Not-for-Profit and Charity Law

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The not-for-profit and charity sector is a significant part of Australia’s social and economic landscape. In fact, the sector’s annual turnover represents almost 10% of Australia’s GDP and employs more than 10% of Australians. The sector has seen significant regulatory and legal changes over the past decade, including the introduction of the Charities Act and the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission. Further changes to the regulation of the sector, in respect of governance, fundraising and tax status, are ongoing. Organisations contributing to the sector continue to face unprecedented economic pressures and ongoing intense public scrutiny.

At HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, we work alongside organisations (including not-for-profits, charities and PBIs) at every stage of their lifecycle: from start-up and registration, to ongoing governance and compliance (including risk management and responding to audits and investigations from State and Territory regulators, the ATO and ACNC), as well as restructures and winding up. We also work closely with our clients in this sector to support them with their ongoing operational needs, including by assisting with commercial contracting matters, to navigate the complex range of fundraising laws across Australia, and with respect to their fundraising and sponsorship arrangements (government and private sector). We also assist them to protect bequest income, when Wills are challenged.

Our specialist not-for-profit and charity lawyers have extensive experience. We provide services to organisations involved in education and training, sport and animal racing, youth welfare, religion, supporting people living with disability, Indigenous interests and disadvantage, animal welfare, domestic violence, promotion of culture, and protection of the environment. We also work with social enterprises, philanthropic families (in Australia and overseas), corporate partners, collaborative partners and sponsors.

As a full-service national law firm, we can provide our not-for-profit and charity clients with access to specialist tax, corporate, commercial, fundraising, workplace relations, insurance, intellectual property, media, insolvency, and litigation lawyers.

Our lawyers are renowned for taking the time to understand the goals and values of our not-for-profit and charity clients to ensure we provide them with the support that they need in a manner consistent with their vision and values.


  • Confidential client on the review and audit of constituent documents, mission and activities across the group to ensure such activities were being conducted in a manner consistent with the clients’ mission statement and in accordance with tax and charity law endorsements;
  • Various confidential clients on the review and negotiation of funding agreements with government and private sector entities;
  • Confidential client on insolvency advice during the COVID pandemic;
  • Various confidential clients to draft, review and negotiate commercial contracts including sponsorship agreements, terms & conditions, promotional terms and procurement agreements;
  • Confidential client on the review of operations of a major sporting organisation, to ensure appropriate governance requirements were in place, and tax and other endorsements were not at risk;
  • Confidential client regarding the structuring of commercial operations of a not-for-profit client, to ensure asset protection and separation from tax-exempt activities;
  • Confidential client on the development of philanthropic strategy for a high-net-worth family, including setting up a Private Ancillary Fund and family agreement regarding contributions and operations; and
  • Confidential clients on advising and representing charity and NFP clients in Estates disputes and litigation, including attending mediations and negotiating resolution of disputes, both litigious and non-litigious.

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