Charities & Social Enterprise

Acting for over 10% of Scotland’s 300 largest charities, our Charities & Social Enterprise team has a deep understanding of the specific challenges facing the third sector.


Recognised by Chambers & Partners UK and the Legal 500 as experts in providing charities with legal advice, we are known for working with service driven charities on regulatory matters. Our team are skilled in advising on governance matters and regularly work with our clients on relationships amongst Board members, management and stakeholders. We remain heavily involved in developing and advising upon evolving structures between the public and third sectors, drawing upon combined team specialisms of: public law and procurement; grants; tax; IPR and data-protection in addition to base charity law and charity regulation.


We have seen growth in our involvement in high profile charity regulatory and governance matters, key Board agenda items such as data protection compliance, fundraising regulation and safeguarding and complex charity structuring involving detailed inputs on all aspects of tax law.


Our international charity client base and our social enterprise sphere is also growing, both as legal advisors and as facilitators. In 2018 Duncan Osler and Robin Fallas hosted social enterprise and public body leaders for ground-breaking talks on expanding partnerships and ideas. We have a dedicated focus on social care and service driven organisations, areas in which our team’s practical approach and in-depth sector knowledge is welcomed by clients.


Key areas of work include:

•  Charitable Trusts
•  Charity fundraising regulation
•  Community Renewables / Enterprise
•  Data protection compliance for the third sector
•  Governance
•  International and domestic social enterprises
•  Pensions and employment
•  Regulatory advice for service driven charities and third sector
•  Service/Corporate Charity Structures and collaborations
•  Social media and digital platforms for the third sector

Recent Experience
  • We supported and advised Trust in Fife, the lead agency in an ambitious and innovative public social partnership between Fife Council and 13 third sector organisations.
  • We have supported and advised CEiS on a number of charity and social enterprise structuring matters, including use of innovative structures (third sector-led LLP to deliver public contract, implementing an optimal structure for a new subsidiary social enterprise and a global social enterprise organisation).
  • We have supported and advised Beatson Cancer Charity, an organisation offering critical support to patients and families, funding and research opportunities and engaging the public in awareness and support, on a range of matters. These include a charity merger, for which we provided governance training and advised on commercial arrangements, such as trademark issues, as well as brand development and management.
  • MacRoberts is praised for its "excellent level of service and quality of advice, and for its solutions-focused approach".

    Legal 500
  • "The 'personal approach combined with their legal knowledge results in a high level of satisfaction from clients'."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • "Their approach to supporting clients over and above the provision of legal services is fantastic."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • “The MacRoberts’ Charities team, led by the experienced and pragmatic Val Surgenor, have been assisting us with a number of complex compliance matters, including GDPR and data protection, contractual arrangements relating to fundraising and charity governance queries. We have been delighted with their support, advice and guidance. The team, who have travelled to Leeds to provide training and advice on many occasions, are always on hand, whenever required, to deal with ad hoc requests and reviews under tight timescales.”

    David Welsh, LEEDS TEACHING HOSPITALS NHS TRUST

Charities & Third Sector

MacRoberts is a leading adviser to charities, the third sector and social enterprise in Scotland and we have a deep understanding of the issues and challenges facing the sector.

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