Charities and not-for-profit in West Midlands

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Led by Dominic Curran , the outstanding team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is known for its work with faith-based charities, for its international and national work with health and social care charities and for its regular interim appointments by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Other strengths include assisting charities on fundraising and the financing of charities by way of grant work and social investment as well as secured lending, corporate partnership, lotteries and grants. Other names to note include Anna Dabek who assists on employment matters and Matthew Wort. Edwina Turner leads the charities governance offering.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Curran


‘The team is highly attentive and committed to understanding our business requirements, with a number of individuals personally able to understand our church charity context, offering practical and legally sound solutions‘.

‘Advice is always given from a perspective that noticeably puts the client first, not the firm’s profit margins or other interests, in keeping with ACS being a social purpose driven firm. Technical knowledge of charity governance across the team is excellent. Esther Campsall and Sarah Tomlinson are first-class lawyers’.

‘The individuals we work with within this practice are all personable, and easy to work with at the same time providing a high, professional level of service and excellent knowledge. Dominic Curran – friendly, helpful’.

‘Edwina Turner is excellent to work with – readily available, responsive, pragmatic and knows her stuff‘.

‘Commitment to sector knowledge, values, throughout team, good scope of services and reasonable fees. John Wearing, shows ongoing commitment to the sector and to us as an organisation, staff are personable and responsive‘.

Key clients

Spinal Injuries Association


Kent Wildlife Trust

Adoption Plus

Kent Wildlife Trust

Charity Commission re Alternative Animal Sanctuary


National provider of learning support and care for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities

Social Mobility Toolkit – multiple clients

Work highlights

  • Advised Barnardo’ on the See, Hear, Respond programme which was a £7.25m programme funded by the Department for Education to support children and young people adversely affected by Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown.
  • Advised Kent Wildlife Trust on its intended use of a conservation covenant agreement whilst The Environment Bill (now passed) was still passing through parliament. The bill introduced the concept to England and Wales of conservation covenants.
  • In collaboration with Central England Co-operative and Boston Borough Council, the team worked to compile a social mobility toolkit for employers to help them identify and address the barriers within their organisations which limit social mobility in order to create greater equality and social inclusivity.

Higgs LLP

Kirsty McEwen heads a strong, specialised team at Higgs LLP  which advises many charities and not-for-profit organisations. McEwen deploys particular focus towards constitutional, governance and regulatory matters and her team also provides support to trustees who are subject to intervention and internal dispute matters. The team garners particular praise for its work with faith-based charities, arts charities and sporting organisations. At associate level, Ellie Williams frequently advises on a vast array of issues from complex restructures and the formation of new entities to charity registration, managing conflicts of interests and on governance/constitutional review projects.

Practice head(s):

Kirsty McEwen

Other key lawyers:

Ellie Williams


‘Always pleasant with appropriate depth of knowledge to apply to a given problem or situation‘.

‘The team is one of the few true specialist charity practices in the Midlands with the skills to handle pretty much every area of charity law. The lawyers are active in providing legal updates and seminars/webinars which are always incredibly useful and valuable‘.

Kirsty McEwen and Ellie Williams are both incredibly knowledgeable but also very personable and approachable. They make the complex simple to understand and really seem to have the clients’ best interests at heart’.

‘Ellie Williams is ex Charity Commission and understands how they think. Kirsty McEwan has acted as an interim manager, and equally understands how the Charity Commission behaves and thinks. All in the team understand the law and are serious about a charity practice, unlike a lot of others who say they are knowledgeable but are really say a corporate lawyer but occasionally have dealt with a charity. This team is truly specialist which is rare‘.

‘Kirsty McEwen is exceptional – is vastly experienced, incredibly knowledgeable and reassuringly calm, measured and confident – it is always a pleasure dealing with her and I have no hesitation recommending her for her expertise within the charity and not-for-profit sector as she is exceptional in her field’.

