Chris Priestley


Chris leads the firm’s Charities & Philanthropy team.

He is recognised as a leading expert on governance, projects, safeguarding and fundraising for charities and advises some of the country’s largest and best known charities. This work includes advising on: international fundraising; grant-making and funding; board development; preparing policies & procedures; handling regulatory engagement; structuring collaborations between charities and their commercial partners; negotiating major gifts; mergers; group structures and trading subsidiaries; establishing new charities and delivering training programmes for charity staff and trustees.


The lawyers at Withers are charity law experts, with a good understanding of the practical implications of charity law. Chris Priestley is responsive, pleasant to deal with, and gives top-quality, sensible advice. He can see the bigger picture.

Legal 500, 2021

Chris recently attended our Board meeting and gave a presentation on our legal accountabilities as trustees and responsibilities around governance. He is very clear, pragmatic and practical in his approach and the trustees found the session very informative and helpful.

Maggie Pedder - Chair, Board of Trustees Military Wives Choirs

Chris Priestley is a very wise head. He stands out because of his great experience and pragmatic approach.

Legal 500 UK, 2020

Chris Priestley is unflappable in his provision of considered advice and he has a very steady hand on the tiller.

Chambers and Partners UK, 2021

Chris provides superb advice, always encompassing the bigger picture as well as incorporating the finer details. Priestley has a wealth of experience of advising charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit bodies on all aspects of their operations and regulation.

Legal 500 UK, 2018

Chris Priestley is a standout lawyer. He is an expert in the field and is able to put clients at ease with his warmth and enthusiasm for the law and the sector.

Legal 500, 2021

Chris Priestley has great empathy with clients and relishes solving the problems and challenges faced by the sector.

Legal 500, 2021





Advising Cancer Research UK on international fundraising matters.

Advising Tate Galleries in London on its Consultancy and Exhibition Agreements for the newly developed Museum of Art in Pudong, China.

Advising NHS Charities Together on its collaboration with Marks & Spencer.

England and Wales, 1996

Scotland, 1994

The ICSA Charity Trustees’ Guide

Chapters in the ICSA Charities Handbook

The fundraising chapter of Tolley’s Charities Manual

Charity Law Association



  • English





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