I specialise in education and charities and in subsidy control/state aid.
The charity sector provides an environment for rewarding and varied work in assisting charities to fulfil their purposes. I make life as easy as I can for clients by providing more than was asked of me – whether this is providing a clear explanation to legal issues, advising on the inclusion/updating of provisions in constitutions/agreements that our client may not have thought of, and covering as many eventualities as possible.
I offer a wealth of experience of analysing legal issues, providing advice, and drafting documents. Having worked as a disputes lawyer for over 20 years, I bring an eye for detail and clear analysis to my work. My charity clients come from a wide range of backgrounds, including community-based charities, health, wildlife, independent schools, academy trusts and development charities active overseas.
My legal specialisms cover all aspects of charities’ activities, including constitutional arrangements, governance, registration of charities, mergers and collaborations, operational advice, risk management, regulatory issues, disputes within and between charities and trustees’ duties.
In the area of subsidy control/state aid, I act on behalf of clients from a very diverse background, including research and development, industry, education, charities, and infrastructure development. My work includes advising grantors and recipients on whether funding proposals comply with regulatory requirements and providing legal opinions in support of applications for financial assistance.
I’m passionate about doing my best to support clients who provide such valuable services to society and outside of work, I enjoy playing music.
Always be aware of who the members of your charity are and maintain up-to-date contact details so that meetings can be effectively convened, and decisions made.
Make sure that your governing document provides for meetings to take place by electronic means so that trustees can make best use of the flexibility that technology offers.
Try to maintain a trustee body that has as wide a range of skills, experiences, and backgrounds as possible.
Are charities free to amend their governing document?
The freedom of a charity to make alterations to its constitution depends on the form of the charity and whether there are any restrictions in the governing document itself. For example, in the case of a charitable company, amendments to the objects, dissolution clause or provisions dealing with trustee benefits are regulated alterations and require the consent of the Charity Commission.
What is the best way to keep up-to-date on developments in charity law?
The Charity Commission offers a good range of guidance which charity trustees should read and take into account. The Commission also offers an email update service through its website. HCR Hewitsons produces a bi-monthly charities update and puts on events to keep our clients and contacts appraised of developments.
When do I need to be concerned about subsidy control?
If you are considering applying for financial assistance from public funds to support the work, for example, of a business or charity, you will need to consider and, if required, take advice at an early stage to ensure that your plans do not fall foul of subsidy control requirements. A lot of time and money can be expended in developing proposals and it is important that the regulatory position is taken into account from the outset to avoid delays and wasted resources.
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