Starting a Charity.

We can take you through the public benefit test, help you determine how to constitute the charity, create the charity’s governing document and handle registration.

There are many obstacles to consider when starting a charity.

You can rely on us to help you.

Our team can help you determine whether a charity is the right vehicle for your needs and whether it meets the public benefit test. If you are starting up a charity and need legal advice our team are experienced and supportive.

Employment Law

Like any organisation, starting a Charity can be difficult. There are many obstacles to consider when starting up a charity such as complicated legal regulations and frameworks & lack of public funding for the third party sector.

We will help you determine how to constitute the charity, help you create the charity’s governing document and register it with the Charity Commission, Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs as appropriate.

Not all charities need to be registered with the Charity Commission but all should have a constitution (usually called a governing document) to regulate their activities. In addition, all charities must meet the public benefit test.



There are currently five different types of governing document that a charity might use:


A constitution or rules for an unincorporated association. This may be appropriate if the organisation does not own valuable assets; it has a membership; and the views of local residents, or other bodies need to be represented through membership, or as users of the facilities.


A trust deed. This may be most appropriate for grant giving charities. This often happens when a benefactor wishes to create a simple charity to make gifts of money to worthy causes.


Articles of association for a company limited by guarantee. A company can own land and enter contracts in its own name. This mitigates risk from individual charity trustees, therefore it may be appropriate to establish a company with a large organisation; or have employees; or deliver charitable services under contractual agreements; or regularly enter commercial contracts; or be a substantial owner of property.


A small charity constitution. This may be appropriate where the organisation’s annual gross income will remain under £5,000


A constitution for a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This will be appropriate in the same circumstances as for a limited company but will not require registration at Companies House and compliance with company law

Stuart Rea

Working With Our Sector Team

Our team of specialist charity lawyers have extensive experience of delivering practical, commercial advice and legal solutions to charities and not for profit organisations to enable them to operate successfully, and effectively meet their beneficiaries’ needs.

- Stuart Rea

If you operate in the Charities and Not-For-Profit sector and need legal advice or would simply like to find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch.

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Make an Enquiry

If you have a legal enquiry and would like to speak to one of our specialist team, please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Meet Your Lawyers

Adam Davies


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Andrew Wynne

Senior Partner

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Pauline Hollington

Lichfield Diocesan Registry Assistant

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Samantha Roberts


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Stuart Ness

Senior Associate

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Stuart Rea


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What Our Clients Say

Stuart Rea handled our unusual and complex matter with professionalism.  He understood what we wanted to achieve and gave us very clear guidance on our legal position - even though we did not necessarily want to hear the advice it was essential to our charity understanding our legal position and therefore making lawful decisions.  He also worked to the very tight timescales that we needed.

Stuart Rea

Mr S


Excellent service which enabled the Charity to achieve its timetable for the complicated transfer of assets at an affordable price for a small community run charity.

Stuart Rea

Mr W


The change to the Rules of our Charity were dealt with efficiently and in a timescale that was wholly dictated by the speed that dealing with the Charity Commission dictated, which was extensive.

Stuart Rea

Mr T