Liz Brownsell > Birketts LLP > Ipswich, England > Lawyer Profile

Birketts LLP
Providence House
141-145 Princes Street

Work Department

Charities and Social Enterprise


Senior Associate, Co-Head of Charities and Social Enterprise


Liz is a Senior Associate and Co-Head of our Charities and Social Enterprise Team. She also specialises in Education (in particular academy conversions).

Liz leads on non-contentious work within the firm-wide charities and social enterprise group. Her expertise covers a wide range of matters affecting charities, including setting up and incorporation, mergers, corporate structuring and restructuring, governance (including constitutional and membership issues), commercial arrangements and contracts (including joint ventures and collaborative agreements), trading and charity retail (in particular Gift Aid for charity shops), fundraising, matters involving the Charity Commission (including investigations), releasing permanent endowment and other restricted funds, and general charity law.

Liz has further specific expertise advising on academy conversions, covering every type of conversion, including primary and secondary schools, special needs schools, sponsored conversions, Catholic schools, and Church of England schools. Liz also provides post-conversion support to academy schools on matters such as compliance with DfE and EFA requirements, governance, mergers with other academy trust companies and other commercial issues.

Liz leads the firm’s in-house training offering to our charity clients through Birketts’ Shaping Excellence Programme, and regularly delivers seminars on a variety of topics. Liz also delivers the firm’s rolling programme of Charity Trustee Induction and Refresher Training, which provides charity trustees and senior managers with essential training on the role and responsibilities of charity trustees.


Liz is a member of the Charity Law Association and has an active interest in the development of the sector. She has been involved in a number of CLA Working Parties, including Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006, the Law Commission’s consultation on technical issues in charity law, and the new Charity Governance Code. Liz is also a member of the CLA Standing Committee on Model Documents for Charities.

Liz is also a member of the Education Law Association and the Charity Retail Association.

Liz regularly writes for sector media and has published a number of articles in publications such as Charities Management Magazine.

Lawyer Rankings

East Anglia > Public sector > Public sector

(Next Generation Partners)

Liz BrownsellBirketts LLP

Birketts LLP ‘provides excellent customer service and is confident in giving advice on complex legal issues, and one of its major strengths is the ability to view an issue from a local standpoint‘. The firm coordinates a strong multidisciplinary team including property, charities, corporate, employment and public law expertise to support public sector clients, among them The Broads Authority, Anglia Ruskin University and South Norfolk Council. Head of public sector and local government Ruth Neave works across all four of the firm’s offices, working closely with head of education Abigail Trencher in Cambridge and head of health Matthew Newnham in Norwich. Head of the academies practice Liz Brownsell  in Ipswich is also a key adviser to charities and education clients.

East Anglia > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

(Next Generation Partners)

Liz BrownsellBirketts LLP

Birketts LLP has ‘in-depth knowledge and experience, and provides very clear advice and guidance‘. The firm gas a dedicated charities practice that draws on expertise from other teams, notably employment, immigration, property and litigation. It handles the formation of charities, as well as providing procurement and fundraising advice, and it has specialist knowledge of the ecclesiastical sector. Charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich leads the practice. She assisted with the establishment of the UK Cyber Security Council. Legal director Erika Clarke  and senior associate Frances Godden are the key practitioners in Norwich. Brownsell and Godden are ‘relaxed and approachable, very responsive, knowledgeable and highly skilled in communicating to a broad audience‘.

London > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

(Firms to watch)

Liz Brownsell leads a ‘competent team of likeable and helpful lawyers’ at Birketts LLP who are ‘responsive’. It advises on the full range of matters from setting up new charities to charity mergers as well as advising charities on disputed legacies.