Charities and social enterprise

Leaders in charity and social enterprise law

As a leading charity law and social enterprise law firm, the charities and social enterprise sector form a core part of our business. We have an established charity and not-for-profit practice and reputation and we are committed to continuing to develop our services to meet the rapidly changing needs of the sector. Our charity and social enterprise solicitors look after our clients with a comprehensive and can-do approach through a dedicated national team working across the firm’s five offices.

The charity and social enterprise solicitors at Hempsons are experienced in advising on all elements of charity law and regulation that impact on the sector. In addition, our charity and social enterprise solicitors incorporate specialists from across the firm enabling us to advise and assist our charity and social enterprise clients in every aspect of their operations.

Covering every aspect of charity and social enterprise law

We are committed to contributing to the continuing development of the charity and social enterprise sector. Hempsons has co-authored a number of publications some of which can be found below. We are members of ACEVO, CFG, Social Enterprise UK, the Charity Law Association and take part in their working parties.

We are also members of and a co-host with Stepping Out of “Social Club”. This is a network of charities and social enterprises which exists to help social sector leaders make the biggest possible impact. It brings together leaders to learn, share and engage with each other, as well as other influential leaders, on the biggest questions facing leaders of social sector organisations. Many are health and social care organisations whilst the group also includes those providing youth and probation services. A link to Social Club can be found here:

We not only get involved in ‘blue sky’ thinking, epitomised by our series of round table discussions with recognised leaders in the sector, but also operate at research and policy level with sector bodies and clients. For example:

  • As part of our partnership agreement with ACEVO, Hempsons run 1:1 legal surgeries with CEO’s to discuss topical legal issues. Recent topics include GDPR and Collaborations.
  • We worked on the release of the Hospice and Care Charity Benchmarking survey report – a joint survey between Hempsons and haysmacintyre who are a leading accountancy firm in the charity field.
  • We have co-produced booklets with ACEVO on ‘Personalisation: Exploring the Legal Implications’ and ‘Alliance Contracting’

We have a strong track record advising Public Service Mutuals on spin outs and post-spin out business growth and development, including advising on all recent government support programmes for this agenda. Please see our Social Enterprise page for more details.

Who we work with:

  • Charities
  • Social enterprises (in all legal forms)
  • Co-operatives
  • Staff led mutuals
  • Professional bodies
  • Trade associations
  • Businesses supporting charities


Case studiesView all

  • Acquisition of charity headquarters

    Acted for Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on the acquisition of its new headquarters in Theobald’s Road, London and on its related sale of its headquarters building near London Regent Street.

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  • Charity merger

    We advised Deafness Research UK on its merger with Action on Hearing Loss. We advised the Chief Executive and the Board of Trustees on the options for structuring the merger and helped the client to identify their core requirements which should be protected in a merger.

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  • Charity merger

    We advised the NSPCC on its merger with ChildLine. We worked closely alongside our client, the NSPCC, in advising on the transfer of the ChildLine charity to the NSPCC.

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  • Charity merger: National Childbirth Trust

    We advised the National Childbirth Trust on its merger with the Midwives Information and Resource Service (MIDIRS). We advised the National Childbirth Trust on this merger including negotiating and concluding a framework merger agreement.

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  • Conversion of a housing association to a charity

    Converted Franklands Village Housing Association to an exempt charity and subsequently complete its merger with a local charity. Franklands Village Housing Association is a community benefit society and therefore could not register with the Charity Commission.

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  • Cross border charity merger

    Advised Outward Bound on the transfer of the Omani operations of a subsidiary charity to an NGO registered in Oman. Outward Bound operated a subsidiary charity in Oman to use its wild deserts and mountain landscape to develop life skills through challenging outdoor journeys.

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  • Governance review of a Royal Charter body

    Advised the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on the introduction of an entirely new governance structure. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is the medical Royal College for its speciality established by Royal Charter. Ian Hempseed was appointed as the legal advisor to the College’s Governance Working Party, whose recommendations were approved by the College’s Council.

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  • National rebranding of a charity

    We advised Arthritis Research UK on its national rebranding. We provided a legal project plan and then handled all stages of implementation, including obtaining consents from the Charity Commission and OSCR, passing the resolutions of the charity and its subsidiaries and licensing of the new name to its trading company.

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  • Chambers UK 2017
    “Excellent - the lawyers knew exactly what was needed and were quick to get on with the job. ”
  • Chambers UK 2017
    “The lawyers are proactive and give clear and concise advice to a high standard. ”
  • Chambers UK 2017
    “Ian Hempseed is efficient, prompt and gives all the support you could ask for. ”
  • Legal 500 2016
    “Clients single out Ian Hempseed, who shines for his expertise in relation to social enterprise in the health and social care sectors. ”