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We want to cut through the charity sector’s red tape so that you can get on with what’s important.

We understand that working in the charity sector is utterly absorbing, and rightly so. We want you to be able to get on with the things that matter. That’s why our sector specialists are 100% dedicated to clients in your sector, providing you with totally relevant expertise.

We’re proud of our commitment to providing charities, independent schools, social enterprises and other not for profit organisations with practical legal advice.  It matters to us that you feel you have the right people working alongside you – people you can trust, not only to know the law but deliver real value. 

Our nationally-located charities team is made up of specialist lawyers delivering consistently sound legal support across all issues – ranging from governance and constitutional issues, through to trustees' duties and responsibilities, mergers, fundraising, trading and Charity Commission regulatory issues.  Drawing from the wider firm, we’re able to build tailored legal teams that anticipate your needs whether that means employment and data protection issues, property, financing, tax and VAT, pensions, or legacies and charity investment. 

What’s matters most is that you get the right advice from the outset.  When we put ourselves in your shoes we understand that you want to make sure you and your trustees are protected from risk and know that your decisions are legitimate.  That’s why we work hard to make sure our approach is always down to earth and practical – as well as cost-effective and responsive. 

But don’t just take our word for it.  As one of the only national dedicated charities legal teams, we are ranked as leaders in this field, across the UK.  Many of our experts volunteer as trustees and have worked in-house.  We want you to get the advice you need to grow and achieve your goals which is why we’re committed to ensuring that we understand how it feels to sit on your side of the table.

“They explain the legal aspects in layman’s terms. The advice is clear, consistent and very valued.”

“They know their strengths and work together as a team to be strong in all required areas.”  

Chambers 2017

“The ‘first-class' team at Bond Dickinson LLP advises on a range of constitutional and governance issues, and advised Lord Crewe’s charity on its incorporation as a charitable incorporated organisation. Department head Emma Moody is valued for her ‘relevant sector knowledge'.”  

Legal 500 UK Guide 2015

Get in touch

T:+44 (0)191 230 8823

What we do

We have particular experience in the following areas:

  • Charity mergers, hive-offs, partnerships/collaborations
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Trustee training
  • Fundraising and legacy management
  • Negotiations with the Charity Commission
  • Public benefit auditing
  • Charity creation and registration
  • Investment and tax advice.

Sector expertise

We have expertise across a range of sectors including:

Examples of work

  • ​Addaction is one of the largest drug and alcohol addiction charities in the UK. We recently advised its board and senior executive team on its merger with KCA.  We supported Addaction through the due diligence process, particularly highlighting potential risks around staff contracts, pensions and property. We negotiated heads of terms with KCA and prepared draft transfer documents.  The primary objective for Addaction was to ensure its interests were protected to the best extent possible and that its board of trustees had an awareness of the key risks. The first phase of the merger completed in under three months, as requested by the client and full completion happened in 2015. For Addaction this will result in the broadening of its services in the South West, in particular in relation to mental health care and treatment, allowing it to reach more vulnerable beneficiaries. It will also acquire a significant property portfolio and its turnover will substantially increase, making it an even more attractive proposition for third party funders and commissioners
  • Springboard Sunderland Trust (SST) is a successful, financially viable and fully independent charity operating in the North East following a hive off from its parent charity, CSV (now Volunteering Matters). We advised SST on the particularly complex arrangements for the hive-off, which included advising on pensions, employment and secured finance. We negotiated on SST’s behalf to achieve financial and governance independence, its ultimate aim. Additional advice was provided in relation to managing conflicts of interest, trustee duties, the revision of constitutional documents and obtaining Charity Commission consent where necessary
  • A governance review carried out for four local authorities in the North East for the management of nine museums across Tyne & Wear and their archives services.  In light of significant government funding cuts, the authorities continue to face increasing challenges and commissioned an options appraisal to consider more effective service delivery. We were asked to review the structure of current arrangements and to analyse three possible new governance models, including considering employment and pensions, tax and VAT implications, procurement rules and the range of legal vehicles, which could be used for the future. The matter was particularly complex because not one option provided an ideal solution to all areas of the brief so we had to consider short, medium and long term aspirations. The project was delivered over a very short timescale
  • We have recently assisted a charitable Institution of Professionals in the Engineering sector to establish a European society, which will promote best practice within their industry within Europe and beyond. As a membership society with a clear vision for its operations, we worked with them to create a bespoke governing document that accurately reflects their intentions in relation to governance arrangements. This new body will be established as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • Advising a large regional regeneration charity on its proposal to invest in conjunction with another charity, in a project seeking to engage unemployed members of the local community in the house building industry, equipping them with skills and expertise in order for them to find gainful employment. Advising on whether such project could be run through the main charity or its subsidiary, looking at the legal rules in relation to mixed motive investment (the project possibly producing a financial return and charitable benefit) and looking at safeguards necessary to protect the interests of the charity in the arrangement.

Clients include: Addaction, Springboard Sunderland Trust, British Association of Oral Surgeons, Newcastle Upon Tyne Royal Grammar School, Bowes Museum, Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Mental Health Matters, Institution of Chemical Engineers, Institute of Physics, Masonic Samaritan Fund and Thomas Pocklington Trust.