Rising Stars

Charities and not-for-profit in West Midlands

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Dominic Curran  heads the department at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP. The group garners praise for its work with numerous faith-based charities and for its national and international charity work for health and social care charities. It is adept at handling interim manager appointments by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Other core areas of expertise include advising on various financing issues for charities by way of grant work, social investment and secured lending. The practice is also experienced at advising charities on fundraising issues (such as corporate partnerships, lotteries and grants).  Matthew Wort is recognised for his employment law advice to health and social care providers. Edwina Turner leads the charities governance team.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Curran

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Wort; Edwina Turner; Kirsty Duxbury


‘I appreciate very much the level of knowledge and the ability to ‘forward think’ in terms of ‘charity law’. This has been very helpful in our restructure. Anthony Collins has also been patient’.

‘Supportive culture – good fit with our Christian ethos. Kirsty Duxbury is an excellent Diocesan Registrar’.

‘Very prompt responses to requests for support. Willingness to say ‘I don’t know, but I will find out’ in response to particularly abstruse questions. Willingness to give time to chat things through when complicated. Good balance between professionalism and friendliness’.

‘Kirsty responds quickly with reliable advice. She gives the answer. She knows her stuff and thinks things through with attention to detail and potential gremilns’.

Key clients




Kent Wildlife Trust

Nene Rivers Trust CIO

The Wall of Answered Prayer

Faith client

The Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education

The Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance

Teddington Baptist Church

Church Pastoral Aid Society

Sanctuary Foundation

Work highlights

  • Assisted SeeAbility on their acquisition of a property and the services related to it from another established charity.
  • Assisting the trustees of Kent Wildlife Trust (a leading conservation charity) on risk decisions regarding ash die back (a devastating tree disease).
  • Assisted The Wall of Answered Prayer with a key project from its early stages.

Higgs LLP

Higgs LLP 'does everything well and all staff are down to earth and approachable'. It is ably led by Kirsty McEwen. McEwen is experienced in advising national and international charities and not-for-profit organisations and their trustees on all aspects of their operations. She has a particular focus on constitutional, governance and regulatory matters. The group also specialises in acting for alms-house charities, benevolent associations, arts organisations as well as health and social care charities. In addition, McEwen is appointed to the Charity Commission’s panel of interim managers and also leads the firm’s philanthropy advice. Ellie Williams is recommended for her work on a variety of matters such as complex restructurings and the formation of new entities.


Practice head(s):

Kirsty McEwen

Other key lawyers:

Ellie Williams


Expertise in the charitable sector. Kirsty McEwen is knowledgeable and experienced‘.

In addition to the outstanding legal knowledge and skills the team brings, they have a strong commitment to the charity sector, regularly organising events to help build skills and knowledge for charity leaders‘.

‘Kirsty McEwen in particular is friendly and engaging as well thoroughly professional. Her commitment to the wider sector, not just her firm’s clients, sets her apart from other legal professionals we have dealt with‘.

Key clients

The Birmingham Museums Trust

The Clive Richards Foundation

James Hirons

CHADD (Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District)

The Professional Golfers’ Association Benevolent Fund

Edward’s Trust Ltd

BID Services

The David & Christine Lloyd Jones Foundation

Journey’s End Foundation

Sport 4 Life UK

The Stable Trust

MCS Charitable Foundation

ProAge Limited (formerly The Leadership Trust Foundation)

The Badley Memorial Trust

The Friends of the Church of St John, Baptist, Hagley

The Horsepool Foundation

Work highlights

  • Provided technical advice to the trustees of Edward’s Trust Ltd on an internal governance matter, to include obtaining regulatory consents from the Charity Commission and advising on charity law and regulatory considerations in relation to an employment matter.
  • Undertook a lengthy and wide ranging governance review on behalf of the trustees MCS Charitable Foundation.
  • Provided complex governance advice to the trustees of ProAge Limited on the remuneration of trustees in accordance with the Charities Act 2011 and the governing document and on other matters.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Neil Burton , who divides his time between the London and Cambridge offices, heads the department at Mills & Reeve LLP - it continues to work with many major charities. Lucy Howard specialises in contested legacy matters. Howard regularly advises charities on the validity of will provisions and acts on their behalf in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Principal associate, Adam Williams, specialises in governance and charity law regulation. Williams has advised universities throughout the country on charity law issues and acts for a number of the biggest Midlands charities. In addition, Williams leads the firm’s philanthropy offering.

Practice head(s):

Neil Burton

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Howard; Adam Williams


‘The firm has access to specialists in other areas of law. Adam Williams replies promptly and provides useful advice that goes beyond what was requested’.

‘Superb understanding of Charities and the legal framework in which they operate.  Adam Williams is excellent, gives special attention to customer service’.

Key clients

Birmingham City University

Cardiff University

Work highlights

  • Advised Birmingham City University on its tenancy and development of the Alexander Stadium, used to host the Commonwealth games.
  • Advised Cardiff University on the development of sports fields as part of a joint venture with Cardiff City Council and Cardiff City football club.


