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
Malcolm Lynch leads the charities team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP in Leeds, which works locally, nationally and internationally, advising a range of clients from grassroots organisations to corporate charitable foundations. The groups workload includes advising on charity governance issues, impact investment work and community benefit society matters, and the team works with key sector bodies, including the Charity Commission. Nat Johnson has particular experience regarding faith-based charities, and Chris Billington leads on education work. Clare Lawrence is also recommended.
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP specialises in advising charities and educational establishments on the full breadth of employment issues, with a particular emphasis on assisting trustees. Chris Billington heads the practice in Leeds, with expertise cutting across data protection, senior staff, employment contracts, worker statements, and trustee disputes; he works alongside Sue King, who, in addition to working closely with the firm’s wider charities and pensions offering, specialises in discrimination issues before the Employment Tribunal.
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s is highly regarded for its work with state-funded schools, as well as faith schools and academies. In addition to advising on conversions and transfers, which make up a core part of the workload, the team regularly assists with issues relating to safeguarding, exclusions, parental responsibility and reputation management. Chris Billington leads on governance and commercial matters, and also brings his experience as practice head of the employment department to the team. Graham Shaw and Tim Wrigley are also key members of the group.
The charities and social economy team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is one of the largest specialist teams in the country. With Malcolm Lynch at the helm, it acts for a broad spectrum of regional, national and international clients. Key areas of focus include advising on charity governance, corporate foundations and impact investments; the group is also skilled at helping international charities as well as faith-based charities, NHS bodies and health-based charities. The group receives a steady flow of instructions from arts, culture and heritage charities, and is adept at advising on community led housing and co-operative and friendly societies. Elizabeth Wilson heads up the charity property team, Fiona Wharton is also well regarded, and Chris Billington’s recent work has included advising on regulator investigations and compliance.
- 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