Expert legal advice for charities and not-for-profits

At Tees, our experienced lawyers offer exceptional advice and guidance across a broad range of legal areas. Our teams work together closely, providing holistic legal support to charities and not-for-profit organisations of all kinds and sizes. This approach, and our drive to achieve the objectives of our clients, means that your good cause is in the best possible hands.

Talk to us today or call us on 0800 0131165

Charity lawyers

Charities and not-for-profit organisations have to work within a strict regulatory and legal framework. We understand that the last thing you want is for your charitable objectives to be compromised by issues with compliance. Our lawyers are adept at guiding organisations through these often complex requirements.

Through focused and practically grounded legal advice, our teams can help with a wide range of matters, whether you are:

  • Setting up a charity or not-for-profit organisation
  • Seeking assistance with regulatory and legal compliance to ensure a sustainable future
  • Establishing alternative sources of income and new relationships with third parties – including funders, benefactors, and commercial partners
  • Looking for advice on employment law
  • Aiming to make the most of your charity’s real estate portfolio
  • Seeking advice as an individual, on matters such as philanthropy or making charitable gifts in your will

Some of our charitable and not-for-profit clients include:

  • Kidney Cancer UK
  • St Bride’s Church
  • The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust

Setting up a charity or not-for-profit organisation

Our expert solicitors can give comprehensive advice through the all-important initial steps of setting up a charity or not-for-profit. We will also provide guidance on the principles and requirements of ongoing good governance. Our expertise and assistance includes:

  • Advice on which structure is right for you, and whether this means seeking formal charitable status or implementing an alternative structure
  • Preparing governing documents
  • Developing appropriate compliance policies and procedures
  • Registering the organisation with the Charity Commission
  • Advising charity trustees on all aspects of their duties and responsibilities, including conduct of trustee meetings, the ability to take intended actions, and implementation of policies and procedures

Ongoing compliance and legal support

Staying compliant with all relevant regulations and legal requirements is vital for the smooth and sustainable running of your charitable organisation. However, doing so is a complicated and continuous process. We can ease this burden, allowing you to focus on the charity work itself.

Our specialist solicitors will ensure you stay compliant, and provide legal support in other aspects of your operation. We can help with:

  • Tax audits
  • Preparing annual accounts, returns to the Charity Commission, and fulfilling other reporting obligations
  • Dealing with safeguarding issues and handling related investigations
  • Drawing up contracts with third parties
  • Organisational changes and restructuring, including mergers and winding up the charity
  • Compliance with GDPR and data protection requirements
  • Making grants – which covers advice to grant making charities on their ability to make a specific grants and exploring other options where appropriate  

Sources of income and dealing with third parties

We work with our clients (and as appropriate their trading companies) on:

  • Securing their sources of funding, whether from gifts or bequests, corporate or personal donations, fundraising campaigns and sponsorship
  • Establishing appropriate frameworks for primary and secondary purpose funding; and
  • Setting up contracts with their key partners and stakeholders

Charity employment law advice

Businesses across all sectors must comply with the complex requirements of employment rights and regulations.

Charitable bodies rely on the public’s trust and goodwill, and the public nature of employment tribunal decisions may lead to reputational damage and increased scrutiny from the media and the Charity Commission. There are also the costs and risks of the litigation itself; legal costs are rarely recoverable in the tribunal even if you successfully defend your organisation.

This makes specialist employment law guidance invaluable – both for helping you to implement robust and compliant employment policies and in assisting you to resolve disputes effectively should they arise.

Our employment law team can assist with a range of issues facing employers, including:

  • The creation and implementation of workplace policies, compliant with legislation and ACAS codes of practice
  • Practical advice and guidance on dealing with redundancies, grievances, capability and conduct concerns, or employees on long-term sickness absence
  • Drafting and advising on settlement agreements
  • Dispute resolution and ACAS Early Conciliation
  • Advice and representation in employment tribunal matters, such as defending actions for unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, and discrimination.
  • Assisting with higher court matters, including injunctive relief, enforcing restrictive covenants, and protecting your confidential information.

The employment law team is led by Robert Whitaker and Katherine Jameson, who provide external general counsel and advice on a wide array of employment issues faced by our clients in the not-for-profit sector.

Charity real estate

Our experienced commercial property solicitors can assist you in acquiring new property and assets, or leveraging your organisation’s existing assets, to further your charitable goals.

This can include:

Tees are exceptionally qualified to offer first-class commercial property support to your organisation. Our commercial property team, a Legal 500 top tier department, is led by Aaron Cane. Aaron and Jane Winfield are both Legal 500 ‘Leading Individuals’, and recognised as distinguished specialists in their field.

Our Wealth Management specialists can also guide you in growing and protecting your organisation’s assets.

By instructing Tees, you will have experienced chartered financial planners working hand in hand with our legal teams – ensuring that investment strategies are regularly reviewed and kept in line with your organisation’s charitable objectives.

Helping individuals with their charitable aims

Many people feel strongly about donating to charity, and naturally want their chosen causes to receive the maximum benefit from the gifts they make. If you are considering a significant gift to charity, our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate team can help you.

We offer guidance on:

  • Charitable lifetime giving and claiming gift aid
  • How best to give to charity via your will
  • The availability of the tax-saving measures, such as the inheritance tax charitable exemption and reduced rates of inheritance tax for charitable gifts

The team is led by Nicola Havers and Sarah Walker, and has a wealth of experience helping clients to put their charitable wishes into effect, whether through tax-efficient gifts, trusts, or provisions in their will.


Our Wealth Management team can also assist clients who are interested in philanthropy. We can help with establishing charitable trusts or foundations, and developing investment strategies so that your venture can make a positive, long-lasting difference to the world.

James Appleby, Managing Director of Wealth Management, is a Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, with over 30 years of financial services experience. He leads a highly qualified team of wealth specialists and financial planners, all of whom share James’s passion for empowering clients to make the most of their money.


Call our specialist solicitors on 0808 231 1320

If you would like Tees to help you or your organisation, contact us today.

Make an enquiry today

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