Whether you are seeking to register a charity or require advice on legalities whilst directing the charity on a day to day basis.
How can a lawyer help with Charities
Charity law covers the rules relating to the setting up and operation of charities and non-profit organisations. It is an ideal way to combine a career in law with a passion for anything charitable, such as the arts and culture, the environment, human rights, working with young people and sport.
For charities just starting out, we can advise on which legal structure is the right fit for the organisation, whether as a charitable trust, company limited by guarantee (CLG), or charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). We can then provide support in registering the charity with the Charity Commission.
INCORPORATION AND ROYAL CHARTERS
We help unincorporated charities convert to CLGs or CIOs, facilitating thorough due diligence to ensure the secure and comprehensive transfer of the charity’s operations to the newly incorporated charity. We are also experienced in seeking Royal Chartered status for existing charities and all related dealings with the Privy Council.
We advise trustees who wish to review their charities’ constitutions to ensure that they remain fit for the charities’ purposes, reflective of best practice, and up-to-date with legislation. We can also help draw up practical governance policies and/or manuals for the more efficient management of trustees’ business.
REGULATION AND COMPLIANCE
We help trustees to manage their charities’ relationships with the Charity Commission, with a view to achieving their desired outcomes in a cost-effective manner. We are equally used to liaising with other relevant regulators, for example, Companies House, the Care Quality Commission, the Privy Council, the ICO, the Fundraising Regulator etc.
FUNDRAISING AND COMMERCIAL ADVICE
We provide practical day-to-day commercial advice to charities including in relation to arrangements with volunteers, legacies, grant-making, the establishment of trading subsidiaries, tax planning and Gift Aid, collaborative working and mergers, fundraising (including with professional fundraisers and commercial participators), brand protection, sponsorship, intellectual property licensing and data protection.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND NON-PROFIT
Our advice extends to charities that are exempt or excepted from registration with the Charity Commission, as well as not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises, including community interest companies (CIC), community amateur sports clubs (CASC) and mutual/registered societies (i.e. industrial and provident societies/community and benefit societies).
OTHER RELATED ISSUES
Our cross-disciplinary practice means that lawyers from all specialisms across the firm are well-versed in advising charities. In particular, we regularly advise charities on matters connected to property management (including charity shops and retail), employment, compliance with safeguarding and health & safety regulation, pensions, and investment and financing.
SERIOUS INCIDENT REPORTING
We help clients to identify circumstances in which incidents posing a risk to the beneficiaries, assets, or reputation of a charity require reporting to the Charity Commission and how such reports can best be framed. We also advise on regular bulk reporting and the management of any ongoing involvement with the Commission going forward.
CHARITY COMMISSION INTERVENTION
We help charities and their trustees to navigate the requirements of governance compliance reviews and statutory inquiries, assisting with the collation, presentation and provision of relevant information, managing communications and preparing for and providing support at meetings or interviews with the Charity Commission.
In light of evolving guidance from the Charity Commission, we help you to put effective safeguarding measures in place to protect people who come into contact with your charity, including children and vulnerable adults, while also taking into account the differing regulations applying between England and Wales.
We advise on the practical policies that charities can introduce to comply with relevant legislation and best practice, with a view to creating an organisational culture which is less susceptible to risk and is able to effectively manage incidents which do occur.
We provide training to trustees of charities of all forms and sizes on their personal duties and responsibilities as trustees, as well as on the steps that they can put in place to identify risks and manage those that arise, with a view to minimising the risk of personal liability attaching to their collective decision-making.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
We advise trustees on the management of conflicts of interest and other challenging decisions arising in the course of carrying out their duties as trustees, with a view to managing or preventing problems arising within their organisation or externally.
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