As a governance and charities specialist, a significant amount of John’s time is spent advising principals and governors on the exercise of conferred powers, in accordance with the duties and responsibilities which their office brings. This involves advising on constitutional, procedural and commercial matters including new institutional formations, collaboration agreements, community use agreements, preparation and interpretation of governing documents and compliance issues. Many of these issues are of strategic importance, such as when John advised a primary school on issues relating to the proposed change of use of their playing fields by a local authority, which led to a judicial review.
This is an area of legal specialism which John feels so strongly about that he uses his spare time to become actively involved with organisations that can benefit from his expertise. As a result he has acted as company secretary for over 30 community sports and education charities, advising on all aspects of corporate governance, regulatory and compliance issues.
The other sector in which John takes a strong personal interest is sport, and at the last count he had visited 61 of the 92 grounds in the football league – although not always to see a game. His favourite ground, other than St. James’ Park, of course, is Fulham’s Craven Cottage, as it has, he says, ‘a lot of character and is pretty unique.’