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Home / Expertise / Services / Charities / Charity Lawyers
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Acting for over 450 national and international charities

and a wide range of other civil society organisations and social enterprises, we deal with all types of charity-related concerns. We can assist with all aspects of charity law as well as covering all of the wider legal needs of charities and not-for-profit organisations.

We have an open, creative and practical approach, working with our clients to find the best solutions to both day-to-day and more niche legal challenges. Our charity lawyers are true experts, with extensive specialist expertise acting for charities and non-profits, so we can provide seasoned advice that allows you to make the right strategic decisions.

A complete legal service for charities and not-for-profit organisations

Our charity lawyers advise charities and not-for-profit organisations on all of their legal needs, including:

Charities Regulation

Whether you are starting a charity or involved in running one, it is essential to have the right legal framework in place and to ensure that your organisation is meeting all of its legal obligations.

Our charity lawyers can assist with charity regulation matters, including:

Charity Fundraising

Fundraising is essential to support the work charities do, with many different options that can be explored. Having the right legal advice and sound funding agreements can help to make sure your organisation gets the right funds on terms that match your objectives.

Our charity law solicitors can advise on matters including:

  • Charity Fundraising Compliance
  • Donation Agreements
  • Charity Loan Agreements
  • Grants
  • Alternative Fundraising
  • Charitable Investments

Charity Mergers and Restructures

Mergers and restructures are typically very complicated, with many different issues that must be carefully considered. Securing the right legal guidance helps to ensure a smooth transition, while making sure the merger or restructure will allow your organisation or organisations to continue to meet the needs of those you serve.

We can advise on all aspects of charity mergers and restructuring, including:

  • Restructuring a Charity
  • Charity Mergers
  • Winding Up a Charity

Charity Disputes

Disputes can use up a lot of time, money and other resources that could be better directed towards fulfilling your charity’s mission. Fortunately, with the right early intervention, most charity disputes can be resolved quickly and cost-effectively in a way that protects your organisation’s position and your wider interests, including your reputation.

Our charity lawyers have extensive experience in charity dispute resolution, including in relation to:

  • Charity Legacy Disputes
  • Disputes with the Charity Commission
  • Reputation Management
  • Charity Trustee Disputes

Real Estate, Employment, Commercial Law & additional services

Charities and not-for-profits have to deal with a wide array of issues, many of which require expert legal advice to get right. Our firm is able to offer a complete solution for all of these matters, making life much simpler for you and your organisation.

Our charity lawyers and wider commercial team are able to assist with all legal needs of charities and not-for-profit organisations, including:

Philanthropy and ESG

Philanthropy and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) are growing areas of focus for many individuals, businesses and other organisations. Charities and non-profits working with philanthropic individuals and organisations need to make sure they can offer the right information and support to build effective partnerships.

We have extensive expertise advising charities and non-profits on partnering with individuals and organisations on philanthropy and ESG, including in relation to:

  • Individual Philanthropy
  • Corporate Philanthropy and ESG

Read more about our philanthropy services

Our clients

Our clients include the full range of charitable and not-for-profit organisations nationwide, such as schools and educational charities, healthcare institutions, religious organisations, social enterprises, arts charities and Livery Companies.

Read more about our experience with different types of charity and not-for profit clients

Why choose BDB Pitmans for charity law?

  • 1 Independently recognised charity law expertise

    BDB Pitmans is recognised by the leading client guides, being highly ranked by the Legal 500 for our expertise in Charities and Non-For-Profit Law and by Chambers & Partners for Charities.

    We are also highly ranked in related areas of expertise, including Employment, Real Estate, Corporate and Commercial Law, Restructuring and Insolvency, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

  • 2 Extensive experience advising charities and not-for-profits of all types and sizes

    With decades of combined experience advising all manner of charities and not-for-profit organisations, our charity lawyers have earned a reputation as the go-to people for any complex or unusual issues in this challenging sector.

  • 3 A bespoke service that meets all of your organisation’s legal needs

    Our charity lawyers have exceptional breadth and depth of legal expertise, as well as being able to call on specialists from other teams across the firm. This allows us to offer a carefully tailored legal service that meets all of your needs, making BDB Pitmans the only law firm your charity or non-profit will ever need.

Our charity and not-for-profit experience

Arts Charities

We have a unique understanding of the art and cultural market, which places us in the best position to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our clients’ needs.
We advise private individuals, including collectors, philanthropists, artists and authors, as well as their executors and trustees; charities and not-for-profits of all sizes; museums, galleries, and national art institutions; partnerships, corporate entities and online businesses operating in the arts, music industry and entertainment sectors.