‘Our experience with Higgs has been excellent, the advice and assistance in moving our charity to new style set up has been second to none. Kirsty McEwan and her team have excellent knowledge and expertise in relation to charity law. They have guided us through moving our charity to a new charity commission charity, helping us throughout the whole process‘.

‘Kirsty McEwan has very solid technical knowledge of charity law and offers sensible, practical advice’.

Key clients

Millennium Point Trust


The CBSO Development Trust and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and City of Birmingham Orchestra Endowment Fund

Tax Advisors Benevolent Fund and The Tax Advisors Charitable Trust

BID Services

Sport 4 Life UK

The David and Christine Lloyd-Jones Foundation

Shanti Aid

Journeys End Vineyards

Birmingham Dogs Home

The Badley Memorial Trust

Professional Golfers’ Association Benevolent Fund

Work highlights

  • Provided governance advice and support to the board of Trustees of Bid Services on a number of internal trustee matters; providing trustee training; updating articles of association and updating governance documentation.
  • Advised The David and Christine Lloyd Jones Foundation in relation to the registration of  a substantial grant making charity with the Charity Commission. Liaised with the executors on the transfer of assets from the estate. Provided all governance advice and support on the initial set up including developing grant processes and procedures. Developed a grant giving strategy for the trustees based on a spend down model.
  • Provided  the Professional Golfers Association Benevolent Fund with strategic advice and acted on the conversion of the Benevolent Fund from a charitable company limited by guarantee to a charitable incorporated organisation, to include moving from a open membership based structure to a closed/unified membership structure (where the only members are the Trustees).

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has a strong national offering which works for all types of charities on the full array of matters. Its dedicated practice works exclusively for charities and social enterprises and continues to advise a host of the UK’s biggest and most prominent charities. The group has specialist expertise in a variety of sectors such as working with numerous health charities and those in the sports sector. It is also skilled at advising on philanthropy and legacies and is led by Cambridge-based Neil Burton . In Birmingham, principal associate, Adam Williams specialises in governance and charity law regulation. Lucy Howard is adept at advising charities on a range of contested legacies.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Adam Williams; Lucy Howard


‘Mills & Reeve’s contentious probate team is one of few in the country that offers the necessary quality and expertise that was required. Lucy Howard – an expert in her field with a great bedside manner’.

Work highlights


    The large national practice at VWV advises more than 1,000 charities of all types. It has specialist expertise in advising healthcare, arts and educational charities and public sector bodies on charity law and charity trusteeship, also acting for a significant number of universities as well as advising faith charities. Shivaji Shiva  has a broad practice and has developed a strong reputation for working with faith charities in resolving complex internal disputes. Jaime Hobday has a particular focus on the education sector frequently working with maintained schools and academies. Greg Clark is another key member of the department.

    Practice head(s):

    Con Alexander ; Shivaji Shiva

    Other key lawyers:

    Greg Clark; Jaime Hobday


    ‘The team’s commercial conveyancing staff, including its knowledge and understanding of charitable trust law are excellent. This combined with a conscientious and perfectionist attitude to work makes it a joy to work with’.

    ‘I would particularly like to commend Greg Clark for his extremely helpful attitude. Always easy to contact, responding very quickly to any queries, with well thought out and researched advice. He is a perfectionist which means that we can have complete faith in his work, he has a pleasant manner and he combines accuracy with the ability to explain complicated matters to this lay person which makes our work together so much easier‘.

