Our NGO clients operate across the globe – in sectors ranging from international aid and development, to human rights, the environment, animal welfare, faith, health, education, and the arts. We help organisations from across the world establish themselves in the UK, and UK-based NGOs expand their work overseas, as well as advising on international structures such as alliances and federations.
We often advise on international grant-making and relationships with local partner NGOs, as well as advising on more complex consortia and sub-contracting arrangements for international programmes, and scaling up using social franchising models.
Many of our clients work around the world, often in challenging and high-risk environments, such as conflict zones or responding to humanitarian crises. We help organisations meet the Charity Commission and HM Revenue & Customs’ requirements for working abroad and comply with anti-terrorism and anti-bribery legislation, and provide practical advice on managing and mitigating risk. Recently, we have been advising NGOs who receive funding from EU bodies on planning for Brexit.
We also advise NGOs on sending employees, volunteers, trustees, consultants, journalists and celebrity ambassadors abroad, and the duty of care NGOs owe to those involved in their work overseas.
Operating in the UK
As a full service law firm we advise on a wide range of issues encountered by organisations based in the UK, including engaging and managing, staff and consultants, taking on premises, brand protection and reputation management, fundraising, legacies, campaigning, commercial contracts, preventing and if necessary dealing with incidents of fraud, immigration sponsorship and bringing employees and volunteers into the UK.
We have advised many non-profit organisations based in the USA, Europe, and elsewhere overseas on setting up UK charities or branch offices. We recognise the importance of structuring the relationship between the UK entity and the ‘parent’ NGO to ensure an appropriate level of control and brand protection.
Governance and international structures
We have extensive experience in advising on all aspects of governance, constitutional issues and charitable structures, including governance reviews, mergers and group structures.
Onboard is our governance development consultancy, offering training sessions and support to non-profits and social enterprises to ensure that boards operate at their best.
We have advised several household name international NGOs on changing their international structures to negotiate and set up federations, alliance or association structures.
Advisory and Impact
Beyond legal advice, our Advisory and Impact team combines strategic consultancy, impact management and financial advisory services. We help our clients understand and enhance their social impact and deliver strategic change, including joint ventures, investment fundraising, acquisitions and mergers.
Our international network
We are often involved in liaising with local counsel in a wide range of jurisdictions overseas on behalf of UK-based NGOs.
Our international work means we can introduce clients to experienced legal advisors in many jurisdictions throughout the world. We are founding members of the Parlex Group, which has member law firms in 22 European countries and associate members in China, Israel, Malaysia and the USA, giving us personal, well-established associated with firms through Europe and beyond. We are also founding partners of the international law firm network, The European Social Enterprise Law Association, whose members focus on advising not-for-profits and social enterprises.