Our charity team specialises in advising charities and other not-for-profit organisations that work internationally. We work with UK-based organisations that have activities in another country and overseas organisations with a presence in the UK, or wish to establish a presence here.  We have practical experience too; several members of our team are trustees of international development charities.

The areas we advise on include:

  • establishing a branch or a charity in the UK (which may be a subsidiary)
  • transferring operations to another country
  • structuring international groups, federations and associations
  • contracting and funding arrangements internationally
  • tax treatment for UK charities and their donors
  • the Bribery Act 2010 and its implications for organisations with a connection to the UK
  • appropriate governance arrangements where a UK charity has an overseas parent organisation
  • arrangements for staff and volunteers working abroad.

If you would like to discuss how we could help you, please get in touch.

Our expertise

Examples of our international work include:

  • establishing a charity elsewhere in the EU because of concerns about losing EU funding as a result of Brexit
  • advising UNICEF on a collaboration agreement with its national charities
  • relocation of charities to and from the UK
  • supporting the International Water Association with their UK governance and their international operating structure
  • working on contracts between Voluntary Service Overseas and the Department for International Development
  • participating in multinational collaborations and arrangements for service delivery, including for Plan International UK
  • the implications of staff recruited in the UK working in other countries and staff from other countries working in the UK
  • on-going work for international federations, including Hostelling International, Consumers International and United World Colleges
  • helping Movember to establish an international presence in the UK
  • assisting an international federation of health organisations with its relocation from London to Switzerland
  • advising on the merger between Plan International and Interact
  • establishing the World Dementia Council as a UK Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and assisting the Associated Country Women of the World with incorporation.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Studd - +44 (0)20 8394 6414 / Andrew.Studd@russell-cooke.co.uk

Chris Rowse - +44 (0)20 8394 6438 / Chris.Rowse@russell-cooke.co.uk

Charity Law Association

The Charity Law Association currently has over 900 members including many of the country's largest charities and leading charity lawyers. Members or their representatives are able to attend quarterly meetings at which charity law and related issues are discussed. All members of the team are members of the Charity Law Association.


Charges are usually based on hourly rates plus administrative charges and disbursements but we are flexible with regard to charging rates and will discuss with you budgets for work on a particular matter, or, where it is not entirely clear how things will develop, for the initial stages or a particular stage of a matter.  We will always provide you with an initial estimate of your likely legal costs and will update this as your requirements or the circumstances of the work change.

In circumstances where we can more or less either anticipate the work to be done or prescribe the work, we can act on a fixed or capped fee basis.

We would be pleased to discuss your requirements free of charge and tailor a costs proposal accordingly.

It is fundamental to our policy on allocating work that one of the factors we will consider is the likely cost outcome of using particular solicitors for particular pieces of work.  Whilst almost invariably a partner will be able to carry out work more quickly than a less experienced solicitor, a less experienced solicitor under appropriate supervision may be able to produce a more cost effective result.  Partner input is more likely to be appropriate and cost-effective in more complex or more specialised matters.

Charity Commission - Supporting Charities

The Charity Commission registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. We offer them advice and provide a wide range of services and guidance to help them run as effectively as possible. We also keep the online Register of Charities, which provides information about each of the thousands of registered charities in England and Wales.


The Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG)

The Charity Finance Directors' Group is a membership organisation set up in 1987 and specialises in helping charities to manage their accounting, taxation, audit and other finance related functions.


Directory of Social Change (DSC)

Directory of Social Change (DSC) is an independent charity with a vision of an independent voluntary sector at the heart of social change. They achieve this by providing essential information and training to the voluntary sector to enable charities to achieve their mission.


CTN - The trustee network

CTN’s vision is of positive, effective trustees governing voluntary and community sector organisations. It works to achieve this by: increasing trustees’ access to information, guidance and support through networks, a website, signposting and services; and developing understanding and awareness of trusteeship and governance. CTN was founded in 1998 by a group of trustees who found that meeting together enhanced their motivation and effectiveness within their charitable organisations. There are now many networks around the country which provide networking and support opportunities to over 500 trustees a year. We also listen to the concerns of trustees and make sure that these are heard at a national level, through our partnerships, consultations and submissions. We regularly organise events to support trustees and hear their views; these range from a small working group lunch to our Annual Lecture for 300 trustees. Where possible, we work with partners to achieve positive outcomes for trustees.



Prospectus is a specialist recruitment consultancy and recruitment advertising and design agency working exclusively with the not for profit sector. Their clients include charities, social enterprises, universities, health agencies, arts bodies, membership organisations and government departments. They work collaboratively with not for profit ‘umbrella’ organisations like NCVO and ACEVO.


Whitecliff Consulting

The charity and social business team at Russell-Cooke works in partnership with Whitecliff Consulting a consultancy established by James Sinclair Taylor which supports boards and senior management teams delivering change, securing agreement to governance reform and finding and achieving growth through merger.


Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is the independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities.


The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) is the new independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland. They are responsible for ensuring Northern Ireland has a dynamic and well governed charities sector, in which the public can have confidence.