Practice Areas & Industries: Withers Bergman LLP


Charities and Not-for-Profit Return to Practice Areas & Industries

Group Profile Lawyers in this Group Offices Locations for this Group

Practice/Industry Group Overview

Providing legal services to charities has always been a core area of work at Withers. Our team helps not-for-profit organizations at every stage of their development involving lawyers from many of the firm's different practice areas.

We are recognized as one of England's leading charity law practices. We act for many of the UK's top charities and are frequently referred work by other lawyers and intermediaries because of our in-depth knowledge of charities and the laws that apply to them.  We have particular experience in relation to charities operating in the fields of education, healthcare and the arts.

Many of our charity and philanthropy team are themselves charity trustees, giving our team a very real insight as to the concerns, governance and aspirations of not-for-profit organizations.

We are privileged to have one of the largest portfolios of charity clients in the UK and act for 60% of the Top 50 UK charities by income, according to Caritas and 20% of the Sunday Times Giving List.  We work with a broad spectrum of clients, including well-known registered charities such as the British Red Cross Society, the NSPCC and Macmillan Cancer Support, exempt charities and public bodies such as The TATE and the UK Film Council. We act for more NHS-related charities in the UK than any other firm. We also help to set up new charities for clients ranging from entrepreneurs, wealthy families and companies to existing charities with innovative ideas for making a difference.

Recent work

  • Assisting with the establishment of US/UK dual qualified charities for the NSPCC and RNLI.
  • Working with the British Olympic Foundation and the British Olympic Association on the structuring of their charitable activities in the light of London's successful bid to host the 2012 Games.
  • Advising the British Red Cross Society on various issues, including their leading role in operating the London Bombings Relief Fund, the UK's National Floods Appeal and their reconstruction work in Indonesia following the Asian Tsunami.
  • Advising Yale University on negotiating and drafting various economic development agreements with a municipality and its economic development corporation.
  • Advising the Girls' Day School Trust on its ground-breaking conversion of two fee-charging schools to Academies and working with the Trust on its international joint ventures in India and China.
  • Advising private foundations on domestic and foreign grantmaking, program related investments and structuring loans to public charities.
  • Working with Macmillan Cancer Support on its re-branding.
  • Advising on the merger of GuideStar UK and Civil Society Systems to form GuideStar International.
  • Representing a 501(c)(3) organization in connection with the sale of approximately $700 million of operating assets to a for-profit purchaser.
  • Advising a prominent New York healthcare organization on property tax exemption issues and on a $100 million secured financing.
  • Advising 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations on impermissible political activities and 501(h) elections.
  • Drafting applications for private letter ruling requests on a variety of tax matters, including obtaining church status for St. Regis Hospital and allowing a private foundation to make a liquidating distribution to an entity abroad.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Cabinet Office Releases Implementation Plan for the Charities Act 2016
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
Whilst the Charities Act 2016 (the 'Act') received Royal Assent on 16 March 2016, only two administrative provisions (reviews of the operation of the Act and short title, extent and commencement) came into force immediately; the other provisions are being brought into force by commencement orders...

Charity Commission's Reports into the Funding Of Advocacy Group Cage Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
On 6 May 2016, the Charity Commission published its long-awaited reports on the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust ('JRCT') and the Roddick Foundation's ('RF's') funding of the controversial advocacy group, Cage. In parallel, similarly-worded documents, the regulator said both charities had acted in...

Court Of Appeal Dismisses Judicial Review Challenge to Grant of Royal Charter
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
In R (Project Management Institute) v Minister for the Cabinet Office and others [2016] EWCA Civ 21, the Court of Appeal upheld a decision of the Privy Council to recommend the grant of a Royal Charter to a charitable professional association. This was the first time that a decision to grant a...

How Will Brexit Affect Employment Rights and Obligations
Christina Morton,Meriel Schindler, July 21, 2016
The referendum in the UK has returned a result that confirms that the majority of those who voted wish to leave the EU. What is the impact of Brexit on employment rights, many of which, it is said, depend on European law?

New Filing Obligations at Companies House
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
From 30 June the annual return is to be replaced with an annual confirmation statement; the statement should be less burdensome for charitable companies to complete as it simply requires confirmation that all changes in circumstances, such as the appointment and retirement of directors/trustees and...

Voices of Anglers - Will Survives Despite Fears of Saddam Hussein
Paul Hewitt, July 21, 2016
A daughter who challenged her mother's will for lack of capacity and want of knowledge and approval has lost in the High Court.

Will Drafting Negligence Claims - An Exemption for Financial Advisers?
Paul Hewitt, July 21, 2016
A recent decision from Leeds serves as a reminder of the duty of care owed to disappointed beneficiaries where wills have been drafted incorrectly. Here, the disappointed beneficiaries sued both financial adviser and drafting solicitor.

Lettings Update
Paul Brecknell, June 23, 2016
Three interesting updates from the world of lettings.

