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Charities and social enterprises all have obligations, liabilities, operational issues and strategic plans that demand legal consideration, so finding the right expertise and support to help you navigate their complexities is vital. 

Approachable lawyers with in-depth charity experience and capability

We advise and act for charity-sector clients on a comprehensive range of issues, from governance, incorporation and mergers, to funding, commercial contracts and regulatory advice. Several of our solicitors serve as charity trustees, so have in-depth sector knowledge.

We also work with a wide variety of charity clients, from community energy groups to international charities, pioneering new social enterprises and exempt charities. This means we can draw on invaluable insight and experience to help you with whatever you need.

Cost-effective and dependable guidance when you need it most

We understand the importance of charities and social enterprises securing value for money, so we provide you with cost-effective legal advice without compromising your needs or objectives. What’s more, we can call on expertise from across the firm to ensure an integrated approach. This saves time and money, and joins up your legal resource to include help with:

  • governance, including restructures and mergers
  • incorporations
  • regulatory
  • funding
  • commercial agreements
  • trustee duties
  • serious incident reporting
  • reputation and brand protection
  • legacy
  • asset disposal.

Our experience includes:

  • advising a UK wildlife trust on contractual arrangements and grant agreements, and providing general corporate and commercial support for  fundraising and funding
  • providing charitable giving advice on IT contracts, data protection compliance and governance, and general employment advice regarding fundraising
  • working in-house for an international disaster relief charity, offering commercial, governance and data protection support
  • advising on the payment of services to charity trustees and associated governance implications
  • advising several charities in connection with trustee conduct issues
  • preparing amendments to the governing documents of an international charity and its trading subsidiary
  • advising on charity mergers
  • advising on charitable structures and assisting charity clients establishing a CIO
  • support relating to the incorporation of a charity specialising in the provision of education
  • preparing a strategic governance review for a care charity
  • advising on the set-up of community interest companies (CICs) and advising on asset locks and the process for disposal of assets
  • providing governance and structuring advice to a social enterprise looking to set up a community energy project – including advice on culture, engagement and fundraising.

Independent confirmation of our capability and experience 

In an independent survey, 90% of our clients said they would highly recommend Stephens Scown to handle their future legal needs. Meanwhile, the two leading independent law guides, Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 (2024), consider us to be: “easily the most capable offer in our region.” Singling out our lawyers for their quality, experience and reputation.

We strive to make a difference, too

We genuinely care about our people, our local communities and the environment, so we always aim to make business decisions and act collectively in ways that are consistent with this, and take a long-term view. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what some of our clients say about us:

“We needed help to respond to a HR issue that had gotten beyond our internal organisation…you were most sympathetic, helpful and professional…we wholeheartedly recommend you.”

Age UK, York

“Stephens Scown has been a ray of sunshine, helping us to navigate the legal concerns and giving practical advice on the wider issues. The speed of response has also been key. We know we can pick up the phone and speak with our solicitor and get an answer when we need it.”

Trevor Chalker, Treasurer of Cornwall Animal Hospital

Giving Back

Our Giving Back programme enables us to support our colleagues in pursuing positive projects for communities and the environment, and enriching their own lives while creating positive impact beyond the workplace.

Read more about our corporate social responsibility

We pride ourselves on doing things with purpose. We are employee-owned, which means everyone has a genuine stake in our business, and our clients really benefit from that: we believe great people deliver great service.

Find out more about employee ownership


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