Helen Hirst

Helen advises a wide variety of charities and social enterprises from start-ups to established organisations including academies, 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 and contractual queries. Recent advice includes providing critical support to charities in relation to governance, funding and mergers required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the education sector, Helen’s experience includes steering community, foundation, faith and PFI schools through Academy conversions and transfers to multi academy trusts. Helen supports academies and independent schools in respect of day-to-day advice they require including 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 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

  • Governance
  • Charity law
  • Contracts
  • Academy conversions
  • Academy 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 Trustee, supporting them in understanding their roles and accountabilities.” (Legal 500 2020-21)

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