John Friel

Year of Call: 1974
Email Address:
Telephone: 020 7583 8055

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An impressive junior at the cutting edge of legal reform in education. He often advises on matters relating to education and disability, and is highly sought after by educational institutions in both the private and public sectors. He also represents charities and governing bodies. Friel's practice often sees him appearing before the House of Lords, the High Court and the Upper Tribunal.
Strengths: "He can get to grips with a complex case in minutes and then advise comprehensively on strategy."

Chambers UK 2020/Education - Band 3

"His years in practice mean that John can easily get to grips with the complex facts of a special education needs case in minutes and then advise comprehensively on strategy. In the tribunal setting he is a notable adversary who is able to persuade panels to his way of thinking with charisma and expertise."

Chambers UK 2019/Education

Strengths: "One of the lead barristers in SEN in the country. He has been involved in some of the landmark cases of the past 30 years, and is an excellent advocate with a brilliant legal mind. John's involvement in tribunal proceedings usually means that a case does not go all the way to a final hearing."

Chambers UK 2018/Education

Strengths: "He is well organised and extremely good at advancing clients' cases." "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of SEN in particular."'

Chambers UK 2017/Education

'One of the most experienced junior counsel in this field, he is a popular choice for individuals and parents facing educational issues that require close examination of policy, such as SEN assessment challenges.
Strengths: "He performs excellently and knows the law better than many of the judges do nowadays as he has written chunks of it. He is incredibly quick at processing large quantities of information, and is very forensic and thorough in his investigation of the facts."'

Chambers UK 2016/Education

'A superb advocate, who is very approachable and always well prepared'
'He is a specialist in the field and he wins.'

Chambers UK 2015/Education

'Possessed of vast experience and knowledge, he has unique forensic and analytic skills combined with a detailed understanding. You know you're in very safe hands, and he gives you the feeling that you're really supported.'

Chambers UK 2014/Education

'John Friel is armed with 'incredible experience and knowledge,' and has 'detailed understanding of special educational needs cases.' 'A skilled, articulate advocate,' he 'always handles matters expeditiously.'

Chambers UK 2013/Education

'John Friel remains a popular choice amongst claimant solicitors. He is admired for his wealth of experience in the sector, and is recognised as 'a committed advocate who does not take no for an answer.'

Chambers UK 2012/Education

‘He is an expert in SEN and has deep knowledge of procedure.’

Legal 500 2020/Leading Individual - Education

‘Handles a huge range of special educational needs cases.’

Legal 500 2018/19/Leading Individual - Education

‘An utterly brilliant advocate, who goes above and beyond for his clients.’

Legal 500 2017/Leading Individual - Education

'A maverick in the area and definitely a safe pair of hands.'

Legal 500 2016/Leading Individual - Education

'Particularly strong on SEN issues.'

Legal 500 2015/Education

'Noted for his experience acting for independent schools, maintained schools and governing bodies.'

Legal 500 2014/Education

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Direct Access

John Friel is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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