopted throughout the sector, making it easier for charity finance teams to property budget for impending legal fees.’

‘Peter Jeffreys is unique in the sector and his reputation speaks for itself. He has moulded Wilsons’ non-contentious team into a sector leader.’

Key clients




Macmillan Cancer Support


Blue Cross

Guide Dogs

Marie Curie

British Heart Foundation

Save the Children

Work highlights

Foot Anstey

Beyond its capabilities in commercial and employment work, Foot Anstey is well versed in both legacy matters and complex contentious probate issues, which it regularly deals with. The team is headed up by Lucy Gill, ‘an ambitious and creative lawyer‘ who charities turn to for her expertise across all aspects of legacy income. Emma Facey is noted for her work on complex issues regarding wills and trusts disputes, while other key figures include Anna Phillips, who draws high praise for her ‘searing intellect and precision' in matters.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Gill

Other key lawyers:

Emma Facey; Anna Phillips


‘Foot Anstey’s breadth of experience in both contentious probate and down in the trenches with hands-on charity legacy management provides them with a great working knowledge of the issues which arise for charities regularly. They use this collective experience to gauge risk and deploy pragmatic solutions.’

‘Anna Phillips possesses a searing intellect and precision in property matters coupled with great emotional intelligence.’

‘The interaction between all the different specialists enable Foot Anstey to provide an integrated response which is bespoke for our charity’s issues.’

‘Anna Phillips is incredible! She is fully able to retain all the complex information relating to your charity’s issue, and process it at the speed of light. She is always really quick to get back to you, whatever the issue, and muster up support from across the teams within Foot Anstey to find a solution.’

Key clients

The Salvation Army

National Trust


Dogs Trust

Age UK

Freedom from Torture

British Heart Foundation

Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Blue Cross

Save the Children

Royal Shakespeare Company

Cats Protection

Alzheimer’s Society

Work highlights

  • Insructed to work with Save the Children’s legacy team, managing a significant proportion of their annual legacy income.
  • Advised the Blue Cross in relation to a property related contentious probate dispute.
  • Advised a collection of charities in ongoing court proceedings relating to a Will Validity claim.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises a broad range of national and regional charities on both contentious and non-contentious matters. The cross-disciplinary practice draws on members of the private wealth, employment, commercial litigation and property litigation teams, providing clients with a comprehensive legal service. The team is jointly led by trusts and estates head Kerry Morgan Gould, who also spearheads the contentious charities sector offering; John Toth, noted for his tax capabilities; and Robert Horsey, who heads up the disputed wills and trusts team.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Morgan-Gould; John Toth; Robert Horsey

Other key lawyers:

Barny Croft


‘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. Barny Croft is simply my go-to person and provides an excellent soundboard as well as the legal protection we all need.’

‘I have worked with Barny Croft on numerous matters over the years and have always found him to be robust, assertive, communicative, consistent, and unafraid to issue proceedings as and when necessary.’

‘The Ashfords team has a very friendly approach to providing excellent legal advice to our charity on many tricky issues.’

‘Barny Croft is very pleasant with great integrity. Extremely able.’

‘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.’

Key clients

A Hospice

A South West based children’s charity

An international charity

A national charity

International Animal Charity

Work highlights

  • Represented a national charity in defending a claim by a spouse for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Represented a housing association in relation to an issue that arose relating to a death in service benefit policy.
  • Represented national charity clients in a claim challenging the validity of a testator’s will and were able to successfully negotiate a resolution.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

A strong choice for various schools, educational charities, military charities, and religious organisations, the team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP draws on the expertise of multiple departments within the firm – including the property, construction, employment, corporate and banking teams – to bolster its wide-ranging charity law practice. The team is jointly led by Christopher Page, Julia Cox and Ian Brothwood. The ‘organised, diligent, and extremely bright’ Penelope Byatt is noted for her experience of handling constitutional and governance matters for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Page; Julia Cox; Ian Brothwood

Other key lawyers:

Penelope Byatt


‘Charles Russell Speechlys have acted for us in several different situations. They have a diverse team that offer individual specific services. All our dealings have been quick and smooth with constant support throughout.’

