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Alison Talbot

Partner, Head of National Charities, Oxford

Charities & Social Enterprises

About Alison

Partner and Head of National charities, Alison specialises in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for charities. She has over 20 years’ experience in providing strategic, pragmatic and commercial advice to a wide range of charities, social enterprises, educational institutions and individuals. In Legal 500 and Chambers UK she has been individually ranked as a leader in her field for many years and is described by sources in Chambers 2020 as “very likeable, accessible, thoughtful and easy to speak to.” She has also been described as ‘extremely warm and has a great client manner but also has a fantastic depth of knowledge and an extremely tough edge when needed’.

Alison is well known for her client focussed approach and ability to cut through difficult situations in order to identify workable solutions for her charity clients. She maintains a calm approach even in the most challenging circumstances and has a strong reputation for achieving successful outcomes for clients.

With extensive experience in charity law and governance she regularly engages with the Charity Commission and is highly skilled in supporting charities through disputes, distress situations and organisational change. She regularly advises the trustee boards of charities when taking sensitive or complex decisions and carries out governance and board reviews.

Alison regularly advises charities in relation to Charity Commission investigations and inquiries, and has a strong track record of working with charities to handle the media and protect the charity’s reputation. She also advises charities on the gifts they receive in wills, including the interpretation of wills, tax issues, and legal challenges to wills.

Whilst working with many charities to review their governing documents, she has developed a wealth of experience advising on constitutional amendments and has regularly worked with Royal Charter Bodies, Charities created by Act of Parliament, Charitable Companies, CIOs and Foundations, as well as all types of social enterprise to update and refresh their governance arrangements and policies and procedures.

Having been a trustee of a number of charities, Alison has a strong understanding of the practical issues which charity trustees face on a day to day basis. She also sits on the Audit and Risk Committee of an Oxford College and is regularly asked to speak at events and provides training to charities.

She is also a CEDR trained mediator and she brings her considerable experience of helping clients find pragmatic and workable solutions to challenging situations within her mediation practice. She mediates in several areas including workplace mediation, will and trust disputes, abuse and harassment cases, regulatory matters and governance disputes, trustee and director disputes.

Recent Experience

  • Advising in relation to a high profile Charity Commission Statutory Inquiry.
  • Acting for a charity in relation to serious safeguarding allegations.
  • Advising multiple charities in relation to regulatory concerns and serious incident reporting.
  • Acting for a University on the funding arrangements for a new research institute.
  • Advising a charity on the recovery of several million pounds which had been fraudulently removed from an estate.
  • Advising multiple charities on restructuring their funds and endowments.
  • Acting on the merger of two well-known national charities.
  • Advising in relation to multiple charity and social enterprise start ups.

Professional Memberships

  • STEP Diploma
  • STEP Advanced Trust Litigation Diploma
  • CEDR accredited mediator
  • CEDR accredited workplace mediator
  • Member of the Charity Law Association
  • TQUK Level Certificate in Self-harm and Suicide awareness and prevention
  • Audit and Risk committee of Wadham College, Oxford

Career Experience

2019 to present: Partner, Winckworth Sherwood LLP

2016 to 2018: Partner, Penningtons Manches LLP

2007 to 2016: Partner, Blake Morgan

2000 to 2007: Solicitor, then Partner, Henmans

1996 to 2000: Trainee Solicitor, then Solicitor, Parrott & Coales

‘Alison Talbot and Philip Collins are outstanding lawyers and two very safe pairs of hands‘.

Legal 500 2022

“…very likeable, accessible, thoughtful and easy to speak to.”

Chambers & Partners 2020

‘Significant expertise and experience supporting charities and not for profit. Deep understanding of law affecting charities and the way that charities need to balance risk and reward. Alison Talbot provides clear, concise advice with the client in mind‘

Legal 500 2022