School Law

School Law practiced with wisdom

From navigating complex legal structures to managing sensitive disputes, schools face a range of legal challenges. Neumann & Turnour has a dynamic team of lawyers with knowledge and experience in school law that can help schools navigate this complex legal landscape. We understand that schools are communities which are the hubs of numerous relationships and transactions. Additionally, we understand that it is not always feasible to formally regulate all of those interactions. Rather, some arrangements require formal structuring, while others need to be flexible and informal. 

Our team of experienced lawyers can work with you, strategically and innovatively using the right tools to find the right legal balance. We can help you structure relationships that are binding yet flexible and providing ongoing support to ensure legal compliance. Therefore, we can help school stay ahead of the curve, adapting to changes in the legal and educational environment while maintaining integrity in their operations. You can trust us to help your school thrive in a challenging and constantly evolving landscape.

What makes School Law different?

Independent schools are communities in which students, families, teachers and staff develop rich social bonds and networks. These communities form shared traditions, culture and often religious beliefs that can continue to rally alumni networks for decades. Hence, a school’s reputation and identity is often formed around these bonds. Yet lawyers often try to reduce this network into a prescriptive set of legal documents.

Often, this doesn’t work. It is not possible to plan for everything that will happen in advance. Because of this, we have spent time identifying alternative legal approaches to these kinds of issues. Therefore, we provide services that strike the necessary balance between legal certainty and practical flexibility. Additionally, we work with you to explore the best way to make arrangements work in your context. This is because we know that schools already have enough compliance obstacles without needing to self-impose more and create additional risk. 

What makes us different?

Independent schools are often part of networks that have access to excellent resources prepared by experts that have mastered the fundamentals of legal compliance in the education sector. Therefore, you should take full advantage of those resources and the expertise of those who have developed them to ensure that your compliance framework is well supported. Furthermore, if you intend to deliver a traditional educational program through a standard school structure, you will save money and time making use of those resources to set your compliance foundations in place.

However, our expertise will be beneficial when:

  • the systems you have in place are not working for you
  • you are developing a different approach to delivering an educational or extra-curricular program or are considering a different kind of structure
  • disputes or investigations are taking longer than they should to be resolved
  • you need help to upskill your team or enhance your systems
  • regular systems have grown stale and would like to consider a fresh approach.

There are three main reasons that we are well placed to serve you in these circumstances:

We serve you independently

We work for schools. Although we like to contribute alternative ideas and differing points of view on legal issues in various forums, our primary focus is on providing high quality and highly customised advice to schools. Consequently, we are not tied to a particular way of working and are able to give bespoke advice that meets the specific needs of each school that engages us.

We are innovative

Your particular situation gets our full focus. Accordingly, we can develop a unique approach to accomplishing the outcome you need. While we value of the solutions we have developed for others, our focus is on the solution you need now. Thus, once we are engaged, we strive to continually improve and develop better strategies, structures and outcomes for each task you bring to us. This means that you can have confidence that the work we perform leads on innovation and specifically meets the needs of your school.

We see the big picture

Your priority as a school is to educate students. Consequently, we want to make that task, and all of the responsibilities it entails, as easy for you as possible. To do this, we identify your priorities and aim to make the pathway to accomplishing them as short and direct as possible. Additionally, we do not allow distractions to get in the way of your objectives and either avoid them or deal with them as quickly as possible. Therefore, your priorities become ours.

To speak to one of our school lawyers about developing policies for your school, compliance reviews, dispute resolution or complaint handling and investigations, please fill out the form below to arrange a consultation.

Legal Services

Our school lawyers have extensive experience assisting non-state schools to navigate the following areas of school law:

Accreditation and registration, including Non-State Schools Accreditation Board matters

Commercial dealings, including:
– Contract drafting and review
– Governance; and
– Constitutions and Legal Structures.     

Enrolment contract drafting and review 

Family law issues

Review of policies and training in:
– Complaint handling
– Codes of conduct
– Safety
– Uniforms
– Social media
– Use of facilities and
– Privacy.

Tax deductible funds, including for:
– School Buildings
– Libraries and
– Scholarships/Bursaries.

Discrimination complaints and policies

Property matters, including:
– Purchasing
– Leasing or
– Disputes.

Employment law matters

Managing Investigations (both internal and external)

Dispute Resolution, including:
– Litigation
– Complaints handling and investigations and
– Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Advice in relation to Charitable Trusts.

Key Contacts

Dr Matthew Turnour

Nathan Rieck

Chris Mills

Ben Maxwell

Make an appointment with one of our highly experienced Lawyers regarding your School needs today.