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Fiona specialises in advising charity and social enterprise clients on all issues relating to their formation, registration, governance and trustee / director roles and responsibilities. Her role includes advice on re-structuring and reviewing governing documents, collaborative and consortium working and mergers, fundraising, trading and trading subsidiaries and advice on grant agreements and criteria, contracts and related issues.

She has worked both in-house at charities including acting as Comic Relief’s first in-house lawyer and in private practice, advising a wide range of charities and social enterprise organisations.


Fiona advises charities and other social economy clients, on a wide range of issues and across the full spectrum of organisations in the sector; including working with

  • service providing organisations,
  • schools including academy trusts and academic institutions,
  • museums and other visitor attractions,
  • foundations and grant makers,
  • public sector clients on their role as charity trustees and consortia of charities,
  • social housing providers and voluntary sector support organisations

During all stages of their development from initial formation through ongoing governance issues to what happens on dissolution.

She also provides bespoke training for trustees / directors and is regularly asked to speak at sector events across the region.

Fiona is listed as one to watch in Legal Directory Chambers and Partners and is praised by clients for her ability to provide a good quality of service even in difficult circumstances and together with other members of the team, as “very professional, knowledgeable, approachable and efficient”.

In addition to her professional role, Fiona is also a charity trustee and volunteer.

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Independent verdict

  • "Key charities practitioner Fiona Wharton of Ward Hadaway has considerable experience advising charities, their trading subsidiaries and social enterprises on all manner of charity-related issues, including restructurings, mergers, fund-raising and governance. One client remarks that Fiona is also adept at 'translating legal jargon into an easy-to-read format'."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "She has extensive knowledge and provides an efficient service."

    Client quote, Chambers & Partners
  • "Sources value Fiona Wharton's ability to 'provide clear and helpful advice on complex matters.'"

    Client quote, Chambers & Partners
  • "Fiona Wharton is ‘very professional, knowledgeable, approachable and efficient’."

    Legal 500
  • "Fiona Wharton is praised by clients for her ability 'to provide a good quality of service even in difficult circumstances.' She has extensive third sector experience, having been the first ever in-house lawyer at Comic Relief."

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