    Key clients

    Aston University

    Barnwood Trust

    Birmingham MIND

    Birmingham Repertory Theatre

    Birmingham Royal Ballet

    Blue Coat School Birmingham

    Bromsgrove School

    Cheltenham Ladies College

    Coventry University

    Creative Education Trust

    Dudley College

    Evolve Academy Trust

    King Edward VI Academy Trust Birmingham

    London Metropolitan University

    London South Bank University

    Loughborough Endowed Schools

    National Star College

    Queen Alexandra College


    Royal Academy of Music

    Solihull School

    The Schools of King Edward VI Foundation

    United Reformed Church Synods

    University of Bath

    University of Exeter

    University of Law

    Windsor Academy Trust

    Work highlights

    • Advised several major faith charities including gurdwaras, mosques, temples and a spiritualist church on the resolution of complex internal disputes.
    • Advising the trustees of a regionally significant mosque in response to a Charity Commission inquiry, governance matters and a range of commercial and operational issues including property, employment, safeguarding and trade marks.
    • Providing comprehensive support to the national office and member charities of a national federated charity, including guidance to members on responding to Covid-19, the development of strategic guidance on property issues, and advice on the management of major legacies.

    Lodders Solicitors LLP

    Lodders Solicitors LLP acts for many charitable organisations ranging from high-profile national and regional charities to discreet charitable trusts, breed societies and ancient foundations. Mark Lewis is at the helm and has a wealth of experience spanning ecclesiastical, agricultural and equine to engineering charities, membership bodies and various breed societies. The group is also well-placed to advise on issues such as restructuring and incorporating unincorporated charities. Steven Baker advises numerous regional and educational charities on their property portfolios.

    Practice head(s):

    Mark Lewis

    Other key lawyers:

    Steven Baker


    The practice has a long-standing reputation for dealing with charities, especially breed societies which are individual and unique in their make-up and require individualised treatment and consideration. The response from Lodders, and in particular Mark Lewis is always prompt and helpful’.

    ‘Mark Lewis is the partner with whom I have regular contact as the ‘go to’ lawyer for all queries and concerns relating to the breed society charities I work with. Mark has a wealth of experience in this area, well over 20 years of dealing with livestock charities, and his experience and knowledge are invaluable. He responds to calls and emails promptly, and is clear in his advice and guidance‘.

    ‘High level of expertise on charity law and associated matters. Mark Lewis is our main contact and he is extremely good at identifying the ramifications of changing circumstances and explaining them’.

    Key clients

    The Roman Association CIO

    Seymour Fieldhouse Homes

    The Institution of Fire Engineers

    The Roger & Douglas Turner Charitable Trust

    The Johnson or Secular Clergy Association of The Archdiocese of Birmingham

    The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers

    Imagineering Foundation

    MTA Education Trust

    Work highlights

      Shakespeare Martineau LLP

      Andrew Wilkinson  heads the department at Shakespeare Martineau LLP which has considerable experience in the social housing and education sectors. Core areas of focus include advising on complex corporate transactions, various governance, regulatory and constitutional matters as well issues regarding legacies. Lesley Davis  is well-regarded for her work in setting up and managing charitable trusts, foundations and CIOs while Smita Jamdar  regularly assists leading universities on a wide array of governance, student facing and constitutional matters. Michael Hibbs  advises on various HR and employment law matters. Rachel Gwynne  is also recommended whereas Catherine Rustomji recently joined the team from Browne Jacobson LLP.

      Practice head(s):

      Andrew Wilkinson


      ‘The team had expertise in my area of concern and was approachable and easy to communicate with. The individuals I spoke to were both generous with their time and energies. They provided me with concise written information for me to digest at my leisure and were sympathetic to my lack of understanding in anything legal!’.

      Key clients

      Dance 4 Limited

      The DanceXchange Limited

      Diocese of Birmingham

      St Martin’s Trust

      Stonewater Group

      Trinity Hospitals CIO

      Heart of England Mencap

      Work highlights

      • Advising the Diocese of Birmingham on employment, safeguarding, property matters and other general queries.
      • Advising Dance 4 Limited and The DanceXchange Limited on a planned merger to form a new combined charitable legal entity to bring together a single strategic organisation inspiring people through dance to serve the Midlands.
      • Running the day-to-day administration of the Heart of England Mencap and acting as clerk to the trustees. Advising the trustees on their duties regarding investment management, alongside specialist property advice in an ongoing right to light case.