Charity Law Solicitors

Our specialist Charities and Social Enterprise Group comprises specialist charity and not-for-profit solicitors who can provide support on technical charity law and governance issues and other solicitors from across the firm with specialisms in other areas of law who work regularly with and understand the particular needs of charities. So no matter what legal issues your charity faces we are likely to be able to provide specialist support “under one roof”.   We take the time to understand the aims and mission of each charity we work with so that we can provide our clients with a personalised and integrated service which delivers on value for money.  Our aim is to become part of your team.

Charities

Our dedicated Charities and Social Enterprise Team is expert in providing advice on technical charity law issues, dealing with the Charity Commission and providing advice on constitutional and governance matters.  Although charity law is notoriously complex, our approach is to provide pragmatic advice which focuses on the solution rather than the problem.  Our solicitors are accessible and approachable and we are recognised by our clients for providing a responsive service and value for money.

As specialist charity lawyers we support charities on a range of issues, whether this be registering a new charity, reviewing your governing document, changing your legal structure, advising on fundraising and trading activities or obtaining consents from the Charity Commission.  Below are examples of some of the advice we can provide:

  • Establishing and registering new charities;
  • Dealing with the Charity Commission and other regulators;
  • Changing your legal form (for example incorporating unincorporated charities as a CIO, company limited by guarantee or appointment of corporate trustees);
  • Constitutional reviews and amending your governing document;
  • Changing your charitable objects and advising on public benefit;
  • Mergers, collaborations and restructuring;
  • Purchase sale and mortgaging of charity land;
  • Complex trust issues;
  • Restrictive funds and permanent endowments;
  • Fundraising;
  • Trading and establishment of subsidiary companies;
  • Donations and legacies; and
  • Trustee training.

Faith organisations

With dedicated Charities and Ecclesiastical Teams, Lupton Fawcett has particular expertise in advising faith based organisations on charity law issues.  This experience means that we are not only conscious of the legal framework that faith based charities work within, but also that our advice needs to be in accordance with your mission, ethos and religious rules.

Social Enterprises 

We recognise that obtaining charitable status is not suitable for all not-for-profit organisations.  If you have an idea which will benefit the community we can advise if obtaining charitable status is right for you or whether another legal vehicle would be more suitable.  We advise on the establishment of:

  • Community Interest Companies;
  • Non-Charitable Companies Limited by Guarantee;
  • Associations;
  • CASCS (Community Amateur Sports Clubs);
  • Community Benefit Societies;

We advise a wide spectrum of not-for-profit organisations on various legal issues, for example:

  • Constitutional reviews and changing your governing document;
  • Mergers, collaborations and re-structures;
  • Bidding for Assets of Community Value;
  • Establishing not-for-profit subsidiary companies;
  • Tax and Trading; and
  • Obtaining charitable status and converting to CIOs. 

A Specialist Charity Property Team

We stand out from our competitors in having a dedicated Charities, Ecclesiastical and Education Property Team.  As well as providing tailored advice to charity clients on the purchase, sale and mortgaging of land, the Team has a high level of expertise in dealing with the difficult property matters charities often face including complex trust issues, permanent endowments and dealing with land designated with a particular charitable purpose.

Wider Legal Support for Charities 

Our Charities and Social Enterprise Group comprises specialist lawyers from across the firm who have developed a particular expertise in dealing with charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations.  As a full service law firm we can provide a wide range of legal support in an integrated manner “under one roof”.

Examples of the types of advice we can provide is listed below:

Why Choose Lupton Fawcett?

Having advised and supported many local families, individuals and businesses, we are proud to offer clients a dedicated service from specialist solicitors who are experts in their field:

We're Award Winning

We were awarded the Legal 500 HR/Employment Law team of the year in 2017

We're Connected

We're connected to the people, businesses and infrastructure throughout Yorkshire

We Put You First

You can be sure to expect superb client service from us. Our clients are our priority

We're accredited

Recognised by leading Legal Directories Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500

Accreditations / Awards

"Mark Honeywell provides expert advice around Charity Commission issues and makes his advice absolutely bespoke and appropriate to our charity".

Legal 500 2019

The team is extremely friendly and approachable and provides excellent advice. They are always reassuring and you know you are in very safe hands.

Legal 500 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

I have been asked to be a charity trustee, what must I do? What are my responsibilities?

This is a very big question. In part it will depend upon the nature of the organisation of which it is proposed you are to be a trustee.

Under the Charities Act 2011 you will be a trustee if you have “the general control and management of the administration of the charity” along with your co-trustees.

Your primary responsibilities are to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the charity and in furtherance of the objects of the charity. Before you take on the role you should obtain a copy of the constitution of the charity and study its objects – are you confident that the charity is currently carrying these out? You should also get a copy of the annual accounts and find out what the main assets of the charity are – as a trustee you will have a responsibility to preserve these assets.

You must not delegate your responsibilities to others unless permitted by the constitution and you must not profit from being a trustee. Investment of the trusts assets is an example of a matter which would certainly be delegated.

Reviewing the constitution and accounts before you become a trustee should provide you with the appropriate background to ensure you carry out your trustee duties appropriately. You should also take advantage of the excellent publications available from the Charity Commission including the introductory booklets “The Duties and Responsibilities of the Trustees” and “The Essential Trustee”. These are downloadable fro the Charity Commission website. However, in the event you have a specific query, it would be advisable to supplement this with legal advice.

What are the benefits of seeking charitable status?

For the majority of organisations this will mean becoming registered with the Charity Commission.

Charitable status provides tax advantages both for the charity and for the donor tax payers. However, charities are not wholly exempt from tax (as it is sometimes thought) and advice should be taken in specific cases.

Registration with the Charity Commission puts beyond doubt the fact that an organisation is charitable and this may assist an organisation in obtaining funds both from the general public and when applying for grants or securing UK government or EU funding.

There are however some disadvantages to being registered as a charity, though these are mainly administrative. There are strict accounting and reporting requirements. Once registered, an organisation becomes subject to the jurisdiction of the Charity Commission which can investigate the actions of the trustees. Charities are also restricted to carrying out actions which support their objects and accordingly must take care when carrying out certain activities such as trading, fundraising or in some circumstances campaigning.

Are charities obliged to invest their funds ethically?

You must be very careful in relation to investment of a charity’s assets. The Trustee Act 2000 sets out the duties and obligations of trustees in relation to a number of matters including investment. These apply as much to charity trustees as to trustees of private trusts.

In general terms investment should be carried out in such a manner as to maximise the capital and income of the charity. This does not automatically mean that one cannot invest unethically. However, it is important that any decisions concerning investment do not simply reflect a trustees own views on how the charity ought to invest but that they accord with the objects of the charity. Accordingly, if a charity was, for example, an animal welfare charity then it might be appropriate to regard certain types of investment in companies carrying out animal research as demonstrably undermining the objects of the charity. Similarly, certain religious charities may decide not to invest in alcohol, tobacco or gambling. Trustees may, however choose to make use of ethical funds which are now widely available and which may be appropriate for the charity’s circumstances.

In general terms it is important that appropriate investment advice is being taken at all times by the trustee.

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