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July 24, 2014

Working with Faith Organisations

Working with Faith Organisations

About Stone King

We have been ranked by the legal directories as one of the leading national charity law practices in the country. In particular we have a long established reputation, developed over many decades, of providing advice to faith based organisations. We are one of the few national charity law firms that has a dedicated team focussing in this area. We act for several hundred charities that are of have direct links with faith organisations.

We have significant experience in the issues that affect faith clients of all denominations as they seek to fulfiltheir missionwithin the sometimes difficult constraints of civil charity law and regulation. We understand the need to provide advice and the solutions to legal problems in a way that is consistent with your mission and the ethos of your faith.

Stone King “demonstrates particular skill acting for faith-based organisations, advising them across a broad range of issues including charity law, governance and canon law”
(Chambers Legal Directory 2014).

We are actively involved in discussing at a national level issues that are relevant to faith bodies. For example, members of our team are
involvedinthe religious charitiesworkingparty oftheCharity LawAssociation, the Ecclesiastical Law Association and the Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers. We were a founder of the leading conference for Catholic charities. We have been involved at the forefront of recent legal developments for faith organisations, for example:

  • Testing for the first time the extent to which religious organisations can make religious beliefs and practice a “genuine occupational requirement”;
  • Involvement in the leading Supreme Court case relating to the application of religious qualifications for school admission policies;
  • Assisting Catholic adoption agencies in determining whether religious restrictions can be applied in relation to adoption policies;
  • Advising on the leading case regarding the rights of pupils to wear religious dress, relating to the wearing of a niquab headscarf;
  • Working with a national charity seeking to challenge the Charity Commission’s approach to religion and public benefit, following the removal of the presumption of public benefit in the advancement of religion;

  • Obtaining charitable status for activities of closed religious communities in the light of changing circumstances and overcoming long established case law restrictions; and
  • Helping to develop constitutional documents that are consistent with faith organisations’ internal governance principles that are acceptable to the Charity Commission.

Our approach

Faith based organisations often have a long and rich history, in many cases going back centuries. We look to build long lasting relationships with our clients to enable us to develop a genuine insight into your faith. This enables us to provide advice that is consistent with the longer term changes in your mission as circumstances change.

We appreciate that for faith based organisations reputation and integrity are core to your mission and objectives. Our significant experience enables us to provide solutions that not only address the legal issues in play, but also seek to do so in a practical way that protects both your reputation and your integrity.

“They grasp very quickly what we need and they don’t need to be obsessive about certain points. They’re fantastic.”
(Chambers Legal Directory 2014)