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Nicola Morriss

Managing Associate

Personal Profile

Nicola is a Managing Associate in our Charities and Social Ventures team within the Innovation department. She advises on all aspects of charity law, with a particular specialty in advising Royal Charter charities, learned societies and membership charities on complex regulatory and governance matters, with a focus on science, education and healthcare charities.

Nicola has extensive experience advising charities on legal forms, establishing and registering charities with the Charity Commission, governance reviews, issues with restricted funds, property matters, engagement with the Charity Commission, legacy disputes, trustee duties and decision-making, regulatory matters such as serious incident reports, and Equality Act matters.  She has valuable in-house experience working within the charity sector and for a large membership organisation in the medical sector.

Nicola has a strong interest in EDI, in particular supporting and mentoring women lawyers and supporting parents and carers. She is a qualified life coach and parenting facilitator.

Nicola is a member of the Charity Law Association and was a member of the CLA's Working Group on the Charity Commission's social media guidance.

Nicola is a charity trustee of the charity Connected Lives and a facilitator of Circle of Security Parenting courses. Previously, she was a Governor of White Bridge Primary School for 10 years and a member of the PCC of All Saints' Church, Woodford Wells. Nicola is a member of the Charity Law Association.

Key Experience

  • Advising the UK's largest charity (by assets) and one of the world's largest funders of scientific research in relation to trustee duties, property matters, grant-funding, restricted funds, Equality Act and risk management issues. Providing an in-depth, bespoke training programme on charity law to the in-house legal teams.   
  • Supporting a medical Royal College through an extensive governance review resulting in substantial amendments to the College's Charter and Ordinances. This involved supporting a membership consultation process, drafting the new governing documents, liaising with the Privy Council Office and advising the trustees throughout the process.
  • Advising a scientific royal society on substantial restructuring project of over 30 restricted funds (some over 100 years old).  This involved extensive engagement with the Charity Commission, the establishment of a new Special Trust and complex advice on the various technicalities of releasing restrictions and transferring the funds. The consolidated fund of more than £6M enabled the society to adopt a more flexible and equitable approach to recognition.
  • Advising the Royal Entomological Society on its governance review and the amendments of its Ordinances. Mishcon also sponsored the RES' garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 (see here).
  • Advising a medical Royal College in relation to the restructuring of restricted funds, and reviewing and updating the College's examination processes.
  • Advising a charitable foundation associated with a medical royal college in various strategic areas, including restricted funds, the impact of the Equalities Act on the foundation's grant-making ambitions, the implications of a governance review, commercial contracts and policies.
  • Advising one of the UK's oldest University's on the UK's largest repatriation of Benin Bronzes and on complex charity law governance and regulatory matters.
  • Advising various UK Universities on restructuring their restricted funds (particularly endowments), including advising the trustees and sub-committees and liaising with the Charity Commission.
  • Providing charity law support and advice to a large membership charity on a £50M property development transaction and advising the charity more generally in relation to trustee duties, governance matters, strategic ambitions and consequent amendments to the charity's governing documents.
  • Advising a youth charity on its new youth engagement and citizenship programme including advising on risk management, drafting grant agreements, and providing charity law training to the grant beneficiaries.

Career History

Senior Associate, Taylor Vinters LLP
Charity Solicitor, Edward Connor Solicitors
Project Manager, Contact the Elderly
Project Manager, Nationwide Christian Trust
Consultant Trainer and Coach
Diploma in Life Coaching
Legal Advisor, General Medical Council
University of Bristol, Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice
Intellectual Property Law Solicitor, Bird & Bird
Trainee Solicitor, Simmons & Simmons 
The College of Law, CPE and LPC 
University of Bristol, BSc (Hons) Biology

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