Education Department

London (Bar)
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11KBW retains its reputation as a leading set for education matters, and houses a deep bench of barristers experienced in the handling of the full range of disputes. Particular areas of strength for the team include cases concerning SEN, discrimination claims and examination disputes, and members are regularly called upon to act for universities, schools and local authorities, as well as teachers, parents and students. The set's barristers also field expertise in school reorganisations, admissions and exclusions, and employment disputes arising in the education sector. Instructing solicitors praise 11KBW as "a go-to set for any education matters," adding that "the barristers are all incredibly professional, provide good advice and have a good rapport with clients."

Client service: "The clerks are always thorough, polite and speedy. They respond to queries immediately and always try their hardest to accommodate particular wishes as best as they can." "Chris Smith is excellent - very friendly and approachable. He is knowledgeable and understands the projects and what we need. He keeps us abreast of availability and is responsive to further instructions." Joint senior clerks Mark Dann and Lucy Barbet lead the clerking team.

Aileen McColgan QC

Has an established practice that takes in SEN proceedings and equality law claims. She acts for both claimants and defendants, including prominent universities and local authorities. Advisory work represents a significant part of her practice, and she has considerable experience in advising and chairing disciplinary and other panels.
Strengths: "She quickly gets to grip with factually complicated cases and is a very good advocate both on her feet and on paper - her arguments in court are very effective." "She is a strong advocate and uses her previous experience as an academic well when advising on matters where academic practice and procedures are in dispute."
Recent work: Instructed in R v Medway Council, a challenge to the lawfulness of an EHCP issued by the council.

Andrew Sharland QC

Routinely advises local authorities, schools and further education colleges. Sharland is highly praised for his knowledge of SEN, admissions and contract law. His recent work has involved numerous regulatory and disciplinary cases.
Strengths: "He provides good, robust advice to his clients and works to achieve pragmatic solutions." "He is thorough and conscientious."
Recent work: Represented Durand Education Trust in a challenge to a direction to make an academy land transfer without the payment of any compensation.

Clive Sheldon QC

An erudite silk who handles education law as part of a broad public law practice. He is frequently engaged in special educational needs, admissions and exclusions, and discrimination claims, and acts for schools, universities and local authorities. Also has significant experience in employment cases within the education sector.
Strengths: "He is personable, kind, incisive and unafraid to run difficult arguments." "He provides useful input into the drafting of defence."
Recent work: Acted for St Edmunds College, Cambridge in a claim brought by a junior fellow alleging 'belief' discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Harini Iyengar

Has a broad education practice encompassing special needs tribunals, judicial reviews and disciplinary proceedings. Her clients include several university and school students, as well as schools, colleges and universities.
Strengths: "Extremely good."

James Cornwell

Represents a range of public and private schools and universities in cases concerning admissions, exclusions and funding issues, to name just a small part of his practice. He has handled a number of judicial review, negligence, contract and discrimination claims for such clients. Cornwell appears before the Upper Tribunal, FTT (SEND) and High Court on a regular basis, as well as the General Teaching Council, Court of Appeal and Independent Appeal Panels.
Strengths: "Very bright barrister."

James Goudie QC

An accomplished education practitioner with experience in a variety of other areas, including administrative law, environmental law and employment law. He regularly advises local government and universities on challenges against admissions procedures and construction projects. His broad education expertise results in him being instructed on anything from novel Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) matters to academy conversions and higher education work. He is also adept at handling cases involving allegations of discrimination.
Strengths: "He takes a pragmatic and assertive view in cases and is very articulate." "He is a fount of knowledge and has the ear of the court."

Jane Oldham

Advises on a range of cases including judicial review challenges, local authority disputes, and matters relating to academies. Clients include a host of schools, as well as higher and further education institutions. Of late her practice has focused on behavioural policy challenges and challenges to academy schools.
Strengths: "She impresses with her attention to detail and quick grasp of facts." "She knows everything there is to know in the area."

