Charities need experienced lawyers who fully understand the complex nature of charity law and the regulatory field that they operate in.

Not-for-profit organisations can be split into two main categories:

Charities and Community Groups
Social Enterprises

Charities and community groups tend to be controlled by volunteers, whereas social enterprises tend to be run by investors or people who work in the organisation. We offer advice to both types of organisation.

Many charities have commercial arms or must be run in a commercial way to fulfil the purpose of the charity. We can provide the legal advice and support which such businesses require, as we do routinely provide for profit-making enterprises.

Our expert lawyers have many years’ experience within the charity sector and much of our work is gained through recommendation. We offer practical and focused legal support for trustees and senior management teams to help them run thriving organisations and so to achieve the goals and objectives of their charities.

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How we can help


Where appropriate we may be able to offer fixed priced services to give you affordable and cost-effective legal solutions.

Structure and governance

If you are thinking of starting up a not-for-profit organisation or changing its structure we would be happy to provide the support and advice you need, whether you are involved in a development trust, a social firm, a social enterprise, a charitable trust or a community group. We can help you identify the most appropriate legal structure for your organisation, for now and in the future. You may consider operating as:

  • An unincorporated association
  • A charitable trust
  • A charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
  • A charitable limited company – limited by guarantee
  • A charitable limited company – limited by shares
  • A Community Benefit Society
  • A Co-operative Society
  • A Community Interest Company (CIC)

Each of these structures has advantages and disadvantages, whether for the charity itself or for the promoters and trustees.


We are able to offer expert advice on:

  • Employment law, particularly with respect to volunteers
  • Registration of trusts with the Charity Commission
  • Constitution, governance and structures
  • Legal responsibilities of trustees
  • Charities Act requirements in relation to property titles
  • Leases and property
  • Impacts of restructuring and rebranding
  • Terms and conditions of business
  • Website statutory disclosures
  • Contracts and service level agreements
  • Tax and gift aid
  • Dispute resolution
  • Public and regulatory law
  • Health and safety

We offer a flexible solution that can be tailored to meet your business needs and which can work alongside and complement other legal advisers or in-house teams. From dealing with day-to-day employment issues through to handling complex strategic challenges, we can offer all the legal support you need.

Atherton Godfrey is a member of Lawyers for Your Business, an innovative legal support scheme operated by the Law Society.

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