Expert legal advice for the third sector
As a full-service law firm, Blake Morgan acts for over 400 charities, providing trustees and senior management teams with the practical and efficient day-to-day support that they need, from set-up and registration, to ongoing regulatory and legislative compliance and all related commercial advice.
We recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to charities, and that each is unique, with its own aims and management style. We work hard to ensure that our clients are provided with the legal tools that they need to manage their charity effectively, in a way that meets their objectives while also complying with the particular requirements of charity law.
Main Areas Of Practice
We advise charities on the broad range of challenges and opportunities that they may encounter on a day-to-day basis, including:
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.
We offer regular trustee training sessions at Blake Morgan, and can provide bespoke in-house training sessions for charity clients too. We also circulate a quarterly charities bulletin, summarising legal developments in the sector.
Our clients include charities of all structures and sizes from across the full spectrum of the third sector throughout England and Wales, together with social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations including the British Red Cross.
"The team is more than helpful and always quick to respond, displaying expertise around charity law and housing issues." - Legal 500, 2020
"They have always been efficient. Work has been completed on time and in a cost-effective manner.”
- Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2016
"Their service is always high quality, with appropriate experts available across a wide range of specialisms.”
- Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2014
Our charity experts advised on a series of collaborative fundraising projects, by way of corporate grants, sponsorship agreements and news broadcast rights arrangements, to raise funds of over £4 million for application towards deep sea research projects.
We provided urgent advice to navigate complex and volatile environments to enable a significant grant to a foreign jurisdiction in a manner consistent with the requirements of English law and Charity Commission guidance and to protect funds for application towards a client's charitable purposes.
Our third sector specialists advised on amendments to Articles of Association to limit the company members to the trustees. Assisting trustees in presenting rationale for changes to ensure continued engagement of those relinquishing their membership and avoiding dispute between the board and the membership.
As expectations grow for a general election, the CEO of the Charity Commission, Helen Stephenson, has issued a reminder to charities of their responsibilities surrounding political campaigning. The CEO notes...Read More
Charity Trustee training will be held at our Southampton office on Monday 21 October. Charities are expected to report on their efforts to ensure that all trustees are trained and...Read More
Safeguarding hit the headlines again last week, as the International Development Committee published a report focusing on exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. In the report, MPs accused charities of "complacency...Read More
The Court of Appeal has confirmed a first instance decision of the High Court that a member of a charitable company owed fiduciary duties to that charity (The Children’s Investment...Read More