A team of multi-disciplinary legal experts committed to providing cost-effective and pragmatic support.
With specific regulations governing the charity sector, it’s crucial that charities and not-for-profit organisations have access to reliable, expert legal advice.
Our support can help you to navigate complex legislation and maintain a compliant, effective operation.
Why choose our Charities team?
Our specialist charity solicitors understand the demands facing both individuals and groups in this sector, and offer a full spectrum of advice to meet your needs.
We support a wide variety of charity and not-for-profit clients, including religious organisations, education establishments, almshouses and the retired armed forces. We also work with a number of general charities in areas including educational special needs, animals and key demographic groups.
We have experience of working with small start-up charities; large, national charities and all those in between. Several of our Charities team are also members of the Charity Law Association.
Our efficiency, pragmatism and years of experience mean we will be able to deliver on your legal requirements and put your organisation’s needs first.
Although we are competitive on price, our charity clients have told us that they stay with us for the quality of our legal advice, our commercial approach and the speed of our response.
As a firm, we are also passionate about supporting the charitable sector. Each month, our Member Partners donate from their salaries to the Brachers Charitable Trust. The Trust supports the valuable work of numerous not-for-profit organisations across Kent, as well as further afield.
We also practise what we preach through our volunteering and pro bono work with local and national charities. Many of our charity solicitors are trustees, supporting organisations such as Age UK, Blackthorn Trust, Dementia Friends, Five Acre Wood School, Kent Farmers Benevolent Fund and West Kent Mind.
You can find out more about our charitable work in our corporate social responsibility information.
Recognition of our expertise
Our Charities team is highly ranked in the leading legal directory The Legal 500 2024, with Mary Rimmer recognised as a ‘leading individual’ in this area. Sarah Gaines and Christopher Eriksson-Lee have been recognised as ‘recommended lawyers’ in this area.
The team’s expertise was cemented in 2014, when Brachers was appointed to the panel of the Charities Aid Foundation Bank, making us an approved supplier to support CAF and charities with banking and finance transactions.
We are also a panel consultant for the Almshouse Association, which provides support to more than 1,600 independent almshouse member charities across the UK.
In 2020, the firm was recognised for its charitable giving and community support work in the Kent Law Society Awards, where we won the Community Award. The firm and Partner Mary Rimmer were also shortlisted at the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards 2019.
Mary has further been recognised by the Alzheimer’s Society as a ‘dementia friends champion’. By March 2021, Mary had trained more than 1,100 people in local schools and the business community to be ‘dementia friends’, as well as training the majority of Brachers staff.
Find out more about our awards, accreditations and partnerships.
Meet our clients
Hear from our client the East Malling Trust, a Kent-based scientific research charity, about why they work with us.
How we can help
Simply expand the sections below for more information on the services and support available to you.
Setting up a charity or social enterprise
If you are considering setting up a charity, we can provide expert legal advice to guide you through your entire start-up to ensure you choose the right structure to suit your requirements.
We can provide guidance on:
- The most appropriate form for your organisation
- Charitable status
- Drafting your governance document
- Registering with the Charity Commission and/or other relevant regulators
- Incorporation (if required)
- Governance issues
- Cross-border issues and assistance with registration in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where necessary
Charity mergers and collaborative arrangements
Any form of joint working arrangement requires careful planning and knowledge of all the facts.
Charity partnerships made in haste or without the appropriate advice are less likely to succeed in the long term.
We can help you by:
- Advising on the suitability of your potential partner, including the compatibility of charitable objects
- Providing guidance on the most appropriate form of collaborative arrangement or merger
- Negotiating on your behalf
- Carrying out proportionate due diligence
- Preparing necessary documents including transfer agreements
- Attending joint-board merger meetings to give on-site advice
- Advising on property transfers
Funding arrangements are key to the success of your charity.
We have expertise across a broad range of funding and financing matters and enjoy strong relationships with the major high street banks.
We can help you with advice on:
- Bank finance (both secured and unsecured)
- Third party contributions
- Gift Aid
Restructuring your charity
Our team can advise you on how to structure your organisation for effective delivery.
We will take into account the effectiveness of your current structure, the need for change because of legal requirements, and risk management.
We can support you by:
Charity volunteers and their rights
Although charity volunteers are vital to the not-for-profit sector, they can often pose particular problems for organisations in terms of governance and HR.
We can support you by:
- Drafting appropriate volunteer agreements
- Advising on health and safety issues for your charity’s volunteers
- Advising on CRB checks and the Independent Safeguarding Authority scheme
- Providing guidance on employment status
Charity organisational reviews
If you are worried that your organisation is not running effectively, our charity solicitors can carry out a review on any aspect of your governing document, governance structures and/or contractual and HR arrangements.
We will then be able to suggest practical changes to help you get things back on track.
A typical constitutional review for a charity would include:
- Reviewing charitable objects and activities
- Reviewing administrative provision
- Ensuring compliance with current law
- For unincorporated charities, advising on whether incorporation might be appropriate
- Completing projects to make changes, including liaising with the Charity Commission where necessary
Get in touch
Please fill out the below form or alternatively call us on 01622 690691
Key Contacts - Charity Solicitors:
Meet the Team:
The Legal 500 2023
They don’t just know the sector – they understand the specific challenges we are facing and work with us to overcome them.
The Legal 500 2023
During the past 18 months, we have had several challenging matters to manage including employment matters. Thanks to Brachers’ advice, each case was resolved avoiding escalation and the associated demands. Brachers is committed to supporting our work and even more so with the mental health impact COVID-19 has caused.
The Legal 500 2022
They understand the charity sector, with team members who have experience acting as trustees.
The Legal 500 2024
Brachers are proactive in their dealings with us, they have good relationships at partner level.
A firm with longevity, trust and a personal touch.
Chambers High Net Worth Guide
They have a very friendly and personal style. They are always professional, helpful and available.
I was well informed throughout, his advice was excellent