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Legal advice for students' unions from Wrigleys Solicitors

Students' unions face a unique set of legal challenges, operating within the framework of both charity law and the Education Act 1994. At Wrigleys, we specialise in legal advice for students' unions, drawing on our in-depth knowledge of the law to support your SU through whatever challenges it faces. 

We are one of the few law firms in the UK with dedicated lawyers exclusively serving charities and social economy organisations. With extensive experience advisingstudents' unions across England and Wales, our team 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 first-hand perspective allows us to deeply understand the specific legal issues facing trustees and staff, ensuring we deliver practical and targeted guidance. 

How can we advise your students' union?

Wrigleys support over 60 students' unions with their legal needs, offering comprehensive advice on a wide range of topics.

Incorporations and governance:  

We guide you through the process of becoming a legal entity, including navigating SUSS regulations. We can also assist with governance reviews, drafting robust constitutions, bye-laws, and policies. This will allow you to operate your students’ union with increased transparency, accountability, and protection for your union's assets. 

Ultra vires and trustee duties:  

We ensure your actions stay within legal boundaries and your trustees fulfil their duties responsibly. This will ensure you avoid costly legal pitfalls and maintain public trust in your union's leadership. If would like to find out more about ultra vires rules for students’ unions, read our article. 

Trading subsidiaries and commercial services 

We advise on students’ union commercial services and trading subsidiaries, ensuring compliance with the law.  We can also advise on your commercial contracts.  For more information about trading subsidiaries and students’ unions, please read our article.  

Student activities, political activity and campaigning  

We clarify the legal status of clubs and societies, offer guidance on campaigning and political activity and support student’s unions through student complaint processes.  

Freedom of speech

We can help SUs get to grips with the new freedom of speech duty and code of practice, helping to strike a balance with other duties and obligations, such as those imposed by the Equality Act 2010. 

Data Protection  

We help you navigate GDPR and data sharing agreements, protecting your data and safeguarding student interests.  

Employment law advice for students’ unions 

Wrigleys dedicated team of employment law solicitors can advise on a range of employment and HR issues your students’ union may encounter. Some of the most recent examples of advice we have provided include:  

Disciplinary issues and sabbatical officers:  

We navigate sensitive employee issues, including sabbatical officer matters, with fairness and expertise.  

Sexual harassment and assault:  

We provide effective legal support in handling these complex situations, promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all union members and staff. 

Employment contracts and HR support:  

We draft compliant contracts, offer a fixed price Wrigleys HR Response package, and provide reliable employment advice. This will allow your students’ union to attract and retain top talent, ensuring smooth employment relationships with your staff team. 

Pensions law advice for students’ unions

Pensions management: 

Our dedicated team of Pensions specialistsadvise on minimising pension liabilities during incorporations, mergers and managing schemes like SUSS. Wrigleys also advise on managing liabilities in the Students’ Union Superannuation Scheme and provide advice in respect of public service pension schemes (e.g. the Local Government Pension Scheme).  

Pensions are often one of the largest liabilities students’ unions carry.  Find out more about pensions considerations for students’ unions in our article. 

Seeking expert students' union legal advice?  

If you would like more information about the services we provide or would like to speak to us about a specific matter please contact us via our online enquiry form. You can also subscribe to ourdedicated termly students’ union newsletter for the latest news and information from our team.   

Some recent articles you may find interesting:  

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

Unincorporated students’ unions: who can sign documents? Unincorporated students’ unions: who can sign documents?

Our annual students’ union webinar series delivered by charity law experts is now in its fourth year. Please follow the links below to view our past webinars on-demand.  

 

'Alacoque always gives thorough and timely advice, specific to academies legislation. Her advice is always professional, calm and measured.'

Chambers and Partners (2024)
Nat Johnson View Biography

Nat Johnson

Direct Line: 0113 204 5744

Partner
Leeds

Laura Moss View Biography

Laura Moss

Direct Line: 0113 204 1145

Partner
Leeds

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