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.

Our team has a wealth of experience advising clients in the charity sector. Whether a private individual or a corporate charitable foundation, our expertise in the full range of private client issues means we can meet all legal needs relevant to charities and philanthropic giving.

We are actively involved in industry organisations such as the Charity Law Association, Philanthropy Impact, the Charity Tax Group and the STEP Philanthropy Advisors Special Interest Group, enabling us to remain at the forefront of developments in this area.

We advise on a broad range of charity and philanthropy issues including:

  • 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;
  • the particular issues relating to the structuring of trading and land development activities carried on by charities;
  • charity investments including regulatory compliance and social / programme related investments;
  • 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, particularly 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 and managing conflicts of interest

What people are saying


"Macfarlanes' different teams work seamlessly together to overcome hurdles and are good at bringing in additional specialist knowledge exactly when it is required."

Chambers UK 2018

"Macfarlanes 'achieves the desired outcomes for its clients in almost unprecedented short periods of time'."

The UK Legal 500 2017

"The team advises on the full range of issues, with particular experience in cross-border work."

The UK Legal 500 2017

"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