‘Penelope Byatt has been super helpful, very knowledgeable and incredibly efficient when we have been dealing with charitable law, the Charity Commission and Companies House.’

‘Whenever we have dealt with at Charles Russell Speechlys over the years, they have always been super efficient, ready to help, and quick to advise and respond to emails and queries. I have been very impressed with all our contact with them. They are all very professional.’

‘Penny Byatt is exceptional. She is organised, diligent, extremely bright, and has the law at her fingertips.’

Work highlights

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP is praised for its ‘breadth of expertise across the spectrum of activity' in the charity sector; the team regularly advises a number of national charities on both contentious and non-contentious matters relevant to the space. The practice is headed up by by Tony Cockayne and Edward Porter. Cockayne is an experienced litigator who primarily handles cases for high-net-worth individuals and charitable organisations, while Porter - a partner in the private wealth team - is described as ‘erudite, personable and superb at simplifying complex issues.’

Practice head(s):

Tony Cockayne; Edward Porter

Other key lawyers:

Andrew White; Nerys Thomas; Victoria Miller


‘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 soft skills.’

Work highlights

Tozers Solicitors LLP

Working with a varied mix of clients that includes both grassroots groups and large national charities, the team at Tozers Solicitors LLP is well placed to handle all manner of issues concerning charity law compliance, data protection, legacies and contested probate, and commercial contracts. James Evans - who heads the team - has over 25 years of experience advising on third sector matters; key workflows include charity start-ups and resignation processes, as well as governance and constitutional issues.

Practice head(s):

James Evans

Other key lawyers:

Vernon Clarke; Stephen Jennings; Amy Laver; Martin Laver


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

‘The team has a real focus in the charity sector, supporting myriad charities with all forms of legal advice. Personally, I think it is the go-to team for most forms of charity legal advice.’

‘James Evans is always willing to reach out.’

‘Amy Laver has a growing reputation in the sector, especially within academies.’

‘James Evans has been exceptional in the support he has offered us.’

‘Responsive and proactive.’

‘Practical, logical response.’

Key clients

South West Lakes Trust

Devon Wildlife Trust

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Rowcroft Hospice

Dame Hannah Rogers Charity


Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Buckfast Abbey

Devon County Agricultural Association

Wessex Museums Trust

Work highlights

  • Provided legal support to the Wessex Museums Trust on constitution, governance arrangements and asset transfer.
  • Acted for the South West Lakes Trust on a wide range of charity law, governance, property, commercial and employment matters.
  • Provided a full range of legal support to the Devon Wildlife Trust including on charity law, property, commercial and employment matters.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

Noted for its focus on the health and social care sectors, DAC Beachcroft LLP advises on the full spectrum of matters, regularly handling charity law, trust law, tax, procurement, subsidy control, intellectual property and banking. The team’s expertise also extends to all aspects of governance and regulatory compliance. Practice head Emma-Jane Dalley joined the firm from VWV in January 2022; Dalley has over 18 years of experience advising charities and not-for-profits and specialises in the education, health and social care sectors.


Practice head(s):

Emma-Jane Dalley

Other key lawyers:

Anne-Marie Gregory; Corinne Slingo


‘The team has the unique ability to apply the law to clinical and operational practice in the charitable sector, where services are also regulated by the Health and Social Care Act.’

‘Corinne Slingo is exceptional. Her responsiveness and her ability to grasp a complex health care/charitable issue is second to none. She provides clarity, works at pace and her intervention assists all parties to come to an effective resolution, in the best interests of individuals.’

‘Anne-Marie Gregory and her team consistently deliver and above excellent service. Not only do they listen to our needs, but they respond swiftly and are always detailed and comprehensive in their recommendations.’

