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Charities Overview

Our work in relation to charities ranges from non contentious advice and drafting as to the creation and structuring of charities trusts, through applications to the Charity Commission or the court by charity trustees for advice or directions to hostile litigation both in all cases both in England and abroad.  Few of the leading charity cases over the last 15 years do not feature one or more members of Serle Court.

The issues dealt with range from the high profile question of whether independent schools provide sufficient public benefit to justify their charitable status to questions of whether unusual provisions in wills or trusts create charitable gifts or are void and and from issues as to the validity of elections of a charity’s committee to questions of whether a charity has complied with the special statutory requirements for the sale of land.  Following appropriate advice many of the potential disputes involving wills are disposed of without the need for court proceedings.

William Henderson and Jonathan Fowles are the co-editors of the leading textbook, Tudor on Charities, 10th Ed. (2015, Sweet & Maxwell).


Chambers & Partners 2017

William Henderson
Held in high regard for his charity work, he handles a broad range of contentious issues, but has a particular focus on tax-related disputes. 
Strengths: "He has encyclopaedic knowledge of charity law, and applies it in a common-sense way." 

Legal 500 2017

William Henderson - "He has an excellent mind with good strategic skills and a very easy manner."

Jonathan Fowles - "He is absolutely meticulous and lovely to work with."



The latest edition of Serle Speak is now available to... more


Judgment was handed down by 7 Justices of the Supreme... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful International Trusts and Commercial... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court's Litigation Conference... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court’s International Trusts... more


William Henderson and Jonathan Fowles are the editors of the... more


The latest edition of SerleSpeak is now available to download... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful litigation conference in London... more

Notable Cases

Regentford Ltd v Charity Commission and H.M. Attorney General [2014] UKUT 0364 (TCC_ (Upper Tribunal)

Charity Commission inquiry – nature of review jurisdiction of First-tier... more

Ferguson v HMRC (2014) TC03562

Tax avoidance scheme involving “gifts to charity” relief – s... more

Helena Partnerships Limited v HMRC [2014] EWCA Civ 569; [2012] 4 All E.R. 111

A registered social landlord which entered into a VAT mitigation... more

Re Tadros

Acted for and advised the second defendant, a multi-million probate... more

Cawdron v Merchant Taylors’ School [2009] EWHC 1722 (Ch)

Members of Chambers appeared for all the various parties in... more

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