Wake up Call for Charities - The Common Reporting Standard is Here
Alana Petraske, June 14, 2016
Although the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) catches charities in its due diligence and reporting net, its potentially onerous impact remains largely unrecognised by the charities sector. As the first reporting year runs into its sixth month, we've been working with sector bodies and HMRC on...

A Brief Summary of Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Paul Brecknell, June 09, 2016
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 provides that any landlord wishing to dispose of his interest in a building containing two or more flats must first offer its interest to the 'qualifying tenants' ie, broadly speaking, the tenants with long leases. If the landlord fails to do so, he will be...

Charity Commission's Report Provides Guidance to Trustees on Working with Professional Fundraisers and Fundraising Costs
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
Our Local Heroes Foundation (the 'Charity') was set up to relieve the financial hardship of people who have served in the armed forces and are in need by making grants. Following complaints that only 20% of funds raised went to the Charity and that the public were being misled and not properly...

Charity Commission's Report into Age UK's Arrangement with E.ON Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
In February 2016, several newspapers reported that Age UK (the 'Charity') received £6 million a year from the energy supplier, E.ON, to promote the Age UK fixed 2 year energy tariff to older people and that this tariff was more expensive than others available. Following the press reports, the...

Disclosure of Ownership of UK Property
Lindsay Brown,Christopher Groves,Justine Markovitz, June 09, 2016
At the international anti-corruption summit today David Cameron has announced significant proposals that will affect foreign owners of UK property.

HMRC Launches Consultation into Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
Following a call for evidence in December, HMRC has launched a consultation into the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (the 'scheme'). The consultation closes on 1 July 2016.

Location, Location - Move to Gambia Defeats Will Challenge
Paul Hewitt, June 09, 2016
Claims for financial provision are probably the most common challenges to Wills post-death.

New Ad Hoc Committee on Sustaining the Charity Sector and the Challenges of Governance
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
The House of Lords' Liaison Committee has passed a motion to create a new ad hoc committee for this Parliament. The new committee will consider issues of best practice, transparency and accountability in the charity sector, and will sit for the duration of this session of parliament, which began on...

Pilot About to Take Off In the Court of Protection
Stephen Richards, June 09, 2016
It is anticipated that the draft Court of Protection Case Management Pilot will be live from the start of June.

Preventing Trustees from Withholding Information
Sarah Aughwane,Paul Hewitt, June 09, 2016
Although Blades v Isaac is primarily a costs decision, it raises interesting issues as to executor accountability and access to information where an estate passes on wide discretionary trusts.

Rating Revaluation
Paul Brecknell, June 09, 2016
The Valuation Office Agency ('VOA') is recalculating business rates. The new rates will be payable from 1 April 2017, based on rents in 1 April 2015.

Cabinet Office Amends Its Grant Agreements to Limit Lobbying
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, May 10, 2016
All government grant agreements will now include a clause which prevents government funding from being used to lobby for new regulation or to lobby for more government funding. The government argues that freedom of speech will be protected as the clause will not prevent charities from using money...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting - The Draft Legislation Explained
Christina Morton,Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, May 10, 2016
Mandatory gender pay gap reporting has been under discussion for some years. The Equality Act 2010 includes a provision that enables the Government to require employers to publish information about differences in pay between men and women in their workforces.

Charity Commission Publishes Guidance for Charities Campaigning in the Run Up to the EU Referendum
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
On 6 March 2016, the Charity Commission published regulatory guidance for charities considering public involvement in the debate leading up to the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. This guidance sits alongside the Charity Commission's general guidance on campaigning and political activity by charities.

Fundraising Preference Service Proposals Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The working party on the Fundraising Preference Service (the 'FPS') has published a discussion paper with proposals on how the service will be developed. The working party has discussed these proposals with stakeholders and we await to see the outcome of those discussions.

Guidance Published For Charities Funding Non-Charitable Organisations
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The Charity Commission has published new guidance for charities which fund non-charitable organisations. The guidance explains the various points which trustees should consider when making the decision to fund non-charitable organisations.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (the 'Act') received Royal Assent on 16 March 2016. The Charities Act has been amended many times since its first reading in the House of Lords last May and we have set out below the provisions which made it into the Act. At present, the...

Shining a Light on the British Gender Pay Gap
Peter Finding,Christina Morton, March 30, 2016
Private and third sector employers with at least 250 employees will now have their pay gaps highlighted under new legislation. Employers will need to publish an annual report ¿ and whilst the plans may change, under current proposals they will need to start compiling the information from 30...

UK Budget 2016 - Swiss Highlights
Lindsay Brown,Justine Markovitz,Ian Perrett, March 30, 2016
The run-up to today's UK Budget was dominated by rumours of major changes to the taxation of pensions which did not materialise. Instead, there were announcements on CGT, SDLT, tax avoidance and evasion and the pending non-dom changes, not to mention the introduction of a sugar tax.