Key clients

Nuffield Health

Greensleeves Homes Trust


Children’s Trust

Disabilities Trust


St Anne’s Community Service

Newcastle University

Sheffield University

Methodist Homes (MHA)

United Response

ESCP Business School (European Business School)

Royal College of Physicians

The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT)

Department for Education

Stand Against Racism & Inequality

Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth

National Academy for Social Prescribing

NHS England

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Aviva Community Fund

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The Trinity Challenge

Novalis Trust

Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Girls Day School Trust

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Work highlights

  • Advised the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on amendments to their royal charter and by-laws.
  • Advised Helpforce on their conversion from a CIC to a charitable company, including advice on all aspects of their operations.
  • Advised the National Academy for Social Prescribing on all aspects of charity, compliance and regulation including the creation of subsidiary organisations.

Stephens Scown LLP

Working with a broad mix of clients spanning the worlds of education, healthcare, housing, and heritage, Stephens Scown LLP's capabilities encompass governance, fundraising and commercial work. Department head Laurie Trounce maintains a broad practice, advising on the establishment of new charities, trustee disputes, and constitutional issues, among other matters.


Practice head(s):

Laurie Trounce

Other key lawyers:

Davina Haydon; Ellie Hibberd; Olivia Miller


‘Stephens Scown has been a stand-out commercial firm in Cornwall and Devon for some while.  They have grown and invested in staff so that they now have a great team.’

‘I have engaged with their charity team on the basis that it is easily the most capable offer in our region. Laurie Trounce brings a lot of experience to the table, especially in relation to charities and not for profit entities working with local authorities. She has a strong sense of equality, diversity and inclusion issues.’


Work highlights

  • Assisted Cornwall Heritage Trust to update its Articles of Association to reflect current best practice and modernise its governance processes.
  • Assisted the trustees of Birds of Poole Harbour to implement the necessary governance framework to attract and appoint new trustees.
  • Advised Charitable Giving on various governance issues including strategic advice in connection with changes to its Articles of Association and the preparation of a trustee code of conduct to improve regulatory compliance and governance arrangements.

Willans LLP

Drawing on its firmwide strength in commercial property, employment, and business immigration law, Willans LLP has a track record of success working with charities and not-for-profits at both the regional and national level. The firm’s multi-disciplinary team is headed by both Alasdair Garbutt and Matthew Clayton. Garbutt regularly handles property portfolios for national charities, while Clayton is particularly well versed in employment matters. Charlotte Cowdell is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Clayton; Alasdair Garbutt

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Cowdell


‘Willans is the only firm in Cheltenham which has a genuine specialism in charity work, focused around their associate solicitor, Charlotte Cowdell.’

‘Charlotte Cowdell understands how charities work and, while she is part of Willans’ property team, advises charities on all areas of their work. She is very approachable and reactive.’

‘We’re happy that the team’s expertise continues to benefit us. They have met all our needs with regard to commercial property services.’

Key clients

Sue Ryder

Trinity Hospice Shops Limited



We Are With You

Cheltenham Festivals

The Dean Close Foundation

Cobalt Health

British Humanist Association

The Abbeyfield Gloucestershire Society Limited

Friends of Shipton Moyne

Macmillan Cancer Support

Catharine Ball for Almshouses

Gloucestershire Academy of Music Limited

The Cheltenham Civic Society CIO

National Council of Young Men’s Christian Associations (Incorporated)

Mastectomy Tattooing Alliance

Work highlights

  • Advised national charity, Scope, on its lease acquisitions and renewals for its entire property portfolio across England and Wales.
  • Advised on the merger of Catharine Ball for Almshouses and Lilian Faithfull Care by way of a restricted transfer of all assets and liabilities.
  • Advised Gloucestershire Academy of Music Limited on proposals to update the charitable company’s memorandum and articles of association in their entirety.