Charities & Not-for-Profits

"The chambers has diverse and able practitioners, who can assist on all matters."Chambers UK Bar, 2024

Chambers has an enviable reputation in charities work, that extends to not-for-profit organisations more generally. Our annual charities conference, in the Spring, is a highlight of the calendar and brings together expertise from Chambers and the broader sector. Our lively  webinar programme keeps practitioners up-to-date and informed.

Members of Chambers have advised or litigated in many significant recent charities matters. This is across our main areas of specialty: trusts and estates, company and commercial, and property, and also internationally. Cases often involve the interaction of different areas of law, making Chambers an attractive option for clients, not least as Chambers has allied charities expertise in sectors such as education, crypto, insolvency and assets of community value (– to name but a few).

Chambers’ clerks are attuned to the needs of professional and lay clients, and deliver a fast, effective and discrete service, in cases that are often of public importance.

Chambers is at the forefront of diversity and equality at the Bar and mirrors the values that charities expect.

Charities expertise

Chambers’ charities expertise spans major litigation to transactional matters, with leading and junior counsel available at all levels. Examples of particular speciality include:

  • Charity legacy and succession matters;
  • The interpretation of governing documents, wills and historic bequests;
  • Saving gifts and trusts intended for charity;
  • Reformulating and restructuring charities;
  • Forensic analysis in respect of complex property transactions involving charities;
  • Contentious registrations, and issues as to charitable purpose and public benefit;
  • The full spectrum of legal structures through which charities operate, including companies, associations, trusts, charters, statute, CIO’s and societies;
  • Trustee duties and conflicts, and remedies for breach of obligations;
  • “Charity Proceedings” under s.115 Charities Act 2011;
  • Trading and commercial arrangements; and
  • Charity Commission regulatory cases, including inquiries and trustee disqualification.

Commercial and company issues

Whilst operating for public benefit, charities play an important role in the commercial landscape: NHS trusts, universities, housing associations, independent schools, non-governmental public bodies, service providers, for example. Members of Chambers have broad and deep experience in meeting the needs of charities in a commercial context, in particular with regards to regulatory compliance and disputes. A specialist approach is taken to issues ranging from tendering, funds & investment products, grant-making, joint ventures & partnerships, trading subsidiaries and group structures, to complex service agreements.

Trusts and estates matters

Chambers is a major presence in charities work in the context of trusts and estates. Members act for leading charities in succession cases involving issues as diverse as Schemes, contested probate, family provision, and the construction of Wills. In respect of charitable trusts, Chambers’ expertise ranges from establishment, registration, trustee duties and regulation, to the full spectrum of Court applications. A number of cases have involved detailed historical analysis in relation to historic trusts, where substantial property and financial interests depend on the construction of original documents – and subsequent conduct requires regularising. Members conduct off-shore work with a charity context.

Property matters

Charities may own significant estates, for example universities, colleges, church organisations and housing associations. A wide range of charities own and use property, whether under trusts, as part of corporate property or for investment purposes. Chambers combines excellence in property matters with technical knowledge and experience with regards to the particular charity law issues that arise. Members have tackled cases, for example, which have involved property transfers under Part 7 of the Charities Act 2011, which are being challenged as void, and matters which concern important development sites held under historic trusts, which are contended to be charitable.

Specialist areas

In addition to the above core practice areas, member of Chambers have particular expertise in:

  • Education, including schools and universities;
  • Crypto and digital assets;
  • Insolvency across the range of organisational types;
  • Asset of community value;
  • Offshore jurisdictions;
  • Civil fraud and breach of trust.


Details of our annual charities conference, held in the Spring, are available on our Events page. The conference brings together expertise across Chambers and the broader sector. There are interesting, updating sessions in all major practice areas, in a charities context. Aside from the Charity Law Association conference, it is perhaps the highlight of the calendar for many charity practitioners.

Chambers’ webinar programme usually includes 3 or 4 charities seminars per year on diverse topics ranging from specialist updates to historical analysis. Talks are always well attended and suggestions as to topics for future webinars would be most welcome. If you would like to be added to Chambers’ charities marketing list, and be invited to events, then please do contact

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