Back to United Kingdom - Solicitors

Education in Yorkshire And The Humber

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's team of experienced education lawyers in Leeds is a national and regional leader. The team provides advice to education institutions on a wide variety of legal issues, including employment, charity, disputes, real estate, corporate and commercial, intellectual property, health and safety and regulatory matters. Chris Mordue advises universities on strategic employment law issues, complex employment disputes, collective bargaining and industrial relations, and executive level terminations. In Manchester, Diane Gilhooley specialises in complex employment disputes, while other key team members in Leeds include Ben Wood and Alison Oldfield.

Practice head(s):

Diane Gilhooley; Chris Mordue

Other key lawyers:

Ben Wood; Alison Oldfield


“Eversheds has a strong profile.”

Key clients

Durham University

University of Leeds

Leeds Beckett University

The University of Sheffield

University of York

University of Bradford

University of Hull

University of Huddersfield

Sheffield Hallam University

Leeds Trinity University

University of Essex

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

University College London

Craven College

Bradford College


Leeds College of Building

New College Durham

Northern College

Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

The Grimsby Institute Group

Batley Multi Academy Trust

Beacon Multi Academy Trust

Congleton Multi Academy Trust

L.E.A.D. Multi Academy Trust

Nova Academy Trust

The Altius Trust

RNN Group

The Prospect Trust

The Wensum Trust

Twyford CofE Academies Trust

Wakefield College

Work highlights

  • Carried out a detailed national minimum wage compliance audit for a Russell Group University.
  • Advised a Russell Group University on how to make more use of positive action principles under the Equality Act to assist in increasing under-representation of women and BAME employees in senior roles.
  • Represented Yorkshire University in relation to a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's full service, international platform means the firm is able to offer global advice to universities and other higher education providers. The universities and higher education team advises on matters such as the impact of Brexit, admissions disputes, misconduct allegations and the implementation of adjustments for disabled students. Victoria Goddard, who heads up the international universities practice, and is praised for her 'extensive sector knowledge and experience' is a trustee of student mental health charity Student Minds and on advisory boards for the Universities of Leeds and Huddersfield. Other key team members include Julian Sladdin, who heads the university litigation practice, and senior associate Rebecca McCall.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Goddard

Other key lawyers:

Julian Sladdin; Rebecca McCall


“The team, led by Victoria Goddard, works collaboratively and is very responsive with a thorough overview of the many different areas of law dealt within the sector.”

“The firm has a number of university clients, so clearly understands the quirks of the higher education sector. I find the advice is pragmatic and business ready, not simply confirmation of the legal position. The firm is responsive and there is always someone available to discuss a query with, and who, if necessary, will field it to a colleague in a timely way. I very much feel in safe hands.”

“Julian Sladdin really understands the issues we face. He provides pragmatic advice, and is a great person to contact when I need to discuss my thoughts on a tricky issue. I find that Julian quickly and effectively identifies the legal issues, and advises is a clear and straightforward way.”

“Victoria Goddard is standout – she has extensive sector knowledge and experience which shows in the advice she gives. Victoria is adept at identifying core issues and risks.”

Key clients

University of Sheffield

Nottingham Trent University

University of Brighton

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Nurture Higher Education Group

Cardiff University

University of Leeds

University of York

University of Leicester

University College London

University of Gloucestershire

Leeds Beckett University

University of Huddersfield

University of Sussex

University of Essex

University of London

University of Nottingham

Kings College London

Leeds Beckett University

Work highlights

  • Acted for the University of Sheffield in the leading case of R (on the application of Felix Ngole) v University of Sheffield which was heard by the Court of Appeal in March 2019.
  • Acted for Nottingham Trent University in defending a long running Equality Act/breach of contract claim brought by a former landscape design student who suffers from a number of mental and physical disabilities.
  • Advised Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on an ambitious project to establish a new university in Peterborough.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has education specialists in both the Leeds and Sheffield offices. Andrew Clarke and Richard Taylor head the Leeds and Sheffield teams respectively, and have strong relationships with some of the region’s leading education institutions. The practice offers a combination of experience of acting for education policymakers as well as impressive private sector clients. The firm was recently reappointed to the panel of the University of Sheffield and acts for a number of schools across the Diocese of Leeds.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Clarke; Richard Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Roger Gough

