Recognised Expertise in the Higher Education Sector

In a highly regulated and politicised sector, we can truly offer full-service advice. We have built a high profile in the Higher Education sector, working closely with sector bodies on key sector issues and being actively involved in helping to shape the “universities of the future” through thought leadership and through our presence on and contribution to sector commissions, such as the Higher Education Commission and the Skills Commission. These activities directly influence government policy and sector strategy.

We value our relationships with our clients and invest time in building a long term partnership with them, so that we can truly become an extension of their team. As well as ensuring your received value for money, our added value offering is focussed on training and empowering teams. Our clients have access to free of charge:

  • Seminars and networking opportunities
  • Legal updates covering issues affecting higher education
  • Helpline to quickly access advice
  • Bespoke training and student benefits, such as employability workshops, mentoring and budding schemes

We also have a dedicated team focused on private universities and alternative providers. Our team is able to draw upon our education expertise while understanding the particular challenges faced by the independent tertiary education sector, providing advice that meet the sector’s needs from adapting to student requirements to partnering with traditional universities and consolidating mergers with other institutions.

How Our Higher Education Experts Can Help

Higher education is an increasingly complex environment and it is important for universities to ensure they are complying with all governance requirements. Our team have a wealth of experience in advising our university clients on the full range of governance and regulatory issues.


HR within higher education faces many unique challenges, our education sector employment law team support you, as well as many other university clients, on a broad range of both contentious and non-contentious employment matters.

Property, Finance & Construction

Property is key to the universities' ongoing functions and therefore it is important to ensure you receive sector focussed advice. Our education sector property team comprises experts in property, finance, property litigation, construction and planning, and advises across all relevant areas including estate management strategies, major campus redevelopments and student and staff accommodation.

Data Protection

Mishandling data could expose universities to substantial fines and serious reputational damage – you can’t afford to get it wrong. Our team regularly advises on updating policies, notices and contracts to ensure GDPR compliance. We are also well versed in dealing with FOIA and subject access requests.

Student Issues

Our specialist education team advise our university clients on the full range of needs and requirements of their students, including areas such as disputes, complaints and appeals, discrimination, student union matters, regulation and immigration.

Commercial & Corporate

There are a broad range of commercial issues arising for higher education clients. From simple supplier arrangements through to complex procurements, our expert team can support you on the full range of commercial issues arising. We also advise on subsidiary and spin-out companies and other corporate law issues.

Intellectual Property & Innovation

Universities often find themselves in positions where individuals working through university channels may have created IP assets. Issues about ownership of IP come up regularly and we are well placed to advise on the university’s entitlement to IP and what steps should be taken in order to safeguard its position and participate in any commercial agreements.


Given the unique diversity of activity within universities, there are a wide variety of disputes which may arise with suppliers, contractors, partners, visitors, members of the public, staff and of course students. From individual personal injury claims through to multi-million disputes with major IT suppliers, we are able to provide bespoke sector-focussed support to ensure the best outcome for the university.

Listen to our Going Further & Higher Education Podcast

In each episode, we’ll discuss topical issues impacting the further and higher education sector, aiming to spark debate, engage and inspire those working in the sector.

Our Higher Education Experts

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Why Choose Us?

We have a highly experienced team with a number of specialists who work exclusively with our education clients. Also, our values of ‘unlocking potential’ and ACTBrave resonate with those in the sector
Our Green Campus initiative, which combines our education and energy expertise to support education institutions achieve their sustainable goals
Our involvement in helping to shape the ‘university of the future’ with activities that directly influence government policy and sector strategy, e.g. supporting the Student Futures Commission

Our Work

Staffordshire University

Campus Redevelopment

We have been advising Staffordshire University on its £55 million campus redevelopment, including flagship building The Catalyst, a state-of-the-art nursery and forest school, the Cadman Building and a new student campus.

Catalyst Building

The works have involved the demolition of the existing structure and development of the new building, which will house an Apprenticeships & Digital Skills Hub, a new library, social learning spaces and a restaurant and café.

We have been working closely with the university’s project director and its external project managers to provide timely advice throughout the whole .

Nursery and Forest School

At the end of 2020 we completed negotiations with a contractor in relation to a new £4.4m woodland nursery and forest school. On completion the building will become the university’s first net-zero carbon facility on its campus, having been designed using passive and highly efficient technologies for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

University Client

Intellectual Property

We are advising a university client on how best to exploit the intellectual property of an early patent filed by a group of employees which relates to increasing the efficiency of diesel particulate filters in vehicles, and how this could be particularly relevant for use within developing countries.

The university has found an external investor for this project and we got to grips with the project very early on so that we could produce a useful heads of terms document in order to facilitate discussion.

University Client

Group Creation

We advised a university on the options available to create a group including further education colleges and potentially other universities and/or private training providers.

We prepared a paper for the university’s governing body outlining the relevant constitutional and statutory provisions, including the implications under charity law, staffing and pensions issues, and regulatory requirements.

A key issue was how the proposed group would fit within the university’s existing group structure. We set out a number of options for the new structure, including how to accommodate the existing (separate) multi-academy trust arrangements of the university and one of its proposed college partners.

The university and the college are now undertaking due diligence.

Our Other Education Services

Further Education

As a full-service law firm with a focus on the education sector, we’re able to tailor our service offering to fit your needs. Our track record speaks for itself. We’re proud to have education as one of our firm’s longest standing key sectors, acting for over 100 further and higher education institutions.


We understand that what is important to you is that your pupils be the best they can be. Each school and group of schools have their own culture and ethos, and we work with you to get to know your institution and to support you in achieving your aims.

Our Latest Updates

Our Higher Education experts are here to answer any questions you might have

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours

Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call use at the number below

Call Us: 0330 024 0333