Helen Hirst

Helen advises charities and social enterprises, ranging from start-ups to established organisations both regional and national, NHS charities and social care charities. 

Helen’s expertise includes advising charities and social enterprises on choosing the most appropriate structures, as well as governance more generally. This involves registering of charities and CIOs with the Charity Commission, CIC requirements, varying governing documents, mergers of charities, trading companies and contractual queries. Recent advice includes providing critical support to charities in relation to governance, funding, mergers and serious incident reports required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helen provides training to clients to help charity trustees and senior management better understand their governance arrangements and legal obligations as a charity.

Helen also advises charities in the education section including academies and independent schools. Helen has advised extensively on academy conversions and transfers including PFI and multi academy trusts. Helen supports academies and independent schools including advising on governance and contracts.

Helen completed her training in local government where she gained a solid grounding in public law and gained further experience in local government post qualification. During this time Helen worked for three different councils advising on public private sector projects in the education, housing and waste sectors.

Helen joined Hempsons in 2018 as an associate in the charities and social enterprise department.

Areas of expertise

  • charity law
  • CICs and other not for profit structures
  • governance
  • contracts
  • academy conversions and transfers

The clients Helen works with

  • charities
  • social enterprises
  • multi academy trusts
  • single academy trusts
  • independent schools

Recent publications

Qualifications and memberships

  • Legal Practice Course (2005)
  • Law (LLB) (2003)
  • Member of the Charity Law Association


Helen Hirst is an exceptional individual who provided a wonderful training programme to our Corporate Trustees, supporting them in understanding their roles and accountabilities.” (Legal 500 2020-21)

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