Key clients

Calderdale College

Department for Business , Energy and Industrial Strategy

Department for Education

Diocese of Leeds

Hallam Union of Students

London Grid for Learning Limited

United Kingdom Research and Innovation

Newham College of Further Education

Park Lane College

Sheffield Grammar School

Sheffield Hallam University

South West Grid for Learning Trust Limited

York College

Yorkshire Coast College

University of Sheffield

University of Sheffield Union of Students

University of Central Lancashire

Work highlights

  • Advised United Kingdom Research and Innovation in respect of the grant of leases relating to the National Oceanography Centre including the grant of a lease to the University of Southampton.
  • Advised the University of Sheffield on their EU regulated procurement on a framework of professionals to support their constructions projects. Advised on type of framework agreement to propose to bidders, drafted the agreement and standard form call off agreement as well as reviewing the request for tender documents.
  • Acted for the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (part of the University of Sheffield) on its arrangements with the Welsh Government to establish a new flagship Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility in Wales to be managed by The University of Sheffield.

Irwin Mitchell

At Irwin Mitchell, Laurence Gavin and Michelle Beaumont are partner leads for further and higher education, while Jenny Arrowsmith is partner lead for schools. The firm has a dedicated team of lawyers with education expertise covering schools, further education and higher education across all areas of law, including mergers, academy conversions, PFI/PPP funding, employment, commercial matters, property, student issues, GDPR, social media and judicial reviews against public bodies. Clients include single and multi-academy trusts as well as higher education and further education providers across a wide geographical area.


“We have been provided with excellent service by Jenny Arrowsmith and her team for a number of years. Particular strengths include; responsiveness, clear and concise guidance and advice, clear understanding of us and our business and expertise in the education sector – we trust Jenny and the team and value their contributions to the success of our Trust.”

Key clients

Learners First School Partnership

Services 4 Schools Ltd

Association of Colleges

Inspire Trust

White Rose Academies

Leeds City College

Boston College

North Halifax Grammar School

Sandbach High School

Maltby Learning Trust

East of England Broadband Network

South Essex College

Work highlights

  • Advised longstanding client Maltby Learning Trust on the transfer to it of Wath Comprehensive school.
  • Advised on the merger between Chichester College Group and Worthing College.
  • Advised Hartpury University in a deal which involved the design, build and operation of 190 beds of student accommodation by Cityheart (comprising Phase II of a larger student accommodation development in Gloucester).

Rollits LLP

The education team at Rollits LLP acts across England for colleges, universities, student unions, schools, single and multi-academy trusts, nurseries, awarding bodies, and charitable and private training providers. Caroline Hardcastle leads on contentious matters and has extensive experience acting for education providers, dealing with matters such as academy sponsorship issues, funding, partner provider and sub-contractor arrangements and student issues. John Flanagan specialises in corporate law, including M&A and company secretarial and governance advice.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Field; James Peel


“The team are well versed in the sector and the issues further education colleges face. They provide proactive support and advice across a range of areas including de-merger of colleges and litigation management.”

“Caroline Hardcastle is experienced, level headed and pragmatic. I value the advice and the context of the advice and a pragmatic and responsive approach; particularly when a matter is time critical.”

“They are accessible and knowledgeable.  It is clear the staff work as a team and draw from each others knowledge to provide well thought through advice.”

“Richard Field’s advice on the de-merger of a college and transfer to a different college group was completed on time and within a tight timescale.  The advice and support was pragmatic, reflective of the need and goals of my college to achieve. Issues late in the day – as is always going to be the case – were promptly and well resolved. The sector regulator commented upon the smooth process and the delivery to a tight timescale very positively.”

“The team at Rollits are unique in the fact the they make you feel like you’re their only client. When you attend a meeting with them they really do make you feel like they have prepared and know all that there is to know. They also make sure that if there’s something you don’t understand, they explain it in a non-jargon way!”

“James Peel in particular has fabulous all round knowledge, keeps to the point, talks through the solution and provides the information quickly, he is both practical and methodical.”

Key clients

Leeds City College

Hull College Group

Bishop Burton College

East Riding College

DN College Group – Doncaster and North Lindsay

Selby College

Salford City College

Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology

University of Hull

Exceed Academies Trust

White Rose Academies Trust

Swanland Education Trust

Sentamu Academy Learning Trust

The Consortium Academies Trust

Hymers College

The Skills Network

Work highlights

  • Advised the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology in respect of its incorporation, related capital funding and brand licence agreements with the Department for Education, and related sub-grant, sub-licence and service agreements with each of its members
  • Advised Hull College in respect of the disaggregation of its Harrogate College campus to Leeds City College.
  • Advised The Consortium Academy Trust in respect of its acquisition of Winifred Holtby Academy from Winifred Holtby Academy Trust

