Education Law

Education Law


John Friel and Lachlan Wilson are recognised for their expertise in Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2017.

John Friel - Education - London (Bar) - Band 2

John Friel - An impressive junior at the cutting edge of legal reform in education. He often advises on matters relating to education and disability, and is highly sought after by educational institutions in both the private and public sector. He also represents charities and governing bodies. 
Strengths: "He is well organised and extremely good at advancing clients' cases." "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of SEN in particular."
Recent work: Advised in LW v Norfolk County Council, a case reported in The Educational Law Reports.   

Lachlan Wilson - Education - London (Bar) - Band 4

Lachlan Wilson - Head of the Public and Regulatory Law Group at his set, who has an active practice encompassing a multitude of education issues. He is frequently instructed by individuals, institutions and school governing bodies connected with primary, secondary and tertiary education provision.
Strengths: "He is superb with clients and has the ability to instil confidence. He is super bright, quickly gets to the nub of the issue and is a really good strategist." 

Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2016.

Education - London (Bar) - Band 2

[John Friel is] One of the most experienced junior counsel in this field, he is a popular choice for individuals and parents facing educational issues that require close examination of policy, such as SEN assessment challenges.
Strengths: "He performs excellently and knows the law better than many of the judges do nowadays as he has written chunks of it. He is incredibly quick at processing large quantities of information, and is very forensic and thorough in his investigation of the facts."

Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2015.

Education - London (Bar)

"A superb advocate, who is very approachable and always well prepared"
"He is a specialist in the field and he wins."

Chambers and Partners UK Bar Directory 2014.

Education - London (Bar)

"Possessed of vast experience and knowledge, he has unique forensic and analytic skills combined with a detailed understanding. You know you're in very safe hands, and he gives you the feeling that you're really supported."
"He is a very experienced SEN expert, who is approachable and always well prepared."

Chambers and Partners UK Bar Directory 2013

Education - London (Bar)

“John Friel is armed with 'incredible experience and knowledge,' and has 'detailed understanding of special educational needs cases.' 'A skilled, articulate advocate,' he 'always handles matters expeditiously.'”

Chambers and Partners UK Bar Directory 2012

Education - London (Bar)

“John Friel remains a popular choice amongst claimant solicitors. He is admired for his wealth of experience in the sector, and is recognised as 'a committed advocate who does not take no for an answer.'”

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

John Friel is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2016 for his expertise in the London Bar - Education.


"A maverick in the area and definitely a safe pair of hands."

John Friel is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2015 for his expertise in the London Bar - Education.


"Particularly strong on SEN issues."

Legal 500 Bar Directory – Rankings For 2014 Recommendations and Quotes


Lachlan Wilson - 3PB ‘Highly intelligent and a very effective advocate.’

John Friel is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2014 for his expertise in the London Bar - Education.

"Noted for his experience acting for independent schools, maintained schools and governing bodies."

The Education Law Team is a niche aspect of the 3PB Public and Regulatory Group. Members of the team represent parents, pupils, schools, academies, institutes of further and higher education, students, teaching and academic staff and local authorities in a variety of education law matters. Members of the Team also specialise in other complementary areas of law, in particular personal injury, employment and discrimination.

The Team is led by Lachlan Wilson, who is recognised by Legal 500 Directory 2013/14 as being an expert in the field. Instructions can be received by some members of the Team on a direct access basis. For more information please follow this link.

Members of the team are available to provide training and workshops on new developments in education law, and have done so in the past for local authority and solicitor clients.

In relation to schools and academies, the Team has particular expertise in:

  • Appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (‘SEND Tribunal’) concerning statements of special education needs.
  • Education related disability discrimination claims at all levels, including but not limited to SEND Tribunal proceedings and Independent Review Panel proceedings (‘IRP’) within the context of school exclusions.
  • Upper Tribunal appeals arising from decisions of the SEND Tribunal.
  • Claims concerning all other forms of discrimination, for example in county court and employment tribunal proceedings.
  • Representation at school admissions and exclusion appeals before independent panels.
  • Advice and representation regarding judicial review proceedings, for example arising from decisions of local authorities or independent panels.
  • Human rights.
  • School complaints procedures.
  • School attendance.
  • School transport.
  • Breach of contract claims concerning independent schools.
  • Negligence claims arising within an education context.
  • Representing and advising schools and teaching staff in employment tribunal proceedings.

Members of the Team also have expertise in the areas of further and higher education, for example:

  • Representing students and universities in judicial review proceedings.
  • Providing advisory and drafting services for students in relation to appeals to the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (‘OIA’).
  • Providing advice and representation for students in internal university academic appeal hearings.
  • Breach of contract claims concerning universities.
  • All forms of discrimination and equality issues.
  • Representing both academic institutions and academic staff in employment tribunal proceedings.

All enquiries should be made to Tom Cox, our education law team's Practice Manager.