Right to Education

Right to Education

Members of Doughty Street Chambers have a long history of representing individuals seeking to access or continue in