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Getting charity governance right
All charities need an up-to-date constitution and governance policies to enable trustees to manage their charity effectively and stay compliant. Our specialist charity solicitors can work with you to make sure your documents are clear, flexible and reflect best practice.
If your charity is unincorporated we can help you decide whether to incorporate, given the risks your organisation bears. Our charity solicitors also work with charities with less common structures, including Royal Charter corporations and Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies.
We can carry out a bespoke charity governance review and help you implement change. We provide trustee training and updates, to help trustees understand their legal duties and identify best practice.
Some charities have complex arrangements for holding assets. We help charities make best use of assets held subject to permanent endowment. We can help you identify opportunities to make changes and obtain Charity Commission schemes and orders.
Supporting your operations
We seek to understand your charity’s ambitions and business model and help protect assets and mitigate risks arising from your charity’s activities. We advise on all types of commercial agreements and help charities negotiate contracts and identify and apportion risk.
We also help charities protect their brands and intellectual property and ensure they comply with the law, regulation and best practice in fundraising activities. Following the establishment of the Fundraising Regulator and changes in data protection law, we are assisting many clients to meet the requirements when they obtain and hold data.
Collaborations and mergers
Charities often collaborate and increasingly this requires a more formal approach, whether establishing a joint venture or entering into a collaboration or consortium agreement. We understand the dynamics of working with other organisations, while ensuring each charity preserves its identity.
We regularly advise on charity mergers and understand the sensitivities that can arise. We help guide trustees and executive teams on the process, from initial discussions to considering future governance structures to implementation.
We also have particular experience helping international and not for profit charities and charities that conduct work overseas.
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.charitylawassociation.org.uk
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.