Frances Godden
Senior Associate

Frances is a Senior Associate in the Charities Team and Faith Sector group. She specialises in charity and ecclesiastical law, and the law as it relates to matters of art and heritage. She also has extensive experience in education law. 
Frances is based in our Cambridge office but works for charities and organisations throughout the country. 

Frances acts for a wide range of clients including charities of all purposes, sizes and structures, advising on governance and constitutional matters, cy-près applications, management and restructuring of complex historical trusts and permanent endowment, Royal Charter petitions and complex gift and loan agreements in respect of works of significant academic, artistic and historical interest. 

A former Deputy Diocesan Registrar as well as Deputy Diocesan Secretary, Frances has worked extensively for the Church of England locally and nationally, advising Diocesan Boards of Finance and Education, parishes and clergy of the law of the Church of England and its structure, processes and application, particularly regarding charities and trusts, patronage, pastoral reorganisation and the faculty jurisdiction as it applies to church buildings and assets. She also advises clergy and others in matters relating to clergy discipline and complaints. 
An active member of the Institute of Art and Law, and holder of the Sotheby’s Institute’s Certificate in Art Law, Frances is also well placed to offer advice on legal issues as they affect matters of art and heritage, cultural property, or private or commercial clients in that sector, particularly charitable institutions with valuable collections. She has particular recent experience on matters of contested heritage in sacred settings.
Frances further advises Diocesan Boards of Education and Church of England schools and HFE institutions, particularly on their constitutions and governing documents. She has established numerous single and multi-academy trusts, and has worked on multiple successful conversions and mergers, as well as negotiating important updates and revisions to legal documentation with the Department for Education. 
Frances is a trustee of the Ecclesiastical Law Society, and editor of their newsletter. She is a member of the Charity Law Association (and was a panel member of its permanent endowment working party), Ecclesiastical Law Association, the Heritage Alliance and the Institute of Art and Law. Frances is also on the panel of professional advisers to the Association of English Cathedrals, providing legal advice to cathedrals and major parish churches across the country. 

University of Durham BA (Hons) (History - First Class)
Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London MA (History of Art)
Sotheby's Institute of Art (Art Law Certificate)
University of Lincoln (Graduate Diploma in Law - Distinction)
BPP Law School (Legal Practice Certificate - Distinction)

Art and Heritage (particularly historical architecture and landscapes)
Music (particularly classical/ choral/ jazz)
Nature and exploring the Norfolk countryside where she lives with her fiance and his children. 

What our clients say

‘The specialist support and advice provided by Lee Coley and more recently by Frances Godden is excellent. This is particularly in respect of land and trust matters. Lee Coley is measured and considered and provides clear advice and guidance that supports me to make effective decisions’.