Chris Billington > Wrigleys Solicitors LLP > Leeds, England > Lawyer Profile
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP Offices
3 Wellington Place
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Education and Charities
Chris has over 25 years’ experience of advising schools, colleges and academies, and other charities and social enterprises on a wide range of issues including governance, collaborations and partnerships, funding and service level agreements, Freedom of Information and employment matters, including staff transfers under TUPE.
Trustee and Pro Bono Work – Chris is an academy governor at an outstanding secondary school, trustee of a local regeneration charity and a committee member of West Yorkshire Pro Help, which is part of Business in the Community, partnering free professional advice with voluntary and community groups. He was formerly chair of trustees of a large academy chain.
Charities – Chris’ work with charities covers incorporations and registrations, advice on legal structures, governance arrangements and group structures, including charity trading and trading subsidiaries and joint ventures. Recent advice includes establishing an innovative group structure for a community owned renewable energy project supported by a local authority, local regeneration charity and community residents allowing for community capital and bank borrowings.
He has provided preliminary advice on the feasibility of the transfer of music and property management services from local authorities to charity and social enterprise structures and has advised on a number of projects involving Community Asset Transfers from local authorities to community groups.
Chris worked with the South Gloucestershire Leisure Trust on its externalisation from the Council, advising on the memorandum and articles of association of the charitable company limited by guarantee, including future participation in the governance arrangements of the charity by the Council. Chris also advised on the Transfer Agreement as well as the Funding Agreement and Service Level Agreement which continues to form the basis of the relationship between the Leisure Trust and the Council.
Academies – Chris leads Wrigleys Education Team on governance and contract matters and has assisted in over 450 academy and free school projects, establishing Wrigleys as one of the leading legal specialists working with academies. In recognition of our work Wrigleys was invited to work with the Department for Education as part of their solicitors’ workshop, providing feedback on policy development relating to the template legal documents used by the Department with academy conversions. Chris advises on all governance aspects of the conversion to academy status, including training to governors on their roles and responsibilities and on all contract documentation, including PFI arrangements and the Commercial Transfer Agreement. Recent advice includes work on the merger of an existing PFI academy into a multi academy trust and establishing trading subsidiaries and school companies in compliance with school company regulations and the Charities Acts and Companies Acts.
Chris also advises on commercial contracts and arrangements for schools including Service Level Agreements, collaborations and partnerships. Recent advice includes structures and governance arrangements relating to Teaching School alliances and funding agreements for Early Years Education and Children’s Centres.
Employment – Chris also advises on employment matters, including TUPE arising in relation to the transfer of staff in the work outlined above. His work includes drafting contracts of employment, policies and procedures and dealing with discipline and grievance issues and termination including negotiating severance agreements.
- Charity Law Association
- Employment Lawyers Association
- Education Law Association
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is noted for its specialist knowledge of advising faith schools and academies as well as advising on special educational needs work. The team is often active in academy conversions, academy to academy mergers and transfers, as well as governance, compliance and regulatory work. Chris Billington combines commercial and employment law experience; he leads the group. Consultant Graham Shaw is another prominent practitioner.
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is particularly strong within the charities, landed estates and pensions sectors. The team handles a high volume of employment tribunal cases and handles the full spectrum of issues, ranging from unfair dismissal and TUPE disputes to National Minimum Wage and social media conduct. Sue King is the main contact for charities and independent schools work and is ably supported by Alacoque Marvin who has particular expertise in advising on equality issues within the workplace. Chris Billington heads the team.
The charities team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is led by Malcolm Lynch. It is one of the largest specialist teams in this sector in the country, described as going ‘above and beyond’ for its clients. Its workload includes advising on intricate and complex, high-value matters involving charity governance; corporate foundations; grants and social finance; property and housing. The team advises a broad range of clients, from faith-based charities, to health-based, to arts, culture and heritage-based, to conservation and environment-focused. Chris Billington leads on education work; other key names include Sylvie Nunn and Nat Johnson.
- Charities and not-for-profit - Yorkshire and the Humber > Private client
- Education - Yorkshire and the Humber > Public sector
- Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - Yorkshire and the Humber > Employment
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Private client > Agriculture and estates
- Private client > Charities and not-for-profit
- Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate