Hugh James understands that educational establishments face an ever-changing and increasingly complex framework of legal and regulatory requirements. Public expectation and media scrutiny also add to these pressures.

We also understand that education requires commitment, innovation and a “commercial approach” to finding new ways to deliver high quality education services, manage finances and engage with students and the wider community.

We have represented many educational establishments on matters ranging from governance, employment, corporate, commercial, intellectual property, debt recovery, property and construction.

Governance and regulatory

Hugh James has a deep understanding of the issues facing educational establishments.

We provide support to individual schools, colleges and higher education institutions, giving swift, pragmatic advice on specific issues arising in their governance obligations.

We have developed a “governance toolkit” which comprises a comprehensive range of policies and procedures for educational establishments who must pass inspection by strict regulatory bodies. We advise on the implementation of these policies and procedures.

Our work includes supporting Local Education Authorities in achieving their professional objectives. We often operate in partnership with them, always providing value for money.

As with all our work for public sector clients we seek to add value and quality by providing a clear perspective on risks and tailoring advice to the particular situation facing the client, rather than simply advising on the content of legal obligations.

Please see our full details on our governance and regulatory services


All schools, colleges and educational establishments need employees. As pivotal members of the education sector team our employment specialists have expertise both as education lawyers and as employment experts.

We are members of the Employment Lawyers Association and participate in regional and national user groups and working parties. We are able to advise on all employee related matters and support clients though reorganisations, difficult capability, disability discrimination and other equality issues, disciplinary and grievance issues as well as negotiating compromise agreements.

Our employment lawyers continue to advise on education specific issues including employee status, part-time working regulations and diversity. We also offer a comprehensive “performance management toolkit” to assist educational establishments in implementing and running appraisal programmes.

Please see our full details on our employment services.

Corporate and commercial

Hugh James appreciate that educational establishments run as businesses. We also appreciate the difficulties and pressures faced by Bursars and Chancellors alike who tread a fine line when pursuing both educational and commercial goals.

We assist in advising educational establishments on the options available to them when engaging in innovation and commercial operations. This often includes:

  • capital funding and PPP/PFI;
  • data protection and freedom of information;
  • governance and charity law;
  • innovative funding and tax-saving schemes;
  • intellectual property and brand protection;
  • mergers, collaborations and joint ventures;
  • protection and exploitation of research; and
  • special purpose vehicles.

Please see our full details on our corporate and commercial services.

Property and land

Educational establishments of all kinds need to use property and land portfolios efficiently to maximise their assets. It is likely that buying, selling or leasing property or land is one of the biggest transactions that you will undertake. Astute advice from an experienced property solicitor is essential to ensure that you achieve the best solution for you.

Property experts within the Hugh James education team can assist in the whole process including:

  • acquiring property or land;
  • construction contracts and disputes;
  • conveyancing;
  • joint ventures;
  • landlord and tenant disputes including dilapidations, breaches of covenants and rent and service charge arrears;
  • nuisance, trespass boundary, restrictive covenants and easements disputes;
  • planning issues; and
  • raising finance from property or land assets.

Please see our full details on our commercial property services.

Our commitment to you

Our specialist team of education lawyers bring competitive advantage to you through understanding the issues driving the education sector and delivering astute commercial solutions that comply with your governance requirements.

Hugh James has a strong reputation with clients across a range of educational establishments including individual schools, colleges and higher education institutions. This reputation is based on our commitment to and understanding of the pressures and challenges faced by the education profession.

We are committed to:

  • understanding your objectives and needs;
  • providing a clear perspective on risks and advice on strategy;
  • delivering quality legal services on time and on budget;
  • delivering value for money;
  • avoiding jargon by communicating in plain English and/or Welsh;
  • offering you bespoke “compliance toolkits” to assist you in implementing the correct policies and procedures in compliance with the governance legislation;
  • innovation by developing procedures, policies and structures to help you to benefit from the ideas that you generate;
  • adding value via legal updates or seminars on specific topics to bespoke in-house training sessions and workshops; and
  • sharing know-how to ensure we are up-to-date with matters of importance concerning you.


  • we act as Presenting Officers on behalf of a regulatory body in education in relation to professional misconduct, capability and suitability hearings. In the last twelve months we have acted on a number of particularly high profile cases which have attracted considerable media interest;
  • we work closely with developers and contractors in relation to the drafting and negotiation of a range of construction, corporate, funding and commercial documents relating to a non-recourse development of student accommodation across England and Wales;
  • we advise multiple higher education bodies on their use of Framework contracting for Major Contractors and the underlying form of the NEC3 Contract in respect of their Capital redevelopment programmes;
  • we advise a leading Welsh university in relation to regulatory compliance issues concerning the operation of a training clinic; and
  • we advised a leading Welsh university as to potential Data Protection breaches and public protection exemptions.
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Tel: 033 3016 2222

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