Schofield Sweeney

The education team at Schofield Sweeney, led by the Bradford-based Andrew Hurst, advises schools and other educational institutions on a nationwide basis, dealing with clients as far afield as Kent, Devon, Cumbria, Northumberland and elsewhere. Advice is given on school policies, admissions and exclusions, parental complaints, land acquisition and disposals, employment, multi academy trusts or construction documentation. Simon Shepherd heads up the employment department out of the firm's Leeds office.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Simon Shepherd


“Schofield Sweeney is a personable and approachable organisation which has the ability to expand and contract on a needs basis linked to work within the region and across the country. They are extremely responsive and are always available to respond to queries morning, noon and night. Clients relate to the team, they are competitive from a cost perspective and have the strength in depth to cover all area of expertise required including, property, HR, education and charity law.”

“Simon Shepherd always delivers his advice in a manner which we understand and he always provides advice promptly. The casework Simon has been involved with in advising us has provided positive outcomes for the Trust. Schofield Sweeney provide up to date employment law updates to ensure we are compliant in our employment practices.”

“I never feel that my work is not a priority.  Individuals manage their workload very well and ensure that I receive a high quality service throughout the duration of a project.”

“Tina Morris is able to think outside the box and offer solutions which have been put into practice.”

“The team always replies promptly and goes over and above on urgent cases. Always happy to help. Superb technical knowledge. Polite and friendly.”

Key clients

Together Learning Trust

M A Cost Consulting

Trinity Multi Academy Trust

Carlton Academy Trust

Moorlands Learning Trust

AIM Academies Trust

Batley Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Together Learning Trust on the conversion of a single academy trust to establish a new multi academy trust and the simultaneous conversions of two primary schools and a secondary foundation school within the Kirklees area as well as the transfer of a further single academy trust  to join the multi academy trust.
  • Advised Trinity Multi Academy Trust on the agreement to lease and the long term lease in respect of a new sixth-form centre to be developed in a landmark building in Halifax town centre.
  • Assisted a secondary school on its conversion and the establishment of a multi academy trust.

Stone King LLP

Roger Inman, Graham Burns, Helen Tucker and Tom Morrison lead Stone King LLP’s education sector work nationally with Morrison serving as head of further education out of the firm's Leeds office. The Leeds team offers a full service, specialising in operational, transactional, property, construction, human resources and employment law. The team acts for many schools across Yorkshire and the Humber region on retainer arrangements, supporting the schools with their daily operational needs.

Other key lawyers:

Polly O’Malley

Key clients

West Suffolk College

London South East Education Group

Easton & Otley College (now merged)

Leeds College of Building

Nescot College

Bradford College

Hereward College

Education & Training Foundation (Government-funded sector body)

The Sheffield College

Altus Education Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised Bradford College on highly complex Fresh Start Grant Agreement.
  • Providing strategic advice to a large college on a digital engineering skills project.
  • Advised an outstanding provider of further and higher education in relation to a proposed merger with the top performing further education college in Yorkshire.

Walker Morris LLP

David Smedley and Jules Harbage head the education group at Walker Morris LLP. The firm offers a full range of legal services to education institutions, covering corporate and commercial, governance, state aid, employment, pensions and real estate matters, advising on disputes, campus redevelopments and refurbishments and energy and energy efficiency contracts. The firm also handles academy conversions and construction advice, and is also increasing its focus on university work, acting for Leeds Arts University and Leeds Beckett University.

Practice head(s):

David Smedley; Jules Harbage


“The practice is very knowledgeable and has significant experience in the sector and in the type of contracts we are dealing with. They are accessible and always available to answer queries. They listen to the client and will work with you rather than against you.”

“The Walker Morris education team provide excellent value for money. They truly are the exception in being very professional and at the same time friendly and supportive in building a strong and valuable working relationship. This is to the extent that it feels like we are one team rather than provider and client.”

“They are a team I can trust in providing a quality service.”

“David Kilduff provides appropriate advice and guidance with complex issues and uses his undoubted negotiating skills to resolve with external parties to our satisfaction.”

