Not for Profit

Our Not For Profit Team have developed a reputation for providing clear and unequivocal advice to third sector clients focusing specifically on the needs of clients. We provide practical and cost effective advice to a range of charities on corporate structure and corporate governance. In the current economic climate with pressure on resources, our team has been able to advise on collaborative arrangements and partnerships between charitable groups and provides assistance with funding arrangements. Specialist areas of expertise include corporate advice, public procurement, property advice, employment advice and information management.

The team comprises of lawyers with specialist experience of advising third sector clients. Their individual expertise in corporate governance, property, employment and information management allow us to provide a comprehensive service to our charitable clients dealing with all their legal requirements.

The team has specific in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector and currently acts for a number of social housing associations, charities, management groups and residential developers. We have a multi-disciplinary team providing legal advice to the social housing sector across real estate, planning, procurement, commercial contracts, employment, project finance and governance issues. We run regular briefings for social housing stakeholder groups.

In addition to the clients we advise, partners and solicitors in the firm serve on trustee boards and committees giving additional experience of the needs of this sector.

Key Contacts

Clare Bates, Partner, Head of Not For Profit Team

Rosemary Carson, Partner, Real Estate 

Orlagh O’Neill, Partner, Head of Employment Team 

Dawn McKnight, Partner, Corporate

Stuart Murphy, Partner, Head of Construction Team

Neil Bleakley, Partner, Private Client

Gerard Armstrong, Partner, Corporate

What We Do

  • Advising in relation to corporate structure and ensuring compliance with the Companies Act 2006 and the Charities Act (NI) 2008
  • Providing advice in relation to compliance with the requirements of the NI Charity Commission and whether clients will meet the public benefit test
  • Advising in relation to corporate governance both for charities in Northern Ireland and mainland UK to include organisational restructures, constitutional reconfigurations, officer induction training and directors duties
  • The specialist Public Procurement team have extensive experience (both contentious and non-contentious) of advising charities under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006
  • The Real Estate Team led by Rosemary Carson has wide has wide experience acting in the acquisition and disposal of sites for charitable bodies and in particular advising them of their duties in relation to land dealings pursuant to the Charities Act (NI) 2008
  • Employment issues specific to the third sector to include contention and non-contentious advice
  • Advising clients on the impact of the forthcoming Historical Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland
  • Information management advice on data protection, confidentiality and Freedom of Information issues

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2013 (Band 1): 

"Carson McDowell has developed a strong reputation for its work with third sector clients. Its charity law practice group is especially highly regarded for its advice on corporate governance, and is also noted for its strength in working with charities clients from the education sector. Commentators praise the firm's client service, with one saying: 'They have all taken the time to understand our charity's issues, including our financial constraints, and have been able to provide a breadth of service and depth of experience in a way which complements the skills and experience we have'."