We work with a variety of charitable and not-for-profit organisations in Hertfordshire, London and throughout the UK, ranging from small trusts to national charities. Our lawyers provide practical and cost effective advice on a broad range of issues relating to both the legal needs and regulatory frameworks of charitable organisations.

We have drawn together a team of lawyers from our trusts, commercial, employment, litigation and property teams with a particular interest and focus on the sector. Many of our lawyers also sit on trustee boards and committees so have a good understanding of the day-to-day issues facing charities.

We advise a large number of charitable organisations including religious charities, educational charities and care charities.

Charity, trusts and company law

We help charitable organisations including those limited by guarantee as well as exempt corporate charities on a wide range of commercial matters including

  • setting up or altering the legal structure of a charity, including corporate vehicles, Royal Charters and industrial and provident societies
  • altering articles of association and liaising with the Charity Commission
  • mergers of charities
  • preparing board and shareholder resolutions advising on corporate governance/administration, director/trustee duties and company filings
  • assisting with the creation of companies limited by guarantee with charitable objects
  • altering a trust
  • acting as a trustee – powers, duties and responsibilities
  • advising on changes of a trustee
  • legacy fundraising and commercial contracts
  • Charity Commission Schemes
  • ultra vires issues.


Employment law can be complex and legislation is constantly changing. We help senior managers and trustees of charities and other not-for-profit organisations with a range of day to day employment issues such as

  • drafting employment contracts and policies
  • advising on managing performance issues
  • handling flexible working requests
  • dealing with issues surrounding pregnancy and maternity/shared parental leave
  • addressing retirement and age discrimination issues
  • handling disciplinary investigations
  • resolving issues including negotiating settlement agreements.

We always look to resolve employment disputes but if necessary we can represent you or your organisation in an Employment Tribunal.

If your charity has limited HR resource then our Employer Support Service gives you, for a fixed monthly fee, immediate access to a qualified specialist employment lawyer who knows your charity. We can also arrange protection against the financial exposure of an employment dispute. If you sign up to this service we will undertake a free review of your contracts, policies and practices.


We advise a number of educational and religious charities in Hertfordshire and North London not just on the sale and acquisition of properties, but also the ongoing management of investment properties owned by charities.

We regularly advise on charity properties including care homes, churches, almshouses and national headquarters.

Litigation and dispute resolution

We advise charitable organisations on contentious matters including litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Charities, like any commercial entity, can become involved in commercial or property disputes . We are experienced in specialist court applications, claims and appeals which are common to the charity sector including

  • contentious Wills, trusts and probate, including rectification and claims under the Inheritance Act
  • beddoes applications authorising trustees to become involved in litigation
  • appeals against Charity Commission decisions.

Debenhams Ottaway is a member of The Charitable Law Association.

Charities and not-for-profit news