Membership Organisations & Trade Associations
With our multidisciplinary team, we have particular expertise in advising membership organisations, including trade associations. Our solicitors provide trade associations with practical, enterprising and commercial advice across a wide range of legal disciplines based on a detailed understanding of the sector.
Our clients cover a wide spectrum of commercial and non-commercial activity from large businesses and regulatory bodies to not for profit organisations, charities and other social enterprises ranging from national concerns to local, owner-managed businesses.
Many of those clients also take a variety of less well understood legal forms with which we are familiar. These include companies limited by guarantee, unincorporated associations, industrial and provident societies and new community interest companies. Our understanding of the legal structures and the sector's drivers gives us particular expertise in this area.
We also advise industry self-regulatory bodies which have grown out of trade association initiatives, for example covering advertising standards, premium rate telecoms services and coordination of slots by airline at congested airports.
We have experience advising membership organisations whether they be incorporated or unincorporated, large or small. We advise many different types of trade associations, employers associations, trade unions, regulatory and public bodies as well as sports clubs, regulatory and public bodies on a wide variety of matters.
We provide a full range of commercial legal services which may be of interest to trade associations or to their members including:
Structures and Constitutions
We advise trade associations on their structures and constitutions. We can assist with establishment, incorporation and structural change. We also carry out constitutional and governance reviews.
When involved in or overseeing arrangements between business in the same or similar markets, trade associations must be particularly alert to the implications of competition law. Our competition law team provides advice on:
- What collective action by members is possible within the framework of competition law
- Complaints with the OFT or the EU Commission
- Defending trade association subject to an investigation
- Promoting a change to government policy
We also provide training on competition law at trade association meetings and tailored compliance manuals.
Some of the sectors in which trade associations and their members operate are highly regulated. Every trade association and its members requires practical legal advice from lawyers who understand the regulators as well as the regulations. Our specialist regulation team deals with:
- Challenging regulatory action
- Inquiries (regulatory, OFT and independent)
- Public procurement regulations
- Help in making proposals for change to government departments
- Advice on legislative process
- Assisting on the drafting of legislation
Data Protection and Freedom of Information
We provide advice on confidentiality, data protection and freedom of information including dealing with:
- Communications with members and data collection statements
- Data protection policies
- Data protection issues in agreements with suppliers
- Data protection audit
- Freedom of Information
Our corporate and commercial department helps our clients to make the right decisions to ensure that their business work most effectively and succeed. Our areas of expertise include:
- Business start-ups
- Commercial contracts including agency and distribution arrangements
- Public sector procurement and service contracts
- Mergers, acquisitions and sales of
- Joint ventures
The pressures of employment laws in every industry are immense. Our Employment team can guide clients expertly through the complexities of employment law. We offer a telephone to tribunal service for employment litigation. We also specialise in immigration law for businesses wishing to engage foreign workers.
We advise trade associations on a variety of property matters. Our specialist Property team handles all types of property transactions including:
- Property matters on incorporation or merger
- Acquisitions or disposals
- Landlord and tenant issues
- Property management
- Development work
Complaints and Dispute Resolution
We have a full service commercial Dispute resolution team, and aim to manage disputes so as to avoid costly litigation than can divert clients from their objectives. We advise on the range of alternative dispute resolution options but, where litigation is the best course, we manage it to our clients’ advantage.
We have particular experience in dealing with complaints and membership disputes. This includes drafting complaints and disciplinary codes and procedures as well as advising on resolving cases or, where that is not possible, ensuring matters are dealt with fully and fairly to avoid subsequent challenge. We also advise on judicial review and human rights claims.