School admissions & exclusions
Advising & representing parents on admissions appeals, and if necessary on Judicial Review of appeal panel decisions, if it seems that the decision was taken without due regard for the law or proper procedures.
The law in relation to school exclusions by a headmaster incorporates an obligation to consider statutory guidance. We advise and represent parents in appeals, both before the school governing body, and in any subsequent appeal against the decision of that governing body before an Independent Appeal Panel.
Procedures and guidance on admissions and exclusions change fairly frequently and schools and LEAs sometimes fail to comply with the latest requirements.
We can advise clients on the strengths of their case for an appeal and help them to prepare written statements.
We offer representation at the panel hearing if needed.
Which decisions can be judicially reviewed?
The boundary between public bodies, some of whose decisions are amenable to judicial review, and the private sector is ill-defined and constantly evolving.
In short, all bodies exercising functions of a public law nature are susceptible to a challenge by way of judicial review. In deciding whether a particular act or decision is judicially reviewable, the courts will focus on the nature of the act or decision being challenged rather than on the identity of the body in question or the source of its powers. It is, therefore, somewhat artificial to consider the reviewability of the body and the act or decision in question separately. The key question is whether that act or decision is one that should be subject to judicial review.
The recognised grounds currently available are of 4 types:
- Procedural unfairness
- Legitimate expectation.
Examples of reviewable decision
Some decision-making bodies that might not seem to be obvious candidates for judicial review have been subject to such challenge in certain circumstances. Examples include:
- An independent school. The school participated in a government-assisted places scheme. A head teacher decided to withdraw an assisted place from a pupil due to unacceptable behaviour. Under the legislation governing the assisted places scheme, the school did not have the power to make such a decision; therefore, the decision was open to judicial review
Accidents & injuries
We deal with accident compensation claims relating to accidents and injuries at schools, where that accident was someone else’s fault. Situations may include: slipping or tripping within the school grounds, serious food poisoning, sports accidents and injuries arising from defective school equipment.
Bullying, harassment & discrimination
We can offer advice, drafting and representation in claims relating to allegations of bullying, harassment or discrimination at school or at the admissions stage.
Go here for more information on dealing with Bullying.