Expert, practical advice to universities across the UK
Recognised experts in higher education and partner to leading universities
Blake Morgan’s Education team are recognised experts in helping universities and other higher education institutions in all the areas where they need advice. We are proud to work in partnership with a number of the UK’s leading universities and university colleges (in particular the Oxford Colleges) to provide specialist, practical advice.
Our network of offices means we are particularly well-placed to advise in the higher education sector in both England and Wales (where education is devolved to the Welsh Government).
Main Areas Of Practice
Our Education team is well known for its practical and pragmatic advice. Our work includes:
Real estate and construction
Our higher education experts are able to draw on expertise from across our Construction, Project Management, Finance, Cost Management and Environment teams to ensure that all aspects of complex projects and transactions are delivered seamlessly. We also provide expert advice on procurement strategies and carry out contract drafting and negotiation for stand-alone and complex agreements.
We advise on disciplinary and grievance cases and dealing with claims from the Employment Tribunal to the Supreme Court. The team also regularly advises on restructurings, redundancies, outsourcings, commercial spin-outs and TUPE transfers and the commercial and practical issues which arise in these cases.
Our Pensions team provides a complete service to university clients. We have broad experience in relation to the Universities Superannuation Scheme, university staff schemes, the Local Government Pension Scheme and the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
Our Immigration team has particular experience in advising on all matters relating to Tier 2 licences, allowing employers to sponsor non-EU Nationals as employees and Tier 4 licences for Educational Institutions to sponsor foreign students.
Health and Safety
Our Critical Incident team provides a 24-hour legal response service in the event of an incident or emergency situation. Our experienced team of solicitors and barristers are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support our university and HE clients in the event of any health and safety or critical incident.
Commercial, corporate, procurement and funding
Our higher education experts advise on joint venture and collaborative arrangements involving universities, including collaborative research arrangements between institutions (both funded by EU structural funds and otherwise) and between universities and businesses. We have also advised universities on international contracts, including the establishment of branches abroad as well as collaborations with institutions outside the UK and related arrangements for funding, staff and student recruitment and teaching.
We advise universities on IP ownership issues, licensing arrangements and drafting and negotiating internal IP protocols for staff and students. Our lawyers have been seconded into commercialisation teams at a number of leading universities.
Our Corporate Finance team regularly advises on appropriate shareholder arrangements and loan and equity corporate finance transactions including mergers, acquisitions and buyouts. This includes acting for universities and some very successful spin-out companies.
We are acknowledged experts on state aid in the HE sector and have jointly authored "State Aid in Research, Development & Innovation: A Guide for Universities" published by AURIL and PraxisUnico.
In the field of data protection, we have a dedicated team who advise universities on this fast developing area of law. This includes all aspects of GDPR compliance including the review and variation of contracts with suppliers and other third parties and updating standard contract terms. We are the only law firm accredited by the British Computer Society to provide its Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection course.
Governance, dispute resolution, charity law, trusts & public law
Our team regularly advises clients on constitutional, statutory interpretation, probity, governance and associated public law matters. We understand the political and administrative environment within which public bodies and education institutions work and the interaction with European law, especially public procurement and state aid. We regularly act in judicial review proceedings and other public law cases (for example procurement challenges) throughout England and Wales.
We advise universities and other HE institutions on their compliance with government policy and guidance (both UK Government and Welsh Government) and their relationship to external regulators, including the Office for Students, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Charity Commission. We are a leading firm in regulatory law, particularly in the fields of education, social care, health and professional standards.
We act for several Chartered institutions, and regularly deal with their constitutional, vires and governance idiosyncrasies. We have advised a number of universities and other HE and research institutions which are governed by Royal Charter on amendments to their Charter and Statutes, the granting of supplemental Charters, the surrender of Charters and the drafting and interpretation of Ordinances and Regulations.
Our team also has wide experience of advising on legacies and trusts in a university context, including advice to one of the UK's leading universities.
Special Educational / Additional Learning Needs
We provide advice in relation to appeals brought by children, young people, their parents or case friends relating to Special Educational Needs and/or Additional Learning Needs (from 1 Sep 2021 onwards in Wales). From negotiations relating to EHCs, Statements or IDPs in an attempt to avoid an appeal to the Tribunal, to representation at and the administration of Tribunal proceedings (through to appeals to the Upper Tribunal), we have the expertise to assist Local Authorities, CCGs, Health Boards and educational institutions in relation to their roles and responsibilities throughout the process.
We act for a number of Russell Group Universities, a large number of Oxford colleges, the University of Reading and other leading higher education institutions, as well as having strong links with key bodies involved in research, funding and regulation in the education sector such as the Association for University Research and Industry Links (‘AURIL’).
"The substantial, multi-disciplinary team at Blake Morgan LLP is highlighted for providing 'excellent service'."
- The Legal 500 2019
"Practitioners have extensive experience handling transactions, charity and immigration matters for a range of higher… education clients. Also recommended for advice on governance and administration, student discipline, SENDIST matters and overseas campuses. Offers a formidable contentious practice."
- Chambers & Partners 2019
"A client praises the team for providing 'an excellent service', adding: 'The partner handled the matter personally, it was reasonably priced, and it was completed to a very short deadline'."
- Chambers & Partners 2019
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