Charity law solicitors

From large institutions to small non-profit organisations, our charity law solicitors have given pragmatic advice and support to charities throughout the UK for years. At Talbots Law, we recognise the important role that charities play in society. That’s why our aim is to help the running of your organisation with our advice.

Charities change lives. Whether they are focused on poverty, education, health or culture, charities are vital in improving a multitude of aspects in our society. Our solicitors work hard to ensure they can continue to do so, regardless of the issues they face on a daily basis. At Talbots Law, we began taking charities on board as clients – not only to provide invaluable legal advice on a number of topics, but also to assist with day-to-day management of the organisation.

Why choose Talbots Law?

When you work with us, we’ll treat you as an extension of the Talbots family. We want you to do the same, and treat our team of charity law solicitors as though we were in house solicitors; never hesitating to pick our brains on any legal matters you need assistance with. It’s our belief that in order to provide tailored advice that meets your commercial and regulatory needs, that we develop a good understanding of your organisation.

At Talbots Law, our charity solicitors provide support and advice on the following:

  • Legal structures for new organisations
  • Registration of new charities
  • Employment issues
  • Advice on fundraising
  • Charity commission investigations
  • Internal disputes
  • Funding Agreements
  • Commercial Property matters

Charity Law FAQ

How do I set up a charity?
Before you set up your charity, your starting point will be to decide on the purpose of the charity. In order for your charity to be legally sound, it must meet the following criteria:

  • There must be an identifiable benefit or benefits
  • Benefit must be to the public or a section of the public

Taking time to write your charity’s specific purposes is a good idea; as its your purposes which help the commission decide whether or not you can register as a charity and whether or not you qualify for tax relief.

In order to register as a charity, you’ll have to draft a governing document, which states how your charity will be run along with all the relevant contact details of the trustees you have appointed to run the charity and it’s overall purpose. At this stage, it’s useful to speak to a charity law solicitor to ensure that you’ve included all the relevant information and you’re making the right decisions.

If the annual income of your new charity is more than £5,000 or if it is a charitable incorporated organisation (the new status for limited liability charities), you will have to apply to register with the Charity Commission.

Further to this, you’ll also have to decide on a legal structure for your charity. See below for more information on which one you should choose.

Which legal structure should our charity take?

There are four types of charity structure. Choosing one that works for you and how your charity plans to operate is vital. We’ve provided you with a short guide to charity structures below:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
    This new legal structure came about in 2013. The trustees or committee members of a charitable incorporated company benefit from it having limited liability, and less administrative tasks due to not being a company. Therefore, if you set up a CIO you will not have to register with Companies House.
  • Charitable company limited by guarantee
    A charitable company is a limited company, set up for charitable purposes. As a limited company, your organisation will be seen as a person in the eyes of the law and can therefore own land, hire employees or enter into contracts. In a charitable company, the directors are agents of the company and therefore cannot be personally held liable for its debts.
  • Charitable Unincorporated Association
    If you are setting up a members group or organisation, you’ll be best off choosing a charitable unincorporated association. This legal structure allows the members to have complete control over the running of the group. While you will still have to register with the Charity Commission, you will still be able to draw up your own constitution, setting out the rules under which your organisation will be run.
  • Charitable Trust
    This is a group set up and run by a small number of trustees. Usually, a charitable trust is created to manage money or property for a charitable purpose. A charitable trust does not have any legal rights as an organisation, and so it’s trustees are wholly responsible for making decisions and managing the group as a whole.

If you are unsure which structure works best for your charity, get in touch to arrange a meeting with one of our charity law solicitors for advice and guidance through the process.

If you need help setting up a new charity or need advice about an existing one, speak to a charity law solicitor at Talbots Law today on 0800 118 1500.


  • Mike Linford
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  • Nicola Reeve
      • Nicola Reeve
      • Director and Head of Commercial Property & Corporate Services
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      • 07932 679673
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  • Shaun Owen
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