Philip Kirkpatrick

Deputy Managing Partner and Head of Charity


  • "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 what seem to be really difficult problems.


  • Reorganisation of Charity Bank

    This was one of the most complex charity law matters I have ever had to deal with. It 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. The Charity Commission was very helpful and we got it through. I don’t think such a thing had been done before. It probably won’t be again.

  • 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.

  • Registration of the Human Dignity Trust

    I established this charity, which brings international human rights law to bear in challenging worldwide the criminalisation of consensual homosexual conduct. We succeeded in the tribunal in overturning the Charity Commission’s refusal to register.

  • ASDA Stores Limited

    ASDA has a pioneering initiative to use millions of pounds of carrier bag levy money and other funds in a very targeted way to support food banks throughout the UK. I helped them develop this proposal and reach agreement with FareShare and the Trussell Trust for the delivery of the project.

  • I advised on the establishment of Water Aid international
  • I established a complaints handling policy and procedure for International Planned Parenthood Federation
  • I advised two large charities / their trustees on statutory inquiries
  • I acted on the incorporation of Christ’s Hospital School
  • I undertook a governance review for the Terrence Higgins Trust

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
  • Co-head of Charity & Social Enterprise team, 2011, becoming sole head in 2017

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'