I would highly recommend Trish to anyone who requires legal representation in the field of education and/or public law. Her professionalism, dedication, and expertise are second to none, and I am grateful for all that she has done for my school.
Trish is a Legal Director in the Education team in Cardiff. She acts for public, private or regulatory bodies advising on public law and education law.
Main areas of practice
Trish specialises in statutory interpretation, equality and discrimination, safeguarding, exclusion and disciplinary matters, human rights, student or parent complaints, special educational and additional learning needs, judicial review challenges and subcontracting disputes.
Trish also has experience of preparing statements for public inquiries.
Trish advises and trains maintained or independent schools, academies, further education colleges, universities and regulatory bodies in England and Wales on a variety of issues relevant to their services, including governance and compliance, consumer protection, inspection challenges, information sharing, consultation, equality and discrimination, human rights, transgender issues, school trips, exclusion and disciplinary matters, safeguarding and prevent issues, student and parent complaints, judicial review and data protection. She regularly chairs or represents at exclusion hearings, disciplinary matters and at fitness to practise proceedings. She also advises on student contracts, commercial contracts linked to education services, and apprenticeship or subcontracting claims.
- Successfully representing two schools in exclusion hearings relating to pupils with additional learning needs regarding the consumption of illicit drugs and violence during which both the headteacher and another member of staff was struck.
- Providing detailed advice to a further education college regarding a parental request for access to education records. Determining whether schools legislation applied to the college and/or the education data obligations imposed by the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR.
- Reviewing and amending multiple exchange agreements with universities outside of the UK to ensure compliance with UK law on data protection and equality.
Trish also acts on behalf of regulators, private educational bodies and government departments advising on a variety of regulatory issues, including lawful decision making, conflicts of interest, fitness to practise, sexual misconduct investigations, public sector equality duties, discrimination, human rights, safeguarding and prevent issues and judicial review. Trish is a Legal Adviser to Investigation and Fitness to Practise Committees convened by education regulators. This requires her to have detailed knowledge of public law principles and case law applicable to professional conduct and fitness to practise processes. Trish also has expertise in the existing and emerging Education legislation and policy as it applies to educational professionals in England and Wales. She also acts for the Solicitors Regulation Authority advising on public law issues and fitness to practise investigations.
- Advising a university on the regulatory implications of an investigation into lewd comments made by a male member of staff to female students including the range of information to provide to the regulator.
- Conducting an investigation into the safeguarding policies, procedures and practices of an independent school following the investigation of three separate safeguarding incidents one of which resulted in tragedy.
- Acting as a legal advisor during a hearing convened by the Teaching Regulation Agency regarding an alleged failure to provide information relating to a member of staff who was suspected of committing terrorism offences.
Trish regularly advises public and private sector clients, including regulatory bodies and government departments on statutory interpretation and vires, governance, scope of devolved legislation, lawful exercise of and what amounts to a public function, parliamentary processes, consultation responses, contractual disputes that relate to the scope of public law powers, public sector equality duty, data protection and confidentiality, freedom of information, human rights, and compliance with Welsh language duties. Trish has also represented public bodies involved in public inquiries.
- Advising a government department on whether changing procurement practices for social care placement was within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru.
- Analysing the statutory and framework obligations imposed by Welsh government on a sports body and contractual terms that would enable the body to exercise a discretion to investigate complaints raised by the public.
- Advising and representing NHS England in judicial review proceedings relating to its decision to not routinely commission surgery for pectus deformities.
Trish advises regulatory bodies, central government, local government, maintained schools, academies, further education and higher education institutions on a wide variety of education, regulatory and public law issues including consultation, equality and human rights, discrimination, fitness to practise, fitness to study, data protection, judicial review and the law relating to adults at risk and children.
Trish started her career as a community care and housing legal aid practitioner where she honed her people skills and developed a lifelong passion for public law and judicial review practice and procedure. For the last 15 years, Trish has worked within commercial law firms operating in England and Wales specialising in public law and education law on a diverse range of areas comprising student or parent disputes, complaints and contractual or discrimination claims that has led to her developing specialist expertise in special educational and additional learning needs cases and representing at disciplinary and exclusion hearings.
Trish was appointed as a governor of Bridgend College in 2018 awarded Gold in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2019/20 and placed 24th in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For 2020. She enjoys participating in directing the College on its strategic path and sits on the College’s Remuneration Committee.
Since 2019 Trish has chaired the B.A.M.E & Friends committee for Cardiff & District Law Society, hosting events that raise awareness of the challenges and pressures faced by those within the local legal profession. Its key initiative is to put B.A.M.E and Friends colleagues alike in touch to mentor each other and more importantly reverse mentor so that the B.A.M.E experience can be better understood.
Trish has been a contributor to FE Legal News. She also has a keen interest in special educational or additional learning needs, and has appeared as an expert contributor on Local Government CPD training videos for Legal Network Television (University of Law).
"Trish’s expertise and knowledge of both the judicial review process and in education law was evident, and her ability to communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner was impressive, ensuring that we met key milestones with ease throughout the process."
'Extremely efficient and organised' as a result of her 'excellent knowledge of higher education in the public sector'.
Insights by Trish
This article summarises the updates made to the Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools guidance, which applies to maintained schools and academies in England.Read More
With the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER) entering its establishment period before becoming fully operational in April 2024, we take a look at its key features and what...Read More
This article covers the implications of the recent High Court decision in the case of TZA v A Secondary School, and the applicability of the Public Sector Equality Duty.Read More