Special Counsel

Elizabeth Shalders

Elizabeth is a recognised expert in not-for-profit and charity law and governance. She is respected not only as a master of the technical and complex in this specialist field, but is able to translate that into simple, clear and practical guidance for her clients.

Elizabeth possesses a thorough understanding of the not-for-profit sector and how it operates, having spent more than a decade advising in this field. Elizabeth advises faith-based organisations, independent schools (large and small), public benevolent institutions, overseas aid and advocacy organisations, industry and professional associations, charitable trusts, ancillary funds and other Not-for-profits.


Elizabeth’s expertise includes:

  • Governance duties – including directors’ duties, trustee duties, and industry specific regulatory requirements
  • Governance disputes – including membership disputes, and disputed board appointments
  • Structuring
  • Mergers
  • Not-for-profit tax concessions – including income tax exemption, deductible gift recipient status, and not-for-profit fringe benefits tax concessions, as well as State-based payroll tax, duties, and land tax and rates concessions
  • ACNC registration and compliance – including external conduct standards
  • Regulatory compliance and funding agreement advice
  • Drafting and amending constitutions, rules, policies and trust deeds
  • Bespoke governance training

Recent Projects

  • Successfully moving a federated industry association into a national structure. This required developing a strategy to overcome the impediments that had previously caused the project to stall.  Specifically, sequencing and structuring the transactions to reduce and remove some of the prohibitive transaction costs, retaining the client’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) status, and dealing with opposition from some (minority) stakeholders.
  • Assisted the state-level governing body of a large Victorian charity to put in place new arrangements for the long-term proper use and stewardship of local branch assets. This included providing technical legal and strategic advice, drafting governing documents and engaging with stakeholders at consultation forums.
  • Providing bespoke governance training to the board of an Australian charity that operates as part of an international group focused on overseas aid and development. The training was tailored to address the complexities of their structure – involving both trust and corporate obligations, as well accounting for the cultural nuances within the broader international network, and the multiple layers of regulatory compliance they face (including ACNC external conduct standards).

Professional Memberships/Accreditation & Activities

  • Expert panel member of the major research project being conducted by Professor Dr. Rosemary Teele-Langford of the University of Melbourne Law School and the Australian Research Council “Restoring public trust in charities – reforming governance and enforcement”
  • Committee member, Law Council of Australia Charities & Not-for-profit
  • Committee member, Law Institute of Victoria Charities & Not-for-profit
  • Member, Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand




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