Recommendations

  • Thorough, hardworking and efficient

    Legal 500 2020

  • Recognised as a Leading Individual

    Legal 500 2020

  • Provides a 'consistently excellent service'

    Legal 500 2018

  • Stephanie is ‘great with clients and explains the most complex matters in simple terms’

    Legal 500 2017

  • "An extremely humble, pleasant lawyer who is generous with her knowledge and genuinely committed to the work of charities."

    Chambers 2016

Experience

I’m the joint lead on all our work with faith-based organisations, and also have a particular interest in working with International NGOs. I’m a trustee of two Christian charities, Tearfund and Stewardship, and of Breaking Barriers, a charity that supports refugees in London into employment, and my trustee experience helps me to provide practical and empathetic advice to clients.

When I’m not advising clients, you’ll probably find me out and about at training sessions and conferences. I enjoy providing training in house for charities and their trustees and equipping people to understand for themselves how the law applies to their work.

My day to day work involves dealing with the Charity Commission on registrations, consents and regulatory compliance cases, governance advice, supporting charities with collaborative working and mergers. I also advise on contracts, grant-making (including overseas), fundraising and trading, intellectual property, social franchising, equality and discrimination, and corporate philanthropy.

Recent projects

  • I’ve worked on creating a world-class humanitarian health force

    When international health charity Merlin prepared to join Save the Children, I advised on charity regulation and corporate structure issues. Together, the two charities now support children and their families on an even bigger scale.

  • I advised CAFOD on its incorporation

    CAFOD is the official international development agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. I helped establish a new charitable company limited by guarantee and transferred CAFOD’s assets to the new entity.

  • I advised the McCall MacBain Foundation on a £75 million donation

    The gift, made to the Rhodes Trust, was the largest since the scholarship was established in 1903. It will help the Trust continue to send future global leaders to the Oxford University.

  • I advised Breakthrough Breast Cancer on its merger with Breast Cancer Campaign to create Breast Cancer Now, the largest breast cancer research and prevention charity, with a high public profile.
  • I advised international health charity Merlin on joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families, including advising on charity regulation and corporate structure issues.
  • I advised on the registration of the Marriage Foundation as a charity, overturning the Charity Commission’s initial decision not to register the Foundation. The Marriage Foundation was established by High Court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge. It aims to see fewer people drawn into the family justice system each year and reduce the numbers who go through the emotional pain and financial cost of broken marriages and other relationships.
  • I advised British Waterways on establishing the Canal & River Trust, a new independent charity which has taken on the care of 2,000 miles of waterways, historic buildings, museums and archives. The new charity has a sophisticated governance structure, reflecting the many stakeholders with an interest in inland waterways. Stephanie provided specialist charity and company law advice on the transaction.
  • I advised three large faith-based organisations on various issues relating to reviewing and reorganising their international structures and, in one case, transferring their international secretariat from the UK to a new location overseas
  • I’ve given advice to charitable foundations established by a number of high profile businesses, in connection with grant-making and advising on the relationship between the corporate founder and charitable foundation.
  • I’ve advised the Design Council on its transition from being a non-departmental public body (NDPB) to become an independent charity. This involved revising the Design Council’s Royal Charter to implement a new governance structure and ensuring that the changes were sanctioned by the Privy Council. Simultaneously, the Design Council took over a number of activities and functions of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). Stephanie advised on setting up a new company to achieve this and on the transfer of part of CABE’s undertaking to the Design Council.
  • A team from Bates Wells, including myself, advised Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) on its hive out from the Museum of London to become an independent charitable company. MOLA is one of the leading archaeological practices in the UK, providing professional archaeological advice and services to the property industry and academic community for nearly 40 years.
  • I acted as the specialist advisor to the Joint Committee on the draft Protection of Charities Bill – specialist advisor to the Select Committee established in Parliament to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny on what became the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

Qualifications and career

  • Pembroke College, Oxford University, BA (Hons) English Language & Literature, 2000
  • Oxford Brookes University, Post-graduate Diploma in Law, 2001
  • Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, Legal Practice Course, 2002
  • Eight months as legal intern with International Justice Mission in Thailand, 2003
  • Joined Bates Wells, 2003
  • Admitted as a solicitor, 2005
  • Partner at Bates Wells 2013

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Trustee of Breaking Barriers
  • Trustee of Stewardship
  • Trustee of Tearfund
  • Co-ordinating BWB’s pro bono advice with Advocates for International Development
  • Member of Charity Law Association working group on the Equality Act
  • Co-ordinating the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group work on human trafficking including evidence to the Joint Committee on the Human Rights inquiry
  • Experience of voluntary work in the UK, Ukraine, China, France and Thailand