Education in London Bar
11KBW 'remains the go-to chambers for education work'. 'Its strength in depth is astonishing', meaning the set can 'provide a range of options at all levels of seniority'. Members act for public, private, and third sector clients, including schools, universities, unions, students, and teachers. Peter Oldham QC acted for the defendant in R (KE) v Bristol City Council in defending a challenge to the council's schools budget. Holly Stout represented the local authority in R (S) v LB Camden, which concerned the novel question of the circumstances in which a local authority may depart from the judgment of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.
'Excellent for public law and education law', Matrix Chambers has 'a good roster of experienced counsel who are expert in their fields'. Its members have wide-ranging experience in education cases, ranging from First Tier Tribunal hearings through to Supreme Court appeals. Significant recent cases include R (Interim Executive Board of Al Hijrah School) v Ofsted, which established that gender segregation in schools without express statutory authority constitutes direct sex discrimination; Helen Mountfield QC acted for Ofsted in its successful appeal. Elsewhere, Mathew Purchase represented a professor of chemical biology in Edwards v University of Oxford (University Appeal Court), which concerned the university's compulsory retirement age.
39 Essex Chambers is 'a well-known player both in public law and in education specifically'. Its barristers are noted for their 'professional approach', and have experience representing individuals, schools, and local authorities before the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, and higher courts. Rory Dunlop QC, who was appointed silk in 2019, acted for the defendant in Wong v Anglia Ruskin University; the claimant sued for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation on the basis that her degree is a 'Mickey Mouse' degree. Jennifer Thelen acted for Ofsted in a claim for judicial review by a nursery challenging an Ofsted inspection report.
3PB has a 'strong education practice', where it 'offers a good choice of counsel'. Its members are 'efficient, friendly, and expert in their field'. Charlotte Hadfield acted for an interested party in an application for judicial review of a refusal to carry out an assessment of an individual's education needs. Aimee Fox successfully represented a local authority in a major judicial review on the application of section 19(1) of the Education Act 1996.
Blackstone Chambers is well recognised for public law. In education, its members act for educational institutions and the state. In one highlight, Catherine Callaghan QC acted for the Secretary of State in defending a statutory appeal against a direction under section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 prohibiting a school governor from participating in the management of independent schools; the case arose out of the Trojan horse affair.