Mishcon de Reya page structure
Site header
Main menu
Main content section
Aarti Thakor

Aarti Thakor


Personal Profile

Aarti is a Partner in the Charities and Social Ventures team within the Impact department leading the team's non-profit consultancy, investigations and review capabilities for major international NGOs, international institutions, charities and philanthropic foundations.

Aarti is a civil law barrister & accredited Mediator with 20 years of extensive charity, regulatory & international experience gained primarily within the Charity Commission's legal services directorate.

She specialises in multi stakeholder projects, major and high-risk investigations, governance and incident response, as well as providing technical consulting on financial crime and terrorist financing risk. She is known for advising successfully and pragmatically in complex operational implementation in cross border contexts and for capability and capacity building at national and international levels.

She has also advised a vast number of governments in the Far East, Middle East, Europe and Caribbean, including regulators, other institutions and agencies globally on how to develop or improve regulatory systems or policies for NGOs and civil society. She has been responsible for reviewing or changing relevant laws, policies and operational processes in multiple countries, and in FATF R8, AML and CTF matters, being well versed in engaging and influencing at the most senior Ministerial or national levels.

As Director of Legal and Accountancy Services at the Charity Commission, Aarti oversaw all charity related national high profile, sensitive and complex cases and policy issues, including developing risk management, strategy and business processes.  She also led in matters relating to national regulatory strategies, sector reviews and relevant risk assessments.

Over the last decade she has also led the external legal development of charity law and the regulatory framework for charities through Parliamentary bills, primary or secondary legislation (Charities Acts 2016 and 2022) and national guidance, including written and oral evidence in Parliamentary Committees.

Before joining the Charity Commission, Aarti has worked as counsel for the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda, and at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. Aarti also previously worked in chambers dealing with a number of civil and criminal matters.

Her excellent track record of delivering innovative strategic, policy and operational leadership, coupled with a unique perspective and insight from her extensive and authoritative Charity Commission experience ensures pragmatic, effective and robust solutions for clients.

Key Experience

  • Direct executive and leadership experience at national level, leading a team of 50 lawyers and accountants as the Director of Legal Services in the Charity Commission for approximately 6 years, with broader joint corporately responsibility for 450 staff
  • Successfully overseeing a range of legal and broader technical work relating to complex investigations, registration, governance, policy and litigation work affecting the Commission
  • Ensuring a virtual 100% success rate in litigation involving the Commission over 8 years
  • Leading internationally as chief adviser on expert legal and technical advice to governments on charity/NGO law and regulation, including legislative reviews, the development of new regulatory systems and processes with supporting operational processes and risk assessments
  • Leading on capacity and capability building programmes or risk-based management in international NGOs, NPOs and regulators
  • Project managing specialist multi-disciplinary teams to deliver new or large scale, strategies or policies
  • Leading key top level strategic relationships across Government, Ministers, regulators, civil society sector bodies and relevant professional communities
  • Particular expertise as former Head of Legal Compliance in the Commission in navigating high profile, sensitive and complex cases, including policy issues affecting charities operating in the UK and internationally, such as provision of humanitarian aid in conflict zones, safeguarding issues, terrorist financing or AML risks
  • Leading the external legal development of the last decade of English and Welsh charity law and the regulatory framework for charities through Parliamentary bills, primary or secondary legislation and national guidance including oral evidence in Parliamentary Committees
  • Responsible for creating and implementing world first investigations and risk frameworks in South East Asia under multi-million pound inter-governmental projects
  • Guest or key note speaker at high profile international events e.g. Sarajevo on CCID’s approach to tacking radicalism and extremism in NGOs; Jamaica AML conference on compliance with charity regulation and FATF, Indonesia’s National Parliament on UK lessons on charity regulation; Bahrain’s ministerial summit on domestic fundraising law
  • More broadly working collaboratively on civil justice measures with international institutions on recommendations for reforms to small claims court processes in Central Asia


Legal Adviser of the Year, Women in Law Awards 2020

Highly Commended Professional of the Year, Asian Business Awards 2018

Best Development in Internal Legal Services Delivery, Charity Commission, UK 2009

3 scholarships and awards, Inner Temple, UK 2003-2010

4 scholarships for academic excellence, University of Cambridge, UK 2002

Education and Training

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution/Oxford Process, UK 2021

International Conflict & Peacemaking Programme

Harvard Business School Online, Leadership Programme 2019

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, UK 2011

Mediation Accreditation

Inns of Court School of Law, UK 2003-2004

Diploma, Bar Vocational Course. Degree Class: Very Competent

University of Cambridge, UK 2000-2003

MA (Law): Tripos: 2:1, 1:1, 2:1

How can we help you?

How can we help you?

Subscribe: I'd like to keep in touch

If your enquiry is urgent please call +44 20 3321 7000

Crisis Hotline

I'm a client

I'm looking for advice

Something else