UK Budget 2016: CGT, Stamp Duty, More Anti-Avoidance and a Boost for Entrepreneurs
Sophie Dworetzsky,Katie Graves,Christopher Groves,Judith Ingham,Gillian Johnson, March 30, 2016
Against what he described as a backdrop of storm clouds gathering, George Osborne sought to deliver an upbeat Budget with a surprising amount of good news.

The Supreme Court Reconsiders Employer's Liability
Christina Morton, March 14, 2016
The question of when an employer can be held liable for the acts of individuals who are working in its business or organisation has been vexing the courts for as long as employment relationships have existed. It has now been considered again by the Supreme Court in two cases, Cox v Ministry of...

Common Reporting Standard: The Impact of New Tax Transparency Rules on Charities
Alana Petraske, March 09, 2016
Some time ago we wrote about the impact on UK charities of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ('FATCA'). UK charities with US investments became obliged under FATCA to certify their status to banks and investment managers, but in essence, this was 'just another form to complete'. A new...

Charity Commission Comments on Unauthorised Trustee Benefits
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
The Charity Commission has published its case report on the charity Nice Time which provides recreational facilities to advance the physical education of children and young people. Two of the trustees were benefiting from payments made by the charity's subsidiary. One trustee was paid to serve as...

FRSB Publishes Report into Charity Fundraising Practices
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
On 20 January 2016, the FRSB published its long-awaited report following its investigation concerning the particular circumstances which led to Olive Cooke feeling overwhelmed by contact from charities and the complaints made to the FRSB following her death.

New Fundraising Requirements Introduced in Final Amends to Charities Bill
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill (the 'Charities Bill'), which has finished its passage through Parliament and is expected to receive Royal Assent very shortly, has not avoided the focus on charity fundraising.

New Gift Aid Declarations - Further Guidance
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
Charities will be allowed to use up materials with the old Gift Aid declarations that were ordered and printed before 21 October 2015 according to updated guidance from HMRC.

PACAC Reports on the '2015 Charity Fundraising Controversy'
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
One of the many reviews launched following media coverage of charity fundraising last year was that of the House of Commons' Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee ('PACAC').

Possible Extension of the Freedom of Information Act to Charities
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, March 02, 2016
The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information, chaired by Lord Burns, is currently reviewing the operating of the Freedom of Information Act and is due to publish its report in February. Whilst the extension of the Freedom of Information Act to charities was not included within the...

Proposed US Model Tax Treaty Changes - Further Limiting Treaty Qualification?
Kristin E. Konschnik, February 22, 2016
On 20 May 2015, the US Treasury Department released proposed revisions to the US Model Income Tax Treaty (the 'US Model'), which (i) introduce 'special tax regime' provisions, (ii) propose changes to the Limitation on Benefits ('LOB') provision; (iii) add new rules on 'expatriated entities'; (iv)...

Report On Charities Campaigning In The Run-Up To The 2015 General Election
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, February 12, 2016
The Charity Commission has published its case report into campaigning and political issues arising in the run-up to the 2015 General Election'. The Commission expressly highlights that the report only considers the charity law position, rather than the position under electoral law (and in...

International Estate Planning - Starting with a Will
Patrick Hamlin,Patrick Hamlin,Freda Lim,Chua Yee Hoong,Chua Yee Hoong, February 11, 2016
Globalisation has changed the way we live. A less discussed topic is that globalisation has also changed the way we die. Cross-border investments and worldwide acquisition of assets have increased dramatically with technological advances and the ease of travel. It is also an increasingly common...

What is a 'Penalty'?
Paul Brecknell, January 20, 2016
When you leave your car parked in a private car park for a few minutes longer than the permitted time, you may not expect a hefty financial penalty. Nor, for that matter, would you expect it to cause seven law lords to consider in a judgement of 123 pages the principles applying to the law of...

VAT: The Hidden Cost in Residential Service Charges
Graham Elliott, January 19, 2016
Not all VAT related cases come before a tax tribunal. In the case of Janine Ingram the issue was one of ‘Landlord and Tenant’ law, which just so happened to involve VAT.

Charity Commission Consults on Revised Fundraising Guidance
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, January 15, 2016
The Charity Commission has published a revised draft of its fundraising guidance for consultation with the final version to be published in the Spring. As would be expected following the recommendation of the review carried out by Sir Stuart Etherington, the revised guidance places a more detailed...

More Announcements on Changes to Fundraising Self-Regulation
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, January 15, 2016
In November 2015, the Government announced the appointment of Lord Michael Grade as interim chair of the new Fundraising Regulator. Lord Grade would be responsible for bringing Sir Stuart Etherington's vision of the new Fundraising Regulator to life. Just before Christmas, Lord Grade appointed...

The Number of Serious Incident Reports Published by Charities is on the Rise
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, January 15, 2016
In December, the Charity Commission published its report; 'Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2014-15'. The report highlights that, whilst only a very small proportion of registered charities are subject to a compliance case or investigation by the Commission (less than 0.7%), all charities can be...

Tips on References
Christina Morton,Emma Sanderson, January 12, 2016
There is generally no obligation under English law to provide an ex-employee with a reference.