Edwin Coe offers a full-service approach to charities’ legal needs with particular specialisms in cross-border issues and philanthropy.

Our cross-departmental Charities team acts for a wide range of charities, from family-run grant making charities to established charities with international operations and we are recognised as a leading firm in this area in both of the main legal directories – Chambers and the Legal 500.

We have expertise in advising charities in an international context including charities undertaking cross-border activities and foreign charities who wish to have a charitable branch in the UK, often for the recognition that a UK charity registration number offers an organisation.

We also have particular expertise in charities with a link to Africa (covering areas as diverse as education and development to wildlife), and sports organisations – both areas in which historically the firm has enjoyed strong contacts.

We advise on a full spectrum of legal issues relating to charities including:

  • Advice on constitutional, trust and tax matters, including trustees’ powers and duties and governance issues
  • Establishing new charities and handling registration and other dealings with the Charity Commission
  • International charity issues, including structuring charities efficiently to work across borders
  • Corporate and commercial matters including negotiating commercial contracts, charity mergers and structuring other forms of collaboration between charities
  • Employment law
  • Intellectual property matters including branding, protection and exploitation of intellectual property and reputational issues
  • Litigation (including contractual and probate disputes)
  • A wide range of property and real estate matters including advising on investment properties as well as charity premises.

As well as advising existing charities, a large part of our charity work includes the establishment of new charities from inception. This covers managing the application for registration with the Charity Commission and drafting governing documents that comply with English Charity Law. We also specialise in advising on charity governance issues and related documentation.

We have considerable experience in advising on and establishing not-for-profit and community interest companies (either from inception or by way of conversion from another structure), which can serve as an alternative to charitable status and are sometimes more appropriate to a client’s business requirements. We also advise social enterprises which enter into joint ventures with existing charities.

What we offer:

  • Particular expertise in setting up philanthropic structures.
  • Value-for-money, reduced rates for charities and flexible fee structures.
  • A breadth of experience and the resources to handle a wide range of charity/not-forprofit legal matters.
  • A pro-active and responsive service with a high level of partner contact.
  • A free initial consultation to assess whether we are able to assist your organisation with its legal needs.

Pro-bono work

We are deeply committed to the charities and notfor-profit sector, and have established a pro-bono programme which includes undertaking work for a number of charities and locally based projects. A significant amount of our pro-bono work includes work in Africa, typically relating to human rights and civil justice issues.

Examples of our work and clients

  • Advising on the establishment of a major pan-African educational charity which aims to create regional centres around Africa where the continent’s brightest Maths graduates receive training in applied mathematics, focussing on improving the infrastructure and economy of the continent. We are co-ordinating the international initiative, which has included setting up a UK charity, pooling IP rights, negotiating agreements with funders and other parties, and a variety of other work across Africa and the UK and continue to advise on branding and governance issues.
  • Advising an innovative museum focussing on artists from a non-traditional background on its formation as a charity and registration with the Charity Commission and a range of subsequent operational matters.
  • Establishing a UK Foundation to help fundraise for a pan-African health initiative.
  • Establishing a not-for-profit organisation to advise on access to European Union funding for local authorities and others.

Our clients include:

  • The Museum of Everything
  • Hoopers Africa Trust
  • The Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society Foundation (UK)
  • SHiFAT Somali Health
  • The Anne Frank Trust

For more information about our Philanthropy team and how we can help you, please see our team details below.

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