Education law barristers for children, parents and institutions

Our education law barristers represent parents, pupils, schools and their governing bodies (maintained and independent sector), academies, universities and FE colleges, NGOs including charities, students, teaching and academic staff and local authorities in all areas of education law.

Our work includes County Court, High Court, and disciplinary/Independent Review Panel proceedings across all areas of school and university life. The team also accepts instructions in appeals to the Upper Tribunal from decisions of the First-tier Tribunal.  Members are frequently instructed in claims for judicial review arising out of the decisions of local authorities and other institutions exercising public functions in the field of education.

The team has a particular expertise in discrimination claims, acting for students, pupils, schools, universities and FE colleges in claims before the County Court, High Court, Employment Tribunal and all specialist regulatory tribunals.  Members frequently advise and represent in school admissions appeals and challenges to school exclusions before independent panels.  We are frequently instructed in judicial review proceedings arising from decisions of local authorities, independent panels and other public bodies exercising public functions in the field of education.

Our barristers are frequently instructed in breach of contract claims concerning universities and independent schools, as well as education negligence claims and other damages claims, frequently in combination with discrimination claims.

Our team has particular expertise in appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (‘SEND Tribunal’) concerning Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and education-related disability discrimination claims at all levels.   Members act for Ofsted and Early Years providers in Tribunal appeals relating to the deregistration/disqualification of childminders and nurseries; we also have expertise in appeals relating to the cancellation of registration of care homes by the CQC.

Our casework covers advisory work and disputes arising from exam results, school complaints procedures, safeguarding/child protection issues, attendance issues, school closures and re-organisations as well as issues of governance and funding.  The Covid-19 pandemic has seen members advise specifically on disability discrimination claims, video hearings in the SENDIST, judicial reviews, the impact on private schools, special education provision, A-Level, GCSE and Btec exam results, redundancy and the furlough scheme alongside flaws in the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill.

As a specialist education law team, members routinely accept direct access instructions from higher education and further education institutions, individuals and schools, academies and colleges/universities.

We are also able to provide mediators and legal assessors to advise and support institutions and independent lay panels dealing with a wide range of educational issues.  Members also accept instructions to conduct investigations into allegations of misconduct between pupils or staff at educational institutions.

Team members are available to work from any of our six offices in London, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Oxford, and Winchester. We offer state-of-the-art technology for remote meetings.

Legal 500 describes 3PB's Education team as home to “genuine specialists in education law,” and a "very strong education set with counsel always available for support, no matter the level of complexity." Chambers & Partners reports that 3PB is "increasingly becoming a powerhouse in education law” with an “impressive offering in the education sector,” and “you can rely on the 3PB clerks to provide a prompt response and help progress a matter forward and throughout the entire case. They are unsung heroes and deserve a lot of credit for the work they do.” The education team are “experienced in the handling of a broad range of matters, including school admissions and exclusions, special educational needs and discrimination claims.” The set exhibits “very strong knowledge and experience in education work.” 3PB's education specialists are well-regarded for their understanding of education matters, with particular experience acting in tribunal claims and judicial reviews related to SEND matters and academic and disciplinary decisions in schools and universities. Chambers and Partners 2024 remarks that "the quality of legal advice, detailed submissions and clear sensitivity towards vulnerable clients have been impressive. 3PB also has strong and calm conduct of contentious cases."

Find back issues of our education law newsletter here.

Practice Management contacts are Tom Cox and Gemma Faulkner.

Charlotte Hadfield 560x670

Head of Team

Charlotte Hadfield

Telephone: 020 7583 8055

AC 291244 Avondo JA 4 BW cropped USE

Practice Manager

Tom Cox

Telephone: 0117 928 1520

IMG 4204 scaled e1696345088498

Practice Manager

Gemma Faulkner

Telephone: 020 7583 8055