Professional and self-regulatory bodies, trade associations and membership organisations may number a diverse range of organisations, but they share a unique set of values and needs. Balancing a dedication to the public interest with your responsibilities to your members, your organisation needs advisors with a specialised understanding of your world.

We don’t just offer excellent technical legal advice - we bring a depth of understanding of the issues that springs from years of experience in advising organisations like yours. We’ve worked through the challenges you’re facing in the current climate. We know that you need practical solutions and enterprising, commercial advice.

We have a detailed understanding of the legal structures and unique governance requirements of institutes, Royal Charter and Royal College bodies, trade and membership organisations. We regularly advise companies limited by guarantee, unincorporated associations, co-operative and community benefit societies and community interest companies.

As one of the leading legal advisors to not-for-profits and public authorities in the UK, we also bring insight and expertise to working with charities, trade associations, social enterprises and public bodies. As well as advice we deliver high quality training to clients on key legal topics which we can tailor to clients’ individual needs.

How we help

We provide a full range of commercial legal services which may be of interest to trade associations or to their members including:

Constitutional and governance

We can assist with establishment, incorporation and structural change. We also carry out constitutional and governance reviews.

Professional Discipline

Bates Wells is a leading provider of legal advice to professional representative and regulatory bodies. We are experienced in all matters relating to professional discipline and fitness to practice. This service ranges from early investigations to full hearings and all points on the compass arising from this, in terms of policy and framework advice. Our team includes draftspersons, advocates and leading individuals in the field of professional discipline.

Competition Law

If you’re involved in or overseeing arrangements between business in the same or similar markets, you’ll need to be particularly alert to the implications of competition law. We can guide you through the complexities.


Some of our clients and their members operate in highly regulated sectors. We provide practical legal advice from lawyers who understand the regulators as well as the regulations. Click here to learn more about our Professional Regulation service.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

We provide advice on confidentiality, data protection and freedom of information, from drafting data protection policies to advising on audits and data breaches.

Business Advice

Our corporate and commercial experts help our clients to make the right decisions to ensure that their businesses work most effectively and succeed.


Our Employment team offers a telephone to tribunal service for employment litigation. We also specialise in immigration law for businesses wishing to engage foreign workers.

Real Estate

Our Real Estate team handles all types of real estate transactions, with a specialised expertise in working with charities.

Complaints and Dispute Resolution

We 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, membership and trustee/board level disputes. We also advise on judicial review and human rights claims.

Contact the Trade, Professional and Membership Organisations team >

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