Philip Kirkpatrick

Deputy Managing Partner


  • "A leading figure in the third-sector legal market" - recognised as an Eminent Practitioner.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Philip has an outstanding knowledge and understanding of charity law, combined with a totally pragmatic approach which cuts through the waffle and gets to the heart of the issues.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Has a track record of significant mandates, advising high-profile clients on issues ranging from commercial partnerships and restructurings to inquiries by the Charity Commission.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Best Lawyer - Charities

    Best Lawyers 2021 9th Edition

  • Philip Kirkpatrick goes to the heart of the matter. He is a pleasure to deal with. He avoids inessentials, and is as close as you can get to the ideal charity legal adviser

    Legal 500 2021

  • Extremely capable, incisive, calm and excellent with clients

    Chambers 2020

  • Very astute and hugely experienced

    Chambers 2020

  • Recognised as a Leading Individual

    Legal 500 2020

  • The 'well-regarded' Philip Kirkpatrick

    Legal 500 2020

  • Recognised as a Best Lawyer for Charities Law

    Best Lawyers 2020

  • "Highly regarded for the strength of his advisory practice"

    Chambers 2019

  • Philip "gives clear advice; he looks to provide practical solutions as well as identifying the key considerations"

    Chambers 2019

  • Philip is 'great with clients'

    Chambers 2019

  • "Very industrious" and is an "imaginative and resourceful thinker"

    Legal 500 2018

  • “Recognised as a Best Lawyer”

    Best Lawyers in UK 2019 Edition

  • He "has a deep understanding of the sector"

    Chambers 2018

  • Philip is ‘practical and commercially minded'

    Legal 500 2017

  • Exceptionally bright and able in this field.

    Chambers UK 2017

  • "He brings great imagination and is approachable and clear in his advice, he really understands what clients want."

    Chambers UK 2016


I help clients with their difficult commercial and governance issues, always recognising that these are human as well as legal matters. I particularly enjoy the challenge of structuring new ventures and finding the best ways to implement my clients’ great ideas. And I like to find the paths around and through apparent blockages. My clients are non-profit organisations of all kinds as well as individuals and commercial companies engaging in philanthropy.


  • • Kids Company (Official Receiver v Atkinson and others [2021] EWHC 175)

    I advised the majority of the former Kids Company trustees in their successful defence of the Official Receiver’s disqualification proceedings and in relation to the Charity Commission inquiry

  • • Lehtimäki and others v Cooper [2020] UKSC 33

    I advised Jamie Cooper on her successful appeal to the Supreme Court, securing a grant of $360M for her charity and clarifying the law on fiduciary duties of charitable company members

  • • The Human Dignity Trust v The Charity Commission for England and Wales (CA/2013/0013)

    This charity brings international human rights law to bear around the world in challenging the criminalisation of consensual homosexual conduct. We succeeded in the First Tier Tribunal in overturning the Charity Commission’s refusal to register.

  • • ASDA Stores Limited

    I advise ASDA on its prominent charity partnerships and campaigns.

  • • Reorganisation of Charity Bank

    This complex transaction involved converting a bank, which was also a charity, into a non-charity so that it could comply with new regulations on bank capital. All this without having charitable trusts imposed on the capital.

  • • A global fashion brand

    I recently advised on the structuring of this company’s international philanthropy, the establishment of a corporate foundation in the UK and the relationships between the commercial entities and foundations in other jurisdictions.

  • • International Planned Parenthood Federation

    I supported this international charity (established by a UK Act of Parliament) through a global governance change

  • • Royal National Institute of Blind People

    It’s an unpleasant business being subject to a statutory inquiry from a regulator. In RNIB’s case, which concerned its specialist care and education provision, this involved not only the Charity Commission but also Ofsted. RNIB is back on sound footing.

Qualifications and career

  • University College, London, BA English, 1986
  • University of West of England – Common Professional Examination and Law Society Finals
  • Admitted as a solicitor, 1995
  • Partner with Bates Wells, 2000
  • Deputy Managing Partner, 2013

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Charity Commission approved practitioner for interim manager services
  • Trustee of The Shakespeare Globe Trust and director of Shakespeare Globe Trading Limited
  • Director of the Death Penalty Project and Trustee of the Death Penalty Project Charitable Trust
  • Advice to various human rights organisations on constitutional and charity law matters

Publications & Lectures

  • Editor of and contributor to 'Jordans Charities Administration Service' and co-author of 'The Fundraiser’s Guide to the Law'