We can advise on:

  • Governance and day to day aspects of running an arts sector organisation
  • Issues arising from the sale and purchase of works of art
  • Issues of provenance, intellectual property, succession and tax planning

Education

The legal and regulatory issues facing educational institutions are wide ranging and changing constantly. We have the experience and expertise to help you navigate and manage these issues with confidence.
Many in the team are school governors and trustees of educational charities; therefore have first-hand experience of seeing issues from both sides.

We advise the governing bodies and leadership teams of independent schools as well as trustees of educational foundations on all matters ranging from operational issues to governance and risk management. Drawing on expertise from across the firm, we offer an integrated service to our clients ranging from debt collection and staffing to mergers and collaborations and exploring opportunities overseas.

We also have a public affairs team who can work with you in challenging circumstances to engage with stakeholders and manage media communications.

Healthcare

Both private healthcare institutions and NHS representatives are facing the same issues as private sector businesses. Cutting costs, streamlining business processes and increasing operational efficiency are all of high priority.
We offer pragmatic advice to help you navigate these challenges, drawing on expertise from the firm’s full range of business services. Our clients range from major private hospitals, health insurance providers and product suppliers to NHS trusts, charities and regulators. Working for both the public and private sector as well as not for profit organisations provides us with a balanced outlook and well-rounded view.

Our experience:

  • Advising on the re-organisation of various NHS charities as charitable companies limited by guarantee outside the constraints of the NHS regulatory framework
  • Advising on the eligibility for charity rate relief of health and fitness centres
  • Procuring Charity Commission approval to the remuneration of the directors/trustees of a healthcare charity

Livery Companies

We have long standing relationships with many of the City of London Livery Companies, including those within the Great Twelve. Several of our partners are themselves, liverymen.

We provide advice across a wide range of sectors, including:

  • Charities
  • Commercial
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Intellectual property
  • Planning
  • Real estate

Our experience and expertise in these areas enable us to advise Livery Companies and their associated charities and schools on the full range of issues that they may face on a day to day basis.
In addition, our longstanding involvement with many Livery Companies means that we understand and appreciate the status of the Companies, their history and heritage and the issues that are likely to be of concern to them.

 

Examples of work we have undertaken for Livery Companies clients include advising on:

  • Royal Charters, ordinances and regulations for Companies both ancient and modern
  • Commercial terms in relation to sponsorship of and association with schools
  • Trusteeship of charitable funds, the merger of charities and the amalgamation and rationalisation of funds
  • Corporate and charity property portfolios, including day to day property management and the acquisition and disposal of portfolio property
  • The impact of the Equality Act 2010 to charitable objects requiring grants to be made to persons of a certain background and nationality
  • The legality of age limits imposed on holding the office of Master
  • The full range of employment issues, including reviewing, updating and drafting contracts of employment and staff handbooks, advising on disciplinary and dismissal matters, advising on casual worker status and undertaking Employment Tribunal litigation
  • The terms of outsourcing contracts, including in relation to catering and accountancy

Religious Organisations

We act for a broad range of faith-based organisations on the full range of matters which may affect them.
As a number of our team are practising members of their own faith, we understand the extent to which the fundamental requirements of a faith may impact on, for example, an organisation’s decision making processes or approach to secular authority.

We can advise on:

  • The application of the Equalities Act and Human Rights legislation;
  • The need for employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees of faith; and
  • How to ensure compliance with various regulatory requirements which do not sit happily with the requirements of a faith

Social Enterprise

We understand the opportunities and challenges faced by the social enterprise model.
We work with social impact businesses to enable them to be more strategic in their operations and business planning, from the early stages of formation through to maturity, and also at times when unforeseen circumstances need to be managed.

We help charities and philanthropists to acquire both positive social outcomes and financial returns. We help social enterprises navigate the legal and regulatory obstacles of this emerging market and satisfy the demands of funders when looking to raise finance in new ways, such as social impact bonds.

As public bodies increasingly move away from grants to using contracts where services are commissioned or purchased, we can help organisations manage the often complex tax implications which may be involved.
To compete, it is often vitally important for organisations to work together, and we have considerable experience in collaborative working ranging from formal mergers, contracting consortia to less formal associations.

Our charity law fees

We are able to provide assistance with charity law matters on a fixed cost or assessed costs basis as appropriate. We will be happy to discuss this with you during your initial consultation with our team and can provide a clear estimate of costs at the outset.

Insights from our Charity lawyers

We have a dedicated charity law blog where our team regularly shares insights on a wide range of matters of interest to charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Below are links to some key insights for charities and non-profits dealing with specific challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Speak to our charity lawyers about how we can help you

To discuss how our charity lawyers can help your organisation, please get in touch.