Robert Pearce QC
| Silk 2006
| Call 1977
Experience and Expertise
Robert Pearce QC is experienced in all areas of charity law. He was Standing Counsel to the Charity Commission from 2001 until taking silk in 2006. He is recommended as a “star individual” in charity law in Chambers UK. He has been instructed in numerous recent leading charity cases. His clients include trustees of charities of all descriptions.
His experience in the charitable aspects of universities, colleges and schools has led to him also being recommended as a leading silk in the field of education in Chambers UK, which describes him as “technically expert, very analytical, precise and detailed”.
He is a frequent speaker on charity law topics.
His reported cases include:
- :Singh v Charity Commission for England and Wales (High Court, December 2016). Permission to discontinue charity proceedings.
- University of London v Prag (High Court,  WTLR 705). Legal effect of documents and events transferring higher educational institution to university. Duties of university responsible for administering group of discrete entities.
- Human Dignity Trust (First-tier Tribunal,  WTLR 789). Whether an institution established to challenge laws in overseas jurisdictions was established for charitable purposes only.
- Marwaha v Singh (Court of Appeal,  PTSR 1166). Charities, costs of litigation.
- Khaira v Shergill (Court of Appeal,  PTSR 1697). Whether a dispute concerning the administration of a charity for the advancement of religion raised justiciable issues.
- Attorney General’s Reference on Benevolent Funds (Upper Tribunal,  WTLR 977). Charitable status of funds for the relief of poverty among beneficiaries linked by factors such as common employment.
- Re Wedgwood Museum Trust Limited (High Court,  WTLR 913). Whether the administrators of an insolvent charitable company could have recourse to museum exhibits vested in the charity to contribute to the deficit in a group pension scheme in which the charity was a participating employer.
- Independent Schools Council v Charity Commission (Upper Tribunal,  Ch 214). Validity of a charitable purpose for the benefit of a class limited by ability to pay fees; duties of trustees of fee-charging charitable schools; judicial review of Charity Commission’s statutory guidance on public benefit.
- Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) v Charity Commission (Upper Tribunal and High Court,  4 All ER 1041). Equality legislation; human rights; ability of charitable adoption agency to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.
- St William’s Group Litigation (High Court, 2009). Class action by former pupils of charitable school; vicarious liability of charitable religious organisations for torts committed by their members.
- Seevaratnam v Charity Commission (Charity Tribunal, 2009). Appeal from an order of the Chrity Commission removing a charity trustee.
- Seray-Wurie v Charity Commission (High Court, 2008). Appeal from an order of the Charity Commission removing a charity trustee.
Varsani v Jesani (High Court and Court of Appeal,  Ch 219). Scope of court’s jurisdiction to make a scheme to divide the assets of a religious charity.
- Manchester City Council v Greater Manchester Metropolitan County Council (High Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords (1979) 78 LGR 71, (1980) 78 LGR 560). Powers of local authority in connection with funding of educational charity.
Recent directory recommendations include:
- “He is incisive and at the forefront of his profession.” (Charities, Chambers UK, 2017)
- “He is absolutely brilliant in court. He is extremely clever and very good at succinctly describing a legal case.” (Charities, Chambers UK, 2017)
- “He thinks outside of the box, and has excellent command of charity and related law.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2016)
- ”’He has a total command of charity law, and is without a doubt a leader in the field.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2015)
- “One of the most highly sought after silks at the Charity Bar. ‘His advice displays a breadth of vision and he has great experience. When he provides you with advice, you know it’s good and will be pithy and to the point.’ ‘He’s an extremely able and powerful opponent.’ “(Charities, Chambers UK, 2015)
- “He is very good technically, and is also very good at explaining things to the client.” (Education, Chambers UK, 2015)
- “Extremely knowledgeable on charity matters, and a pleasure to deal with.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2014}
- “One of the finest barristers practising in the charity sector. He is widely recognised for his fine work on behalf of the Charity Commission, and regularly advises it on complex charity law issues. He receives particular praise from commentators for his client care skills, with many remarking on his ability to set out complex legal points in a straightforward manner. ‘He is very clear and client-focused, and has the ear of the Charity Commission’.”Charities, Chambers UK, 2014)
- “Best known in the market for his advice to educational institutions on charity law. He does, however, have a wider education practice than this and further advises on school and University constitutions, governance, regulation and finance. ‘He’s a man with the law at his fingertips who is hugely knowledgeable and very helpful to the client’.” (Education section, Chambers UK, 2014)
- “Robert Pearce QC has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of the workings of charity legislation and historic case law’, and recently appeared in the high-profile Re Wedgwood Museum Trust litigation.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2013)
- “Robert Pearce QC ‘is just exceptionally good’. Praise for this leading charity law silk comes from all corners of the market, but instructing solicitors are especially impressed that ‘he is not just academically incredibly strong but also has fantastic client skills’.” (Charities, Chambers UK, 2013)
- “Robert Pearce QC has ‘incisive and extensive third-sector knowledge’ and ‘is very gifted at absorbing and applying the law in a constructive and sensitive way’.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2012)
- “Robert Pearce QC is a barrister at the peak of his career at the moment. … Sources praise him for his professionalism and his ‘clear understanding of charity law’.” (Charities, Chambers UK, 2012)
- “Robert Pearce QC’s ‘skills as a draftsman and breadth of knowledge of trust law are outstanding’.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2011)
- “…Robert Pearce QC exudes ‘natural authority’ and earns praise for his ‘measured and methodical approach’.” (Charities, Chambers UK, 2011)
- Robert Pearce QC, previously Standing Counsel to the Charity Commission, ‘commands special authority in court’.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2009)
- “His valuable insight is highly sought after by instructing solicitors who see him as someone finely attuned to their needs.” “Charities, Chambers UK, 2009)
- “Radcliffe Chambers offers the broadest range of charities experience at the Bar, and receives extremely positive feedback for its client service … Robert Pearce QC [is a] silk with notable experience and a loyal following.” (Charities, Legal 500, 2008)
- ” ‘Circumspect and extremely precise’, he is also ‘creative and analytical’ in his approach.” Charities, Chambers UK, 2008)