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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?


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

Chamber and Parnters (2024)
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

27 Nov 2023

Disabled Persons Trusts: A Guide for Parents, Carers, and Advisers

A guide to the advantages of Disabled Persons Trusts for Parents, Carers and Advisors including tax efficiency and protection of means-tested benefits

22 Nov 2023

An analysis of the case of Butler and the availability of Business property Relief in relation to a wedding events business

The recent case of Butler considers services provided by the wedding events business and whether or not these qualified for business property relief.