Partner and Joint Head of Faith-Based Organisations



Stephanie advises new charities and social enterprises, including major transfers from the public sector, and assists charities with mergers, reorganisations and constitutional reviews. In addition, she regularly advises on grant-making, fundraising, intellectual property and social franchising, equality and discrimination issues, finance and corporate philanthropy. Stephanie has a particular interest in advising international NGOs and faith-based organisations (and is a trustee of three such charities), and also works with registered social landlords on regulatory issues. She often delivers training events, and has spoken at the Said Business School at Oxford University, School for Social Entrepreneurs, and numerous charity law conferences in the UK and overseas.

Examples of recent work

  • Advising Breakthrough Breast Cancer on its merger with Breast Cancer Campaign to create Breast Cancer Now, the largest breast cancer research and prevention charity, with a high public profile.
  • Advising CAFOD the official international development agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales (with an annual income of £50 million and working in over 30 countries) on its incorporation, including establishing a new charitable company limited by guarantee and transferring CAFOD’s assets to the new entity.
  • Advising the McCall MacBain Foundation, a grant-making organisation established by John and Marcy McCall MacBain on a £75 million donation to the Rhodes Trust, towards the future of its prestigious scholarship programme. The gift, the largest since the establishment of the Scholarship in 1903 will enable the Trust to continue to send future global leaders to the University of Oxford.
  • Advising international health charity Merlin on joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families, including advising on charity regulation and corporate structure issues.
  • Advising on the registration of the Marriage Foundation as a charity, overturning the Charity Commission’s initial decision not to register the Foundation. The Marriage Foundation was established by High Court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge. It aims to see fewer people drawn into the family justice system each year and reduce the numbers who go through the emotional pain and financial cost of broken marriages and other relationships.
  • Advising British Waterways on establishing the Canal & River Trust, a new independent charity which has taken on the care of 2,000 miles of waterways, historic buildings, museums and archives. The new charity has a sophisticated governance structure, reflecting the many stakeholders with an interest in inland waterways. Stephanie provided specialist charity and company law advice on the transaction.
  • Advising three large faith-based organisations on various issues relating to reviewing and reorganising their international structures and, in one case, transferring their international secretariat from the UK to a new location overseas
  • Advice to charitable foundations established by a number of high profile businesses, in connection with grant-making and advising on the relationship between the corporate founder and charitable foundation.
  • Advising the Design Council on its transition from being a non-departmental public body (NDPB) to become an independent charity. This involved revising the Design Council’s Royal Charter to implement a new governance structure and ensuring that the changes were sanctioned by the Privy Council. Simultaneously, the Design Council took over a number of activities and functions of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). Stephanie advised on setting up a new company to achieve this and on the transfer of part of CABE’s undertaking to the Design Council.
  • A team from BWB, including Stephen Lloyd and Stephanie Biden, advised Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) on its hive out from the Museum of London to become an independent charitable company. MOLA is one of the leading archaeological practices in the UK, providing professional archaeological advice and services to the property industry and academic community for nearly 40 years.
  • Acting as the specialist advisor to the Joint Committee on the draft Protection of Charities Bill – specialist advisor to the Select Committee established in Parliament to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny on what became the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

Qualifications and career

  • Pembroke College, Oxford University, BA (Hons) English Language & Literature, 2000
  • Oxford Brookes University, Post-graduate Diploma in Law, 2001
  • Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, Legal Practice Course, 2002
  • Eight months as legal intern with International Justice Mission in Thailand, 2003
  • Joined Bates Wells Braithwaite, 2003
  • Admitted as a solicitor, 2005
  • Partner at BWB, 2013

Pro bono, memberships and appointments

  • Trustee of OMF International (UK)
  • Trustee of Talitha Arts
  • Trustee of Stewardship
  • Co-ordinating BWB’s pro bono advice with Advocates for International Development
  • Member of Charity Law Association working group on the Equality Act
  • Former secretary and founding committee member of the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group, 2005-2007
  • Co-ordinating the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group work on human trafficking including evidence to the Joint Committee on the Human Rights inquiry
  • Experience of voluntary work in the UK, Ukraine, China and Thailand