Recommendations

  • "He is wonderful and we love working with him"

    Chambers 2018

  • "He is incredibly knowledgeable, very efficient and practical"

    Chambers 2018

  • Leading individual.

    Legal 500 2017

  • Named as Leading individual for Electoral practice area.

    Legal 500 2015

  • Selected as a super lawyer 2014.

    Super Lawyers Magazine

Experience

I aim to provide practical and robust advice to organisations and individuals working to achieve positive social impact or to influence law or public policy.

 

As a partner in our top tier charity and social enterprise team, I am lucky to able to help charities, social enterprises, mutuals and mission-led businesses achieve their aims.  I work closely with my clients and colleagues in providing a wide range of advisory and transactional support, with common areas of advice including structuring and governance, financing and investment, collaboration and mergers, campaigning and advocacy.

I co-lead our specialist political and campaigning law team with Rosamund McCarthy, which helps political parties, candidates, donors, charities and issue-based campaigners navigate the complex regulatory environment that can be relevant to their electoral and policy goals.  Our multi-disciplinary team works across all areas of campaigning law, from election and referendum law to campaign finance, transparency of lobbying, data privacy, charity law, public law, strategic litigation, advertising and reputation-management.

I am continually inspired by the new and innovative approaches developed by my clients to advance their social aims, which often require creative and innovative solutions in new and untested areas of law.  I regularly advise on the intersections between philanthropic and commercial activity, between charitable and political advocacy and online and offline activity.  My clients range from small civil society organisations to the biggest businesses and charitable federations, and I regularly advise on international activity and cross-border giving.

Recent projects

  • Advising the official Remain campaign in the EU referendum

    Advising (along with our politics and campaigning law team) Britain Stronger In Europe, the lead campaign group on the Remain side of the EU Referendum debate, on electoral and referendum law compliance, campaign finance, fundraising and a wide range of other legal needs during one of the most high profile and contentious campaigns of modern times. We I advised a wide range of other Remain-side campaigners, including charities, businesses, donors and issue-based campaigners, and have advised some of them on their engagement with relevant regulators since the poll.

  • Advising on the UK’s first listed charity bond

    I advised on the first charity bond issue to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, by the Mencap subsidiary Golden Lane Housing. The bond was issued through the Retail Charity Bonds platform on the ORB market of the LSE, and required an unusually high degree of engagement with the UK Listing Authority, to ensure that the charity’s offer documents would be suitable for investment by both institutional and retail investors. The bond raised £11 million to fund investment into the vital housing services provided by Golden Lane to people with learning disabilities.

  • Advising the Cabinet Office on an independent review of the Lobbying Act

    I was appointed by the Cabinet Office and Lord Hodgson to provide legal advice on his independent statutory review of non-party campaigning law and regulation, following the amendment of those rules by the controversial “Lobbying Act”. The Lobbying Act significantly expanded the regulation of non-party campaigning activity in the run-up to an election, and with my help Lord Hodgson’s report recommended a suite of reforms to help reduce the resulting ‘chilling effect’ on the public advocacy of charities and other issue-based campaigners. Unfortunately, the Government has not yet enacted the recommendations, but I am continuing to help a range of clients and others make the case for reform.

  • Advising on the merger of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now in 2019.
  • Advising a consortium of charitable think tanks on their engagement with the Charity Commission following the issuance of new regulatory advice by the Charity Commission in December 2018.
  • Advising Hackney Community Transport on its innovative revenue-linked social financing by a consortia of investors in 2010 and subsequent rounds of re-financings, most recently a £17.8 refinancing in 2018.
  • Regularly advising the dual-qualified US-UK charitable foundation of a global investment bank on governance, regulatory compliance, taxation issues and international grant-making
  • Advising household name charities and campaigning organisations on charity law and election law in relation to the 2015 General Election, the 2016 Scottish, Welsh and London elections and the EU Referendum, including Avaaz, 38 Degrees, Citizens Advice, the Climate Coalition, Green Alliance and Shelter.
  • Advising Nationwide Foundation, Ecology Building Society and Charity Bank on social banking and building society law, including interaction with capital adequacy and charity law issues.
  • Advising Charity Bank on its complex relinquishment of charitable status in 2014.

Qualifications and career

  • Oxford University, BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 2001
  • Admitted as a solicitor at Slaughter and May, 2007
  • Joined Bates Wells, 2008
  • Secondment as acting head of legal of The Abbeyfield Society, a charitable social housing provider association, 2009
  • Appointed Partner of Bates Wells, 2014

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Director of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • Active involvement in sectoral campaigns for amendment of Charity Commission EU referendum guidance, against the Lobbying Act, in support of social investment tax relief and in relation to the feed in tariff regime for community scale energy generation
  • Regular lecturing, authorship, article writing and pro bono advice, including as a visiting lecturer at CASS Business School and recent articles in the Guardian, the Lawyer, the Solicitors Journal, Civil Society and Third Sector.
  • Member of the Charity Law Association
  • Member of the UK Environmental Law Association