Serjeants’ Inn has considerable experience in education cases, covering school organisation, human rights, discrimination, admissions, exclusions and transport and on policy and regulatory questions.
We have appeared in a number of Upper Tribunal Appeals concerning discrimination and special needs cases under the 1996 and 2014 Acts and of transition between those Acts. Many of the cases we act on concern complex needs, residential provision and the inter-relationship of education, social care, medical and psychiatric needs. We have experience of EHC plans and the role of CCGs and care provision in education cases. We are also regularly involved in Equality Act claims involving all protected characteristics including disability, religion and age throughout the education system.
We have experience of dealing with the majority of the numerous regulators, quality assurance bodies and ombudsmen with jurisdiction in the education sector. Our work, advisory and in Court, has involved five of them. This includes questions of jurisdiction, procedure and decision making.
Members of the team are increasingly involved in advising on the relationship of schools, academies, the Secretary of State and national agencies. This includes the operation of academies, Funding Agreements, co-operation and dispute resolution and questions of financial liability.
We advise independent schools and parents on regulatory compliance, policies, admission and expulsion and on the requirements of the Equality Act in independent schools.
Notable cases include:
- R (ota N) v Governing Body of A School, a judicial review in relation to admission of a pupil to a school;
- R (Gopikrishna) v Office of Independent Ajudicator, a long running judicial review of the higher education ombudsman considering the proper approach to errors by university panels;
- TB v Essex County Council, the Upper Tribunal considered the meaning of the word “school” in the Education Acts;
- R (ota Mustafa) v Office of Independent Adjudicator, judicial review of the OIA considering the meaning of the term “academic judgment” and the limits of the jurisdiction of the OIA;
- LS v Oxfordshire, relevance of academy conversion to issuing a statement of SEN;
- ML v Kent: The extent of the duty of exam boards and schools under Equality Act 2010 to make adjustments to public examinations; and
- The Independent Schools Council v. Charity Commission, meaning of the phrase “public benefit” and steps that independent schools need to take to qualify as charities.
24 Hour Urgent Advice
Our Education team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including injunctions. For more details about our emergency service please click here.