Charity and Philanthropy


We have an established reputation for advising on charity and philanthropy matters. Our clients range from family grant-making foundations to high-profile operational charities and are active in many charitable sectors, from education and healthcare to sustainable development and the promotion of science. Much of our work has an international element.

Drawing on the breadth and depth of expertise of our other specialist groups we are able to advise on a broad range of charity and philanthropy issues including advising on:

  • the creation of new charitable vehicles and registration with the Charity Commission and HMRC;
  • restructuring and governance reviews, including on charity mergers and joint ventures;
  • charity investments, including corporate M&A, regulatory compliance, tax and social/programme related investment aspects;
  • regulatory investigations and charity litigation, including dealings with the Charity Commission and the Attorney General;
  • commercial and operational matters, including corporate partnership and sponsorship arrangements;
  • tax aspects of charitable giving, including in relation to cross-border giving;
  • the establishment of other philanthropic structures, including Community Interest Companies and non-UK options; and
  • charity law and the responsibilities of charity trustees generally - this covers diverse issues such as meeting the public benefit requirement, managing conflicts of interest and structuring trading and land development activities.


  • "A high-quality team with a dedication to providing us with an excellent service."

    Chambers UK 2016

  • "Outstanding is the only word for them!"

    Chambers UK 2016

  • "Macfarlanes LLP is noted for its 'great teamwork, prompt service and attention to detail'; 'everyone works hard on the client's behalf'."

    The UK Legal 500 2014

  • "Macfarlanes' charity law group works with a broad range of clients, from local to brand-name charities, and its expert charity law practitioners are highly regarded for their expertise in managing charity mergers and joint ventures."

    Chambers UK 2013

  • "'Friendly, and highly competent and caring', Macfarlanes LLP stands out for the breadth and depth of its practice."

    The Legal UK 500 2013

  • Winner of London Legal Team of the Year.

    STEP Private Client Awards 2013