Darren is the lead partner in Gilbert + Tobin's Charities + Social Sector group.
Darren specialises in the provision of legal assistance to charities, not-for-profits and social impact organisations, including large and small charities, overseas aid agencies, community organisations, environmental and cultural organisations, corporate foundations, religious organisations and congregations, industry associations and private families and individuals.
Darren’s expertise in laws and circumstances unique to charities, not-for-profits and social impact organisations and his generalist corporate and commercial law experience enables him to provide innovative, holistic, strategic and targeted legal advice and practical guidance.
Darren was the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Commission Law Award in recognition of his long term commitment to assisting not-for-profit and charitable organisations. Darren is the author of two chapters in the Thomson Reuters NFP Best Practice Manual and the chapters on not-for-profit organisations and NSW incorporated associations in the NSW Lawyers Practice Manual.
He is a volunteer director of Vision Australia and has also attended meetings at the United Nations in New York, helping in the development of the international convention on the rights of persons with disability.
Darren’s experience includes:
- Structuring and establishment: establishing new organisations and trusts, including advising on the most appropriate structure type, such as company limited by guarantee, incorporated association, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, cooperative or trust.
- Registering and working with regulators: registering organisations and working with regulators such as the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and state-based departments of fair trading (or equivalent).
- Corporate governance and constitutions: assisting organisations and their officers with internal governance frameworks, helping ensure tax concessions at both the federal and state level (including they keep pace with changes in the law and best practice, writing, reviewing and updating constitutions and other governance documents, providing advice regarding running and calling director and member meetings, directors’ duties, voting procedures and protocols and reporting and providing corporate governance reviews and board charter solutions).
- Mergers and acquisitions: advising on mergers and acquisitions, including group restructures and consolidations, sale and acquisition strategies, asset and business sales, purchases and transfers, share sales and member transfers and vendor and purchaser due diligence (including the establishment and operation of data rooms).
- Accessing and complying with tax concessions: obtaining and complying with the requirements for deductible gift recipient (DGR) endorsement and access to other income tax exemption, fringe benefits tax concessions, capital gains, land tax and payroll tax relief, providing analysis of charity tax concessions, DGR and other tax issues from the initial review and application process, through to audits and ongoing compliance.
- Fundraising, promotions, gaming, gifts and events: advising on charitable fundraising laws, licensing and regulation and the running of charitable fundraising activities and events (including liaising with relevant state regulators and the engagement of commercial fundraisers), advising on requirements regarding receipt of deductible gifts, contributions and other donations (including tax considerations) and advising on lotteries, art unions, raffles and related matters.
- Working with others: advising on, negotiating, drafting and reviewing agreements such as joint venture and consortium agreements, memoranda of understanding and partner agreements (including devising ownership, reporting, management and operational structures).
- Internal reviews, investigations and dispute resolution: conducting internal reviews and investigations, including advising on whistle-blower and related legislation, advising on how to manage legal disputes, providing representation from informal resolution and settlements to tribunal and court proceedings and preparation of all related documents.
- Compliance in conducting overseas programs: ensuring organisational processes and practices align with, and mitigate risks associated with, Australian counter-terrorism financing, sanctions, anti-corruption, anti-bribery laws, ACNC External Conduct Standards and related obligations.
- Commercial agreements: negotiating, drafting and reviewing those agreements that sit behind an organisation’s activities such as supply agreements and funding agreements (including tenders and government grant / funding agreements).
- Schools: advising on the establishment, operation and consolidation of building funds, library funds, scholarship funds, necessitous circumstances funds and general advancement / endowment funds, and advising on the interrelationship between such entities within the broader context of school philanthropy and advising on proper use and application of school funds in compliance with legislative requirements.
- Social enterprises: advising on establishing, funding and running social enterprises.
- Wills and estates: advising on family provisions and similar laws and providing assessments of merits and prospects, advising on dispute resolution strategy and tactics, including attending mediations, reviewing, negotiation and amending deeds of settlement, providing general advice and guidance on wills and estates matters.
Awards and Recognition
Darren is ranked band 1 for Charities.
Darren is named ‘Partner of the Year’ for Non-Profit/Charities Law.
Darren was a Finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards for Corporate.
Darren was named on the Lawyer Hot List.
Darren was the recipient of the Human Rights Commission Law Award in recognition of his long-term commitment to assisting not-for-profit and charitable organisations.