Joanne Clement

A dynamic education junior with particular expertise in cases concerning special educational needs (SEN), school reorganisations and academy conversions. She has a strong track record advising local authorities, universities and schools. She is regularly instructed in disability discrimination claims, challenges to exam results and student disciplinary matters.
Strengths: "She is a very sensible opponent and undoubtedly one of the brightest junior lawyers at the Bar." "She manages to distil a long case into digestible chunks." "Very experienced, with excellent analytical abilities."
Recent work: Represented the independent school Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley Association in an appeal against the Secretary of State for Education's decision to de-register the school from the Register of Independent Schools.

Jonathan Auburn

Advises an array of prominent clients in the education sector including several local authorities and the Secretary of State for Education. Areas of particular interest include SEN funding challenges and school closures. He has acted in a number of notable judicial reviews.
Strengths: "He is very thoughtful and his drafting is always clear. He's happy to debate the issues and is a strong team player." "He does a lot around community care and always presents his arguments attractively."
Recent work: Successfully represented Tower Hamlets Council in a challenge to the controversial closure of Raine's School, one of the oldest maintained schools in Britain.

Jonathan Moffett QC

Has a strong education practice and frequently handles disputes relating to school admissions, discrimination and educational provision for pupils with SEN. He has considerable court experience, having appeared before various courts, including the ECtHR. Of late, his practice has focused with increasing regularity on non-contentious advisory and policy work, often involving local authorities and the Department for Education.
Strengths: "He is responsive, fair in his judgement and always goes the extra mile for his clients." "He is tactical and strategic."

Katherine Eddy

A well-known education practitioner with considerable experience in disputes, including those involving aspects of public law, contract law and employment law. She has a burgeoning practice and particular experience of cases in the higher education sector.
Strengths: "She has an extraordinary ability to grasp the detail of the matter very quickly and explains strategy to the client very clearly. In court she is very clear and persuasive." "She is bright, thorough and approachable."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in a judicial review challenge to the lawfulness of an extensive school reorganisation in Wales.

Nigel Giffin QC

Has over three decades of experience of advising on both education-specific matters and a vast array of issues that intersect with education law. He is particularly adept at judicial review cases.
Strengths: "He is charming, conscientious and really understanding." "Highly intelligent and thoroughly engages with the issues."

Paul Greatorex

A popular choice for a number of different education cases, including those concerning special educational needs, Equality Act claims and student disputes.
Strengths: "He is very knowledgeable, and while his out-of-court manner is lovely, inside court he is a force to be reckoned with. He always plays with a straight bat." "He is approachable, amenable and responsive. He understands the client and works with them even in the most challenging circumstances."
Recent work: Represented Harrow and Barnet Councils in a number of special educational needs cases in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal.

Peter Oldham QC

Acts in all manner of education disputes concerning schools, universities and other education authorities, including those relating to discrimination, admissions and exclusions, governance and special needs. He has extensive expertise in reorganisation matters.
Strengths: "He knows huge amounts about the sector and always presents his arguments with clarity and concision." "He is calm, excellent with academics and good on matters that nobody has done before."
Recent work: Acted for Buckinghamshire County Council in a challenge to the council's decision to close and reorganise children's centres.

Tom Cross

Has a thriving practice handling education, commercial law and human rights-related cases and also has particular expertise in religious matters. He is regularly instructed by individuals, schools and higher education institutions, and has extensive experience appearing before the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal. He is also regularly called upon to act for local authorities and central government.
Strengths: "He quickly identifies the strengths and weaknesses in a dispute and focuses the argument, which is helpful when emotions run high." "He is able to offer clear and practical advice and guidance and he understands how different organisations work."
Recent work: Instructed by Christ Church College, Oxford University in internal disciplinary proceedings brought against the Dean of the college. A complaint had been made that the Dean improperly pursued an issue of his own pay.

Zoe Gannon

Regularly called upon to act for universities, colleges, schools and local authorities in a wide range of education matters. She is experienced in the handling of discrimination cases and judicial review challenges to school decisions.
Strengths: "She is pragmatic and fiercely intelligent." "She always gets back to you quickly and keeps her promises."
Recent work: Acted for the Proprietor of Ashdown House School in a case concerning the powers of the First-tier Tribunal, including its ability to order the instatement of a pupil at a private school.