They are excellent - they've got the breadth and depth of knowledge. Their expertise in charity law is second to none. They have a pragmatic approach, knowing advice has to work in practice."
Bates Wells Braithwaite is a "21st century law firm with a very knowledgeable and flexible team. The service it provides is second to none."
Legal 500 2017
We are proud of our reputation as the leading charity firm in the UK.
Our charity and social enterprise team works with more charities than any other law firm in the country, with clients ranging from household-name charities to innovative start-ups, and from international networks to local community groups.
As part of our commitment to our clients, we also spearhead legal reforms that impact on the whole charitable sector, including:
- The rewriting of guidance on political campaigning,
- The negotiation of sustainable development as a charitable purpose, and
- The right for most charities to buy trustee indemnity insurance for their trustees.
We are also known for our innovation in developing new and improved legal forms, such as
- The Charitable Incorporated Organisation,
- The Community Amateur Sports Club and
- The Community Interest Company, among others.
BWB was the 2013 recipient of the Legal 500 UK Award 2013 for Private client: Firm of the year (specialism), in recognition of our work in the Charity sector
Our extensive client base includes service providers, grant-making foundations, philanthropists, public authorities and advocacy/campaigning organisations. Their diverse causes span the world of voluntary endeavour, including aid and development, human rights, animal welfare, social housing, the science, health and social care sectors, the arts, the environment, minorities, faith and worship, community development and regeneration, research and education.
Examples of our clients are available on the CaritasData Top 3000 Charities list.
Our leading UK charity lawyers provide a full range of specialist legal services to charities including:
- Establishment and registration of new organisations including charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs)
- Fundraising and tax advice
- Internal disputes
- Advice on grants and contracts
- Restructuring – from incorporations through to mergers and group re-organisations
- Compliance and regulatory work
- Political activities and campaigning
- Public procurement and state aid
- Social finance
We also provide advice on employment, real estate, immigration and dispute resolution for charities. Charities are also at the heart of many of our other practice areas and teams, which means they are used to dealing with the specialist requirements of the sector – from an employment team which understand clients with volunteers, to a real estate team which is familiar with the requirements of trust law, and a dispute resolution team which knows when restrictions apply to charity litigation.
We lecture on a variety of legal issues affecting charities, including fundraising and governance, and can provide bespoke training where required. We provide governance development and support via our OnBoard programme. We have written several books on charity law, and contribute regular articles to a range of publications.
To help keep our clients up to date with key legal developments and issues, we have an extensive events programme and produce regular specialist publications for charities – full details of which can be found in our Knowledge section.
Key guides for charities
BWB has published a number of documents which your organisation may find useful.
Thinking about… merger A joint publication with IVAR, written for organisations considering merger as a possible option.
The publication is available to download for free here
Duties of Charity Trustees
BWB’s pocket-sized guide to trusteeship, a must for every charity board
Available to download for free here
Keeping it legal
Legal forms for social enterprises
Available to download for free here >
Charities (Protection and Social Investment Act) 2016 – is it in force?
A table, which will be regularly updated, providing details of when the various provisions of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment Act) 2016 come into force.
Please click here to view this table >
The Charities Acts Handbook
Published by Jordans and extensively updated by our team of specialist charity lawyers, the latest edition gives practical and up-to-date commentary on all the areas covered by the Charities Acts.
Please click here to view this table >
Clients consider the firm to deliver an exceptional level of service, with a thorough understanding of the regulatory, charitable and commercial sectors and how they interrelate.”
Legal 500 2015
The experienced team comprised of dedicated specialists remains at the forefront of significant policy and legislation developments within the sector, advising on the creation of charitable legal entities and new modes of social investment.
Chambers UK 2015
Their knowledge of and commitment to the charity sector is unrivalled.
Chambers UK 2014