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Practice Areas

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Leeds: 0113 244 6100

Sheffield: 0114 267 5588


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Wrigleys advise on issues that matter to your students' union

Students' unions face a variety of unique legal challenges, operating within the constraints of both charity law and the Education Act 1994.

Our specialist knowledge of the law applying to students' unions

Wrigleys are one of the few law firms in the country with dedicated lawyers working exclusively for charity and social economy clients.  We act for students' unions all over England and Wales and our team of solicitors includes a former sabbatical officer of the University of Bristol Union and a previous member of the Appointments and Governance Committee at Leeds University Union.  This means we have first-hand experience of the students' union sector and the key legal issues that trustees and staff face. 

How can we help your students’ union?

We support over 50 students’ unions with their legal needs, advising on everything from governance and employment law to property, data protection and commercial arrangements.  

Our experience and the areas of work where we can help students' unions include the following:

Incorporations and governance

  • Converting unincorporated students' unions to incorporated legal entities (including advice on SUSS).
  • Review of constitutions, bye-laws and policies.
  • Ultra vires issues.
  • Trustee duties and conflicts of interest.
  • Union elections.
  • Trading and use of trading subsidiaries.
  • Incorporating students' unions as separate charities, independent of the parent university.
  • Mergers of students' unions.
  • Trustee training.

Employment law issues

  • Disciplinary issues regarding all employees, including sabbatical officers.
  • Dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
  • Settlement agreements.
  • Drafting employment contracts including fixed term sabbatical agreements.
  • Fixed price employment support and helpline through our HR Response package.

Pensions law issues

  • Managing triggering pensions liabilities on incorporations and mergers.
  • Managing liabilities in the Students’ Union Superannuation Scheme.
  • Advice in respect of public service pension schemes (e.g. local government pension scheme).
  • Auto-enrolment (and re-enrolment) queries.
  • Providing advice in respect of other pensions issues (e.g. ill health retirement etc.).

Student activities

  • Status of clubs and societies within a students' union.
  • Reviewing model constitutions for clubs and societies.
  • Political campaigning and lobbying.
  • Complaints made by student members against their university or students' union.
  • Assisting with representations to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Other specialisms

  • Data protection and implications of GDPR.
  • Data sharing agreements between universities and students' unions.
  • Students' rights as consumers, including in relation to university staff strike action.
  • Commercial contracts.
  • Pensions issues, including SUSS.

For further information, please feel free to contact us or subscribe to our dedicated termly students’ union newsletter for the latest news and information.  

Some recent articles you may find interesting: 

Why should a students’ union incorporate? Unincorporated students’ unions: who can sign documents?

Knowing your DSARs from your elbow: Data Subject Access Requests Pensions considerations for Students’ Unions


‘Nat Johnson is an exceptional charity law partner. Those qualities of thoroughness and upholding the client’s interests are exemplified in her work. I had occasion to engage Nat on a piece of particularly complicated legal work. This involved unravelling a complicated legal history with different trusts having been intertwined with each other. She understood the high priority nature of the work and pulled out all the stops to unravel the problem, understand it and find the appropriate solution. She is a first-class lawyer in whom I repose considerable confidence.’

Legal 500 (2022)

Laura Moss View Biography

Laura Moss

Direct Line: 0113 204 1145


Nat Johnson View Biography

Nat Johnson

Direct Line: 0113 204 5744


Meet the team

14 Jun 2022

Senior pensions lawyer, Helen Woodford, joins Wrigleys

Helen Woodford has joined the Pensions team on a permanent basis, following her recent involvement with the firm in a consultancy role.

08 Jun 2022

Private client consultant solicitor, Antonia Moore, joins Wrigleys’ Leeds office

We are delighted to welcome Antonia Moore to our Leeds office.

07 Jun 2022

Holly Marshall qualifies

Holly Marshall has been offered a permanent role with Wrigleys Solicitors following her successful training contract.