Matthew Wyard has practised in the field of education law for 8 years and is happy to represent any party in educational disputes. He is currently writing for the forthcoming, inaugural edition of the new Education Law Handbook and, has previously been published in The Times Higher Education, the Education Law Monitor and the Solicitors Journal.
A busy education law barrister, examples of Matthew’s caseload in education is set out below:
Special Educational Needs
Matthew is one of only a handful of barristers who has an understanding of, and experience in, both the English and Welsh special educational needs systems. He has appeared in over 80 appeals/claims representing all parties in all types of appeal before SENDIST and SENTW. Additionally, Matthew has appeared in the Upper Tribunal and is currently instructed as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal for the Respondents in Nottinghamshire County Council v SF & GD concerning the interpretation of “necessary” under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
He is an expert on the new special education needs system planned in Wales for 2020 and is undertaking training for Schools on the changes and demands of the new law.
Having worked in house he also has experience attending annual reviews, dispute resolution meetings and mediations.
Judicial review challenges to legality of decisions made by Admissions Authorities, Independent Review Panels (England) and Independent Appeal Panels (Wales) are Matthew’s main area of focus in admissions and exclusion matters. That being said, Matthew is more than happy to assist at all stages of the admissions and exclusions processes.
Having spent his first few years working in-house in the public law and commercial litigation departments of a national public law firm, Matthew is well placed to advise from the outset on all forms of civil litigation in the education sector. He has a particular interest in claims brought by students against higher education institutions and has been involved in a variety of such claims to date including:
- Re: GY – claim for breach of contract and/or negligence against the country’s leading higher education institution for a failure to remove the student from a PhD course when it became clear she could not succeed.
- Re: MK – claim for negligence against a medical school for how it conducted a fitness to practise process, resulting in a six figure settlement for lost earnings.
- Re: AS – claim for breach of contract against a London college for failing to appropriately deal with bullying.
- Re: B – defending a claim for fees in lieu of notice brought by a prestigious independent school.
- Re: JH – defending a claim for unpaid university fees.
- Re: CN – claim against an independent school for breach of contract and breach of the Equality Act 2010 in how it handled the exclusion of a child resulting in a five figure settlement.
Matthew is happy to be instructed as early as possible in all civil matters in order to assist manage expectations and develop the initial case strategy.
Education judicial review challenges
Matthew has depth of experience in education public law challenges. These have included :
- DJ v The Welsh Ministers & Ors  EWHC 2735 (Admin) – a challenge to the Welsh Ministers Guidance on post 16 education
- Thilakawardhana v OIA  EWCA Civ 13 – application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the substantive appeal
- Zahid v University of Manchester  EWHC 188 (Admin) – leading authority on the relationship between the courts and the OIA
- DS v Wolverhampton City Council  EWHC 1660 (Admin) – considering the application of s19 Education Act 1996
- AC v OIA (unreported) – considering the legality of the OIA’s rules
For more information please see his public law expertise section of his CV.
Matthew has experience advising schools and higher education institutions on a wide range of governance and employment issues including information law obligations. Additionally, he has drafted and advised upon various policies, procedures and contractual documentation (see Matthew’s public & regulatory CV).
- 2014: Called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2012 – 2013: Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City Law School
- 2008 – 2012: LL.B (Hons)(SW) Law, University of Surrey
- Erasmus Scholarship
- Blackstone Chambers BPTC Mooting Competition, Semi finalist, 2013
Professional qualifications & appointments
- Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School, 2012 – 2013
- Lincoln's Inn, Member