Erika Clarke


Legal Director

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A real team of hardworking intelligent, thoughtful and considerate lawyers. There is strength in depth and continuity which says a great deal of their loyalty to their employer and to their clients.

Legal 500 [UK 2021]

Experience

Erika is a Legal Director in our Charities Team. She joined Birketts in 2008 and is based in our Norwich office. 

Erika advises a wide range of charity clients including animal welfare charities, healthcare and other charities carrying out services in the community, scientific research charities, education sector charities (including a number of independent schools), faith charities, arts and heritage charities, charities operating in the social housing sector and charities that are wholly grant-making. 

Her work includes:

  • Charity formations (including as companies limited by guarantee, CIOs and community benefit societies).
  • Charity governance reviews, including advice on the scope of charitable purposes, trustees’ powers and delegation of powers, and reviews of policy documents
  • Advice on the duties of charity trustees and how to manage charity trustees’ conflicts of interest.
  • Advice on connected person issues (including applying for Orders from the Charity Commission).
  • Amending charity governing documents (including advising on regulated alterations and applying to the Charity Commission for necessary consents).
  • Advice on managing charity meetings (governing bodies, sub-committees and general meetings of any wider membership).
  • Charity reorganisations, incorporations and mergers.
  • Conducting and managing consultations with stakeholders (in particular in the context of charity mergers).
  • Setting up and managing trading subsidiaries (including advice on the circumstances in which a trading subsidiary is required).
  • Advising on charities’ permanent endowment.
  • Charity collaborations and joint ventures.
  • Advice on the terms of grant funding agreements.
  • Advising on the submission of serious incident reports.

Originally a commercial lawyer by background, Erika also has significant experience in public procurement law and advises charities in their bidding for contracts from public sector commissioners, including on the terms of consortium or bid agreements where a charity is part of a bidding consortium and the particular issues that this can present for charities. She also advises charities seeking to challenge the conduct or outcome of a public procurement process, including advice on the limited timescales for action, the best strategy to adopt and use of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

Erika’s work involves engagement with various regulators, including the Charity Commission, the Independent Education and Boarding Schools Team at the DfE (Department for Education) in connection with mergers of independent schools and with the Financial Conduct Authority in connection with community benefit societies.

Erika has spoken at seminars hosted by Birketts and accountants advising in the charities sector respectively on the topics of charity collaborations and mergers and on charity governance, and contributes to our Charities Team’s regular newsletter for charity trustees and senior managers in the charity sector ‘Essential Trustee’.

Other Information

Erika is recommended and named as a 'Rising Star' by Legal 500 [UK 2021] for her work in the charities sector. In previous editions she is praised for her "in-depth knowledge of the charity sector and a sensible approach". She is a member of the Charity Law Association.

Erika is a keen gardener, is secretary to a Parochial Church Council and is a member of the Suffolk Guild of Ringers.

Legal 500 UK 2021 Rising Star