Key clients

Leeds Arts University

Bury College

Leeds College of Building

Burnley College

New College Pontefract

Rochdale Sixth Form College

Exceptional Education Trust

St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield

South Wigston High School, Leicester

NoKirkbie Kendal School, Kirkbie

Rossett School, Harrogate

Cottesmore Academy

Bradford Girls Grammar School

Connaught School for Girls

Bolton College

Pontefract Academies Trust

Xaverian Sixth Form College

Leeds Beckett University

Eveleigh Link Academy Trust

Hoyland Common Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised on the conversion of Tiptree Heath Primary School to become an academy within Eveleigh Link Academy Trust.
  • Acted on behalf of the Kirkbie Kendal School in respect of multiple redevelopment and extension construction works.
  • Providing all the employment work for an education trust which has three colleges.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP has a well-rounded education practice with experience and expertise in working with local authority schools, academies, independent schools and with further and higher education institutions. Advising on a wide range of legal issues, such as academy conversions and transfers, complex education issues, employment litigation, reputation management and more, the team around Chris Billington has a particular strength in faith schools and academies being retained by the Diocese of Sheffield for education work. An additional specialism is charity advice for schools, advising school trustees on their education and charity law position.

Practice head(s):

Chris Billington

Other key lawyers:

Graham Shaw; Tim Wrigley


“The combination of professional integrity, response, wisdom and expertise is unique.”

“Graham Shaw is unique. He has worked with our school supporting us on an arduous journey from maintained school to academy, offering well reasoned advice and guidance and sharing our queries with specialist staff who have ensured we have achieved our goals in good time and best results.”

“All of the team at Wrigleys are of the highest quality. They communicate very effectively and provide consistent support and advice. Their knowledge of the charities and education sector is second to none. Their advice has helped us to grow confidently.”

“The team was very professional and very responsive to our questions. They followed up any issues very quickly.”

“When schools ask for support/legal advice they want it to be comprehensive and robust. The support and legal advice from Wrigleys has been excellent and incredibly comprehensive. We were not used to this high level of service and support and it opened our eyes to what we should have been getting before.”

“The personalised, friendly but professional approach given to us as clients is appreciated.  ‘Legal jargon’ free conversations to help us thorough our cases/projects.”

“Approachable, knowledgeable and friendly. Able to answer questions clearly and in plain language so that all the issues are clearly understood.”

Key clients

Wingfield Academy

Talentum Learning Trust

Stephenson Multi Academy Trust

Royal College of Art Students’ Union

James Montgomery Academy Trust

Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust

Nexus Multi Academy Trust

Cockburn Multi Academy Trust

Harlington Upper School

Fylde Coast Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised on the academy transfer of a PFI academy to a multi academy trust.
  • Advised on reforming a non-faith multi academy trust (MAT) as a “mixed MAT” and its expansion with schools joining.
  • Advised a leading special school multi academy trust on its growth by adding special and hospital schools.

Lupton Fawcett

Based across offices in Leeds, Sheffield and York, Lupton Fawcett offers a full range of legal services to education clients including academy trusts, independent schools, further education colleges and universities. Mark Honeywell heads the education Team and is a specialist charities and education lawyer, focusing on advising academies and independent schools, particularly in relation to governance and regulatory issues. The firm has particular expertise in advising Church of England schools.

Practice head(s):

Mark Honeywell

Key clients

Leeds Diocesan Board of Education

York Diocesan Board of Education

Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust

Dales Academies Trust


Grammar School at Leeds

Bishop Burton College

Scarborough College

Collaborative Learning Trust

Diocese of York Educational Trust

Mills & Reeve LLP

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP advises education clients on a wide range of legal matters, including bond issues, senior staff disputes, campus developments, international activity, and high-profile student issues. The Leeds-based head of the team, Martin Priestley, specialises in advising on complex commercial projects and on international joint ventures in the education sector. The firm is on the panel of Leeds Beckett University, and advises on key international projects in Egypt, Dubai, China and Italy.

Practice head(s):

Martin Priestley

Key clients

Leeds Beckett University

University of Leeds

University of York

Northumbria University

University of Nottingham

University of Exeter

Royal Veterinary College

Birmingham City University

University of Birmingham

Oxford Brookes University

Nottingham Trent University

University of Hull

Work highlights

  • Acted for the University of Nottingham as a defendant in relation to an allegation of patent infringement. The patentee, Myndplay Ltd, alleged the University and a PhD student had infringed its patent relating to a method of controlling a video player which responds to EEG signals emitted from the brain of viewers and thereby responds to their emotions as they watch video clips or films.
  • Advised the University of Bradford on its role and obligations on a multi-million-pound new development for a Centre for Applied Health Research. The centre is to be located on land owned by Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust at the site of Bradford Royal Infirmary.
  • Advised the University f York on the suite of contractual arrangements which it has in place with Evans Property Group in relation to two joint ventures concerning student accommodation provision.