A well-drafted constitution and strong governance is fundamental to running a successful charity. Our charity solicitors keep clients up to date with the latest regulatory and legal developments and can advise you in relation to your constitutional structures or other governance-related issues.

We advise on:

  • incorporations of unincorporated charities, both as companies and CIOs;
  • drafting, amending and interpreting governing documents;
  • implementing best practice governance;
  • drafting governance policies including conflicts of interest policies;
  • company secretarial activities including convening and conducting meetings;
  • consortium and collaboration arrangements; and
  • different organisations including Healthwatch bodies, federated charities and membership organisations.

Our team have joined forces with Locality to create a useful toolkit for community organisations. Download the free resource pack.

If there is an issue that you would like advice on, but it is not mentioned on the list, then please do not hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.

Our clients and work

Examples of our work include:

  • advising the boards of Movember Europe, United World Colleges, MRCT, UNICEF UK and Eduserv on legal and regulatory developments;
  • establishing a number of Healthwatch bodies including Richmond Health Voices; Your Voice in Health and Social Care; Healthwatch Ealing; Healthwatch Kingston; and Healthwatch Central West London; and
  • undertaking a major governance review of International Youth Hostel Federation.

For more information, please contact:

James Sinclair Taylor - +44 (0)20 8394 6480 / James.Taylor@russell-cooke.co.uk

Andrew Studd - +44 (0)20 8394 6414 / Andrew.Studd@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.


National Council of Voluntary Organisations

NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) is a registered charity, which gives voice and support to civil society. Russell-Cooke are an approved consultant of the NCVO. NCVO believes passionately in the voluntary and community sector and are the largest umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England with sister councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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.



ACEVO is the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. They connect, develop and represent the third sector's leaders. They have over 2000 members. They have been providing support and advice to their members for 20 years.


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.


Office of the Third Sector

As part of the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) leads work across government to support the environment for a thriving third sector (voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, charities, cooperatives and mutuals), enabling the sector to campaign for change, deliver public services, promote social enterprise and strengthen communities. The OTS was created at the centre of government in May 2006 in recognition of the increasingly important role the third sector plays in both society and the economy.


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.


Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)

Operating from within the National Archives, the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is at the heart of information policy, setting standards, delivering access and encouraging the re-use of public sector information. OPSI provides a wide range of services to the public, information industry, government and the wider public sector relating to finding, using, sharing and trading information.


National Council for Voluntary Organisations

NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) is a registered charity, which gives voice and support to civil society. Russell-Cooke are an approved consultant of the NCVO. NCVO believes passionately in the voluntary and community sector and are the largest umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England with sister councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Lasting Transformations

The Charity and Social Business Team at Russell-Cooke works in partnership with Lasting Transformation, a consultancy established by experienced strategic leaders Shan Nicholas and Susie Parsons which support Boards and Senior Management Teams to secure stability, sustainability and success.

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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.


The London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC)

The London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) is a strategic and independent voice for London's voluntary and community sector. They support London's 60,000 plus voluntary and community organisations to improve the lives of Londoners.



ivo is a charity that promotes and enables volunteering and social action. ivo do this primarily through the use of digital technologies with their main projects being the ivo.org social platform and Do-it.org, the UK's largest volunteering service.

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LawWorks supports lawyers to volunteer their professional skills to assist individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help and who are unable to access legal aid or other forms of financial assistance.

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