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Corporate legal services in higher education

higher education

The myriad of challenges facing the UK’s higher education sector means universities have had to increasingly adopt a corporate mindset.

Whether your university is looking at a potential collaboration, seeking new investors or looking to diversify income streams; our national corporate team can provide you with practical, commercial solutions that meet your needs.

What we advise on

  • Mergers, collaborations, joint ventures, partnerships and exit strategies with the private sector and other educational institutions.
  • Business formations, including establishing new schools or campuses and incorporating subsidiaries.
  • University spinouts and investments, university business incubators and accelerator or start-up programmes.
  • Banking, finance and funding.
  • Restructurings and insolvencies.
  • Full spectrum of taxation issues likely to affect higher education institutions (HEIs) including relationships with wholly-owned trading subsidiaries, including intra-group arrangements, loss making operations and tax issues.
  • Corporate governance and risk management.
  • Company secretarial services.
  • Bespoke seminars, board development and directors’ duties training.

In connection with our Grow programme, designed for high growth early stage companies, we have advised universities and a number of university spinouts (in which universities hold shares) on their fundraising activities and the protecting of their intellectual property.

As a founding member of Pangea Net, an international network of independent law firms, we are also able to combine our extensive corporate expertise with international reach to support you in cross-border matters from agreeing joint ventures with local partners to establishing international campuses.

Why choose Browne Jacobson higher education lawyers?

We have extensive experience advising HEIs and university spinouts to take advantage of developments and opportunities. For more information, please contact Mike Jackson.

Recent experience

  • Advised Loughborough University on the incorporation of its main trading subsidiary, which manages the University's intellectual property portfolio and implements its wide-reaching technology transfer initiatives. This advice spanned IP, charity law, governance, state aid, tax and corporate law.

  • We have also advised Loughborough University in relation to various spinouts with academics/students including investment structures, implementing the investment, drafting of constitutional documents, shareholders’ and investment agreements and other legal documents. We have also advised them on follow up rounds of investment and realisation on exit.

  • We advised Coventry University on their subsidiary policy assisting them in understanding the best structure for their specific needs.

  • We advised on the setting up and development of Nottingham’s BioCity, creating one of the most successful spinout operations in the UK.

  • We advised King’s College London on a spin out into a newly incorporated charity including advising on the most appropriate corporate entity and transfer of assets.

What the directories say...



Well-regarded firm with traditional strengths in M&A and private equity, and healthy specialisms in public company and investment funds work. Respected for its ability to lead transactions with a cross-border element. The team has further capabilities in business restructurings and disposals.

Chambers 2020


Clients say: "They are a very commercial team that are always available and working hard."

One impressed source reveals: "They are a positive influence on proceedings and I would recommend them to others looking for potential advice."

A client comments: "Everyone is professional, helpful and organised. I have full confidence in them."

Chambers 2020


Browne Jacobson LLP is widely recognised as a market-leading powerhouse for corporate and commercial work, a reputation reflected by its outstanding track record of advising on high-profile matters.

Legal 500 2020


Browne Jacobson has some of the most standout practitioners in the market.

Legal 500 2020

Focus on...

Legal updates

be connected newsletter for higher education - July 2021

In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

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Legal updates

Lifting of restrictions - what this means for employers in the higher education sector

19 July 2021 marked the lifting of many restrictions within England including the cessation of the need for social distancing, the removal of the legal requirement for face masks, and the end of required homeworking. We look at the guidance on the lifting of restrictions in the context of staff working in the higher education sector.

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Legal updates

Steps to take following a data breach: reporting, criminal charges and injunctions

Student and staff files will be full of personal data, much of which may be particularly sensitive such as health information (known under the data protection legislation as “special category” data).

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Legal updates

Long Covid

As HR teams in the Higher Education sector plan for the staffing implications of the return of students to university, they are also having to deal with the relatively new condition known as long Covid.

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