Education Law

Education Law

The Education team at Matrix has significant and long-standing expertise in Education Law. Matrix barristers regularly advise and represent a wide range of clients across the full spectrum of education law matters. Matrix’s expertise in Education Law is complemented by and often overlaps with other related Matrix specialisms, such as Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Discrimination and Equality law, and Employment law.

Members are experienced in acting for:

  • Individual students, parents and carers
  • Schools, universities and other education, further and higher education institutions
  • Local Authorities
  • The Department of Education
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • The Office of the Independent Adjudicator and other statutory bodies.

Matrix lawyers regularly act in matters concerning:

  • Appeals to the SEND Tribunal relating to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans);
  • Judicial review challenges about the delivery of provision specified in EHC Plans;
  • Discrimination challenges brought by reference to Part 6 of the Equality Act 2010 (whether within an organisation’s internal procedures or in the SEND Tribunal or the County Court) and the Human Rights Act 1998 by way of judicial review;
  • Challenges to the decisions of school governing bodies and Independent Review Panels relating to School Exclusions;
  • Challenges to the decisions of qualifications bodies;
  • Challenges to the setting and operation of admissions procedures and admissions criteria for schools, universities and other institutions;
  • Internal Disciplinary matters with educational institutions including issues around ‘free speech’ in Higher Education Institutions;
  • Employment law issues in schools and other educational institutions;
  • School closures and re-organisations, including the creation/expansion of academies, free schools and grammar schools;
  • Educational negligence and related damages claims;
  • Inspections and other matters relating to the regulation of education providers and teachers;
  • Public inquiries relating to education and educational institutions.

Recent cases

  • R (Shaw) v. Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 2216 (Admin);  [2020] ELR 677: the amendments to the special educational needs legislation made as a result of the Covid pandemic were lawful.
  • OA v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 276 (Admin); [2020] ELR 290: the student finance regulations discriminated against victims of domestic violence contrary to article 14 ECHR and article 2 of the first protocol.
  • R (Somerset CC) v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 1675 (Admin): successful challenge to an Academy Order.
  • AJ v. London Borough of Croydon [2020] UKUT 246 (AAC): the UT held that the FtT had unlawfully ordered a specialist placement when there was nothing in Section F of the EHC Plan that indicated the need for a special school placement and Section F was not under appeal.
  • R (Ngole) v. University of Sheffield [2019] EWCA Civ 1127; [2019] ELR 443: whether the removal of a student social worker from his course for comments about LGBT people on Facebook breached Article 10 ECHR.
  • R (Simone) v. Chancellor of the Exchequer [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin): approach taken to funding special educational needs at the Budget was not unlawful.
  • R (NHS West Berkshire CCG) v. First-tier Tribunal [2019] UKUT 44 (AAC): judicial review of the FTT’s refusal to grant the CCG the status of a party in a SEN appeal.
  • Proprietor of Ashdown House School v JKL [2019] UKUT 259 (AAC); [2019] ELR 530: the Upper Tribunal has jurisdiction to order an independent school to reinstate a disabled pupil.

Members also offer training and Matrix hosts regular roundtable events for members and others who work in education disputes. For more information, please contact Marketing.