Spindogs

Charity Law Solicitors

We know the challenges you face as charities and not-for-profit organisations. We recognise the commercial decisions you need to make whilst never losing sight of your charitable aims.

We have a multi-disciplinary charities team that can offer complete legal support on any issue your organisation may face; from establishment through to incorporation, merger and dissolution, reputation and brand protection, risk management, governance, finance, property, intellectual property, data protection, employment and dispute resolution.

We have experience in advising a broad range of charities, foundations and not-for-profit organisations across the sector, from sporting and military charities, grant makers and corporate foundations to international charities, faith-based organisations and membership bodies.

Key contact

Peter advises on a wide range of charity law issues including charity formation, registration and incorporation, joint ventures, mergers, complex structures, trading, grant and donation agreements, crisis management and advising charities with an international element, acting for overseas charities looking to establish charities and initiatives in the UK, and UK charities wishing to fund projects and establish branches in other jurisdictions.

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HJ Talks About Charities Podcast Series

Our dedicated podcast series from the Charities team at Hugh James, HJ Talks About Charities. We talk about topical issues and the latest developments affecting charitable and not-for-profit organisations to help provide some practical guidance to ensure they run effectively. We are lawyers so we will touch on the legal standpoints surrounding the topics, but don’t worry, we’ll keep the legalese to a minimum.

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You can subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes, Spotify or Google to listen to the entire back catalogue of episodes, using the links below.

Our charity partnerships

Our work with charities on a local and national level plays a huge part in our day to day life. We work with a large range of charities, some of which we support through fundraising and donations, and others we partner with where our areas of work cross paths. You can find out more about our support of charities here.

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Our expertise

Charity Establishment, Registration and Incorporation

 

We can help you chose the right structure for your organisation, tailor your constitution to meet your needs and, where applicable, register your organisation with the Charity Commission.

We have established and registered complex charity structures including new faith-based organisations, charity subsidiaries and complex governance structures, alongside more traditional unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) and charitable companies.

We also advise on the establishment of social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations that benefit the wider community, including not-for-profit companies and Community Interest Companies (CICs).

We frequently advise on the conversion of unincorporated bodies into corporate structures, so trustees can benefit from limited liability. This includes the transfer of assets and liabilities to the new organisation (including TUPE transfers of employees) and updating the constitution to comply with modern charity law.  

Charity Governance

 

Effective governance is key in ensuring both regulatory compliance and the ultimate success of your organisation.

We can help tailor your governance structures and policy documents so that they ensure best practice but also reflect the practical workings of your organisation. Many of us are ourselves trustees of charities, meaning we understand the practicalities of governance and how this is put into practice.  

Governance and policy are an area that the Charity Commission expect charities to keep in constant review. Please therefore do get in touch to discuss our fixed fee arrangements for governance reviews.

Collaborations, Mergers and Restructures

 

Whether you are thinking of simply partnering with another organisation on a project or completely merging multiple organisations into a new structure, securing the right legal guidance from the outset will ensure a smooth transition in what can be a complicated area of law.

The Charity Governance Code recommends that trustees ‘consider the benefits and risks of partnership working, merger or dissolution if other organisations are fulfilling similar charitable purposes more effectively’.

We can help you consider all possible solutions, including informal partnerships, joint ventures, subsidiary charities, formally ‘linking’ charities and full mergers. We are sensitive to the importance of considering the history of an organisation, its stakeholders, brand, culture, compatibility and reputational management throughout the process.

Crisis Management & Charity Commission Investigations

 

Charities operate in an increasingly scrutinised regulatory environment and even with effective governance, policies and procedures in place, there are no guarantees that your charity will never face a crisis.

We have extensive experience of assisting charities in difficulties to provide sensitive and timely advice and how to work with regulators to secure the best possible outcome. We help charities with Serious Incident Reports (SIRs), internal investigations and complaints as well as dealing with Charity Commission investigations if they occur.

Our primary aim is always to help clients avoid a crisis in the first place, and therefore we can help draft robust policies, procedures and governance frameworks to ensure that if an incident occurs this can be dealt with in a way which helps reduce any negative impact to a charity’s reputation.  

Dispute Resolution

 

Internal governance disputes can and do arise, and when this happens it is important to ensure that they are dealt with sensitively and as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that such disputes do not escalate unnecessarily but where legal action is necessary, our dispute resolution team will be able to help.

Trading & trading subsidiaries

 

Charity trading can be an excellent way to raise funds, but if it’s not linked to your primary charitable purpose, you will need to think about establishing a trading subsidiary. We have extensive experience helping charities structure and manage their trading activity and can take you through the options to decide on the best approach for your operations.

Charity Property

 

We have a particular specialism in advising charities that hold substantial property assets and the complex historic trust arrangements that these can entail.

We are experienced in dealing with property issues that are bespoke to charities, such as first registrations of land, permanent endowment issues, Charity Commission Schemes in relation to property, mortgages of charity land as well as offering a full range of property and planning services to charities

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Employment & HR

 

Depending on their size, activity and degree of maturity, a charity will require tailored support when dealing with HR matters. The requirements range from assisting charities on how to meet their legal obligations as employers to helping them deal with particular challenges, including relationships with volunteers. These can arise at an employee level, such as dealing with an individual’s poor performance or ill health, or at organisation-wide level such as the adoption of a new reward framework or restructuring.

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Legacy Services by HJ Legacy

 

We know how increasingly vital legacy income is for charities, and how important it is to protect it – while navigating through the issues of risk, reputation and regulation. As a full service, Top 100 UK law firm we’re on hand to support our charity clients, partners and colleagues with innovative, cost-effective and tailored solutions. That’s HJ Legacy.

 

Estate and Legacy Administration

Our award-winning team is proud to be one of the largest and most well-known providers of legacy, estate and trust administration services in the UK. We work to strict service level agreements and have built-in, tailor-made processes to ensure beneficiaries receive their legacies as quickly as possible.

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Will writing

As one of the largest providers of will writing in the UK, we provide services for charities, individuals and financial institutions across England and Wales and beyond. And, because we’re regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority,

your benefactors can be assured they’re in safe hands. We offer will writing services tailored to your specific needs, including online, telephone and face-to-face appointments.

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Legacy disputes

Our market leading team advises charities across the whole range of will, trust and estate disputes and we offer a range of funding solutions tailored to our clients’ needs, from fixed fee and blended rates to retainer and ad hoc advice services. We understand that legacy officers and trustees have a challenging role; to manage risk, make the most of opportunities and ensure decision-making is in the best interests of the charity. With a proven track record of success, we can provide practical guidance on the options available when faced with a legacy dispute, helping to protect this much needed source of income.

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Key contact

Roman is a partner and head of the contested wills, trusts and estates team. He advises across the whole spectrum of private client litigation, with a particular focus on high value, complex and cross-border disputes including: trust disputes, breach of trust claims and applications to remove trustees; will disputes, particularly those with an international element; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; and claims for equitable relief under proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts.

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Quotes

Hugh James is singled out for its […] ‘deep understanding’ of charity law and its regulatory framework

Chambers and Partners UK

Quotes

We recently had a meeting with Roman regarding a legacy policy for our charity- and he was fantastic! He came to the meeting with lots of ideas and suggestions, and he had obviously done his research about L'Arche, which really helped with his guidance. He followed this up with an email as promised with examples of we could take our issue forward. We ware so grateful. Thank you Roman!

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