VWV is co-led by Bristol-based Con Alexander and Birmingham-based Shivaji Shiva . Shiva is well-regarded for his advice on a wide range of issues from the creation of charities to their dissolution. Shiva has developed a reputation for his work with various major faith charities on a variety of complex governance disputes. In addition, Shiva is well-regarded for his support to national charities that promote physical activity. Jaime Hobday is a charity governance lawyer who is experienced in advising on issues such as DfE policy, collaborative working and on the establishment, growth and operation of academy trusts.

Practice head(s):

Con Alexander; Shivaji Shiva

Other key lawyers:

Jaime Hobday


‘We have an immediate team that supports us on a regular basis, they are always responsive and easy to get along with, they are pro-active and advise us in advance of potential issues and offer solutions which is appreciated by us, a small Board of Trustees‘.

Key clients

Banners Trust

Barnwood Trust

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Central England Area Quaker Charities

Charity of Dorothy Parkes (known as Smethwick Chapelry)

George Fentham Birmingham Charity

George Fentham Hampton in Arden

The Joan Lamb Charitable Trust

Westhill Endowment

Soil Association

Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

Chamberlain Highbury Trust

The Lunar Society

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 Donkey Sanctuary

The Shaw Trust

Engage, National Association for Gallery Education

Society of Radiographers

Work highlights

  • Advised several major faith charities including gurdwaras, mosques, temples and a spiritualist church on the resolution of complex internal disputes.
  • Advised the trustees of a regionally significant mosque in response to a Charity Commission inquiry, an appeal to the charity tribunal against the appointment of an interim manager governance and on a range of commercial and operational issues including property, employment, safeguarding and trade marks.
  • Provided comprehensive support to the national office and member charities of a national federated charity, including governance support, the development of strategic guidance on property issues, and advice on the management of major legacies.

Lodders Solicitors LLP

The experienced team at Lodders Solicitors LLP is recommended for its work on a wide range of charity matters. Led by Mark Lewis, it is known for its work on governance and constitutional matters in addition to its handling of complex restructurings and reorganisations. Lewis has particular expertise in ecclesiastical, agricultural, equine and engineering charities. In addition, he has considerable skill in advising membership bodies and breed societies. Steven Baker is another primary contact who advises numerous regional and educational charities on their property portfolios.

Practice head(s):

Mark Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Steven Baker


‘Clear advice and always readily available. We have needed specialist advice for our charity and the information we received was clear and useful’.

‘The individual I rely on for sound and tailored advice is Mark Lewis. He has a wealth of charity law experience and is readily available to offer advice and his opinion. He gives a clear response based on many years of working in the charity sector’.

‘We  were treated promptly and very professionally. Our issue was resolved speedily and satisfactorily. The problem was speedily identified, the options explained and we were at all times kept informed of progress. The cost involved was not unreasonable’.

Key clients

Animal Samaritans

Imagineering Foundation

The Johnson or Secular Clergy Association of The Archdiocese of Birmingham

Keychange Charity

The Roger & Douglas Turner Charitable Trust

Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK

The Temple Balsall Amalgamated Charities

Gavin White

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The group at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is headed nationally by Catherine Rustomji who is experienced in advising charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. Andrew Wilkinson, who is based between Leicester and Nottingham, acts for various charities on a range of complex legacy disputes. In Birmingham, Michael Hibbs is recommended for his employment law advice to charities. Rachel Gwynne is also well-regarded for her corporate support to charity clients such as advising on charitable registrations and conversions.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Rustomji

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Wilkinson; Michael Hibbs; Rachel Gwynne


‘Catherine Rustomji is incredibly knowledgeable and well connected in the Charity sector. She gives clear, well thought-out advice that is valued and appreciated’.

‘We are a small charity and were looking to change our articles of association. We were given the name of Catherine Rustomji. The articles produced were properly drafted for our charity’.

‘It is important that you get the sense that any lawyers are working with you, truly understand and engage with the organisation and take a deep interest. This is certainly what you get from the Shakespeare Martineau Charities and not-for-profit practice’.

‘It is always a great pleasure to work with Catherine Rustomji, who is very approachable, knowledgeable and engaging. Her ability to think on her feet and engage with the issue at hand is excellent and a great help in dealing with matters quickly and efficiently. Always a delight to be with’.

Key clients

Staffordshire University

Worcester Community Trust

Diocese of Birmingham

Heart of England Baptist Association

Talyllyn Railway Holdings Ltd

Trinity Hospitals CIO

West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity

Middleton Hall Trust

Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Organisation

Royal Mencap Society


Work highlights

  • Advising The Heart of England Baptist Association and being recommended to its members, to advise on various issues.
  • Continuing to advise the Church of England staff and churches regarding legal matters relating to employment, safeguarding, property matters and other general queries.
  • Further to advising Trinity on its entry to the Hospital of William Wyggeston and the Hospital Branch Group recently, it is now providing governance, property, charity and employment advice in relation to its full merger into Wyggeston.