Charity law

As a charity or social enterprise, you face a unique range of legal, regulatory and commercial challenges. We have helped hundreds of charities not only to deal with these challenges, but also to realise the significant opportunities of the sector.

> Our charity lawyers
> Our charity law experience
> Our clients
> What our clients and others say about us
> Legal resources you may find useful

Charity law experts focused on achieving your objectives

Our specialist team of charity law solicitors advises charities and their founders on: 

  • Finding and adopting the best legal structure to achieve your goals 
  • Governance, and relationships between trustees, management, funders/donors and other stakeholders 
  • Balancing your charitable objectives with the need to operate a sustainable charity with impact 
  • Managing relationships with the Charity Commission and Companies House 
  • Philanthropy and venture philanthropy, bringing together our charity, private client and tax expertise

We have worked with more than 250 charities, including the British Council and the Wellcome Trust, the largest UK charities by turnover and assets respectively.

Beyond pure charity law, we offer the full range of legal services to the charity sector.

Our charity lawyers

  • We have 140 lawyers acting for our charity clients on a full range of their domestic and international activities. 
  • Our national centres of excellence are driven by leading individuals from various specialist areas across the firm, including Neil Burton (charity, governance and funding), Gary Barber (trust and charity law), Gary Attle (education and governance) and Ted Powell (tax and governance). 
  • Our professionals include overseas legal experts, Notaries Public and Chartered Secretaries.

Our charity law experience

Our extensive experience includes advising on: 

  • Appropriate legal structures for new charities (eg, company limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organisations, trusts and Royal Charter corporations) as well as reviewing and restructuring the legal structures for existing charities and trading subsidiaries. 
  • General governance and day to day management issues, including the provision of advice on trustees’ powers and duties. 
  • Fundraising and significant charitable donations and grants, including a donation of £40 million to create an international law school and a diverse range of overseas grants. 
  • Specialist charity law issues such as grants, endowments, charity property law and charity schemes. 
  • Substantial legacies contentious proceedings including trustee disputes. Advice was provided through our specialist contested legacies and probate team.

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Our clients

We act for over 250 charity clients including: 

  • The British Council and the Wellcome Trust – the largest UK charities by turnover and assets respectively 
  • Macmillan Cancer Support and other high profile names in health 
  • Over 120 universities, colleges, schools and academy sponsors 
  • Museums, libraries, arts bodies and heritage organisations 
  • Environmental and conservation trusts

What our clients and others say about us

  • Chambers UK ranks us in the top tier for charities work, noting our “highly-reputed charity law expertise with strong commercial law capabilities“. 
  • Legal 500 also ranks us highly, praising our “helpful and knowledgeable” experts. 
  • Clients praise our "extraordinarily helpful, extremely prompt service … [the team] assists on the law and also on the strategy”.

Legal resources you may find useful

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