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Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole


Stephen is a Senior Associate in the Education & Charities team and leads on the firm’s advice in relation to state aid.


After more than 23 years in Hewitsons’ Disputes & Litigation team dealing with commercial, regulatory and educational disputes, Stephen focuses on advising charities, schools, academies, colleges and other education clients in relation to their constitutional, governance, operational and commercial needs. This encompasses assistance in relation to charity mergers, academy conversions, school transfers, funding agreements, constitutional documents, policies, safeguarding, student proceedings, equality, parental complaints, commercial agreements, charity law issues and regulatory requirements.

With his contentious background, Stephen is well placed to advise charities and trustees who are faced with disputes whether within the charity or with other parties. He is experienced in dealing with proceedings in the Charity Tribunal.

Stephen’s regulatory practice includes advising on compliance with European state aid rules across a wide range of sectors in connection with assistance given to undertakings from public funds (such as grants, subsidies and tax concessions). He guides clients through the assessment of whether proposed assistance constitutes state aid, on availability of block exemptions, and on the means of obtaining approval for the aid or on structuring of projects so that any assistance does not constitute state aid.


Stephen read Law with French at the University of Leicester including a year studying French law at the Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg. He holds a Master of Jurisprudence research degree from the University of Durham relating to the application of international economic sanctions. Stephen undertook his training with Clifford Chance in London and Brussels, and qualified into that firm's banking litigation group before joining Hewitsons.

Additional information

Member of the Charity Law Association, Education Law Association and UK State Aid Law Association

Former Governor of a community special school.

Date of Qualification

1st November, 1995