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Constitutional & Regulatory Advice

Constitutional and Regulatory Compliance Advice for Higher Education Institutions

Higher education institutions (HEIs) are often constitutionally complex organisations, subject to public and charity law and, in some cases, company law. Good governance requires clear and workable governance structures and an understanding of the different legal and regulatory regimes that apply. Fundamentally, our aim is to support our clients in all aspects of their governance.

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Legal Advice on Constitutional and Regulatory Issues

Our team advises HEIs inside and outside the UK on the full range of constitutional and regulatory issues that affect them, with particular expertise in relation to the regulatory role of HEFCE and the Charity Commission. Our clients include institutions constituted by Royal Charter, as companies and by statute.

The team is led by partner Con Alexander who is recognised as a leading adviser to over 850 universities, colleges, other educational institutions and charities (particularly those operating in the fields of education). He is supported by a team of specialist lawyers based in offices in London, Watford, Bristol and Birmingham.

Our Constitutional and Regulatory Legal Services

We advise higher education institutions on the full range of issues that affect them, including:

  • All aspects of charity law, particularly as is applies to HE institutions and other exempt charities
  • All aspects of company law, including the Companies Act 2006
  • Governance structures, including delegation
  • The rights and duties of Council and board members
  • Constitutional change, including amendments to Charters, Statutes, Ordinances and articles of association
  • Royal Charters, including liaison with the Privy Council
  • Obtaining Charity Commission Schemes and Orders as part of their supporting role in relation to HE institutions and other exempt charities
  • Joint ventures, collaborations and mergers
  • Trading issues, including the agreed HMRC guidelines on the corporation tax treatment of Universities
  • Research by Universities, including the Charity Commission's guidance on charitable research
  • Pastoral care, particularly in relation to children and vulnerable adults
  • Serious incident reporting
  • Investment and borrowing
  • Endowment, including the use of total return orders and the statutory powers introduced by the Charities Act 2006
  • Fundraising, including alumni programmes and fundraising foundations
  • Freedom of information
  • Data protection
  • Academic freedom
  • Dealing with regulation, including HEFCE, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and the Quality Assurance Agency

For specialist legal advice on constitutional & regulatory issues affecting the higher education sector, please contact Con Alexander on 0117 314 5214.

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VWV have a well-deserved strong reputation within HE sector. They are subject matter experts on equality and diversity and are quick to update on latest reviews and case law. But their real strength is their ability to correlate likely implications and actions needed by HEIs by their developed understanding and knowledge of Higher Education institutions.

  • Jacqui Marshall - Deputy Registrar and Director of HR
  • University of Exeter

Meet the Team

Our Education team is ranked in the top tier of Chambers & Partners UK wide category and Legal 500.

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Bettina Rigg - Partner at VWV
Jane Byford - Partner at VWV

Employment Law

Higher Education

Further Education

Michelle Bendall - Property Litigation Partner at VWV

Property Litigation

Landlord & Tenant Matters

Public Sector


News & Events

Highest Number of Partners Promoted at VWV
2019 is starting on a high for six of our lawyers, who have been promoted to Partners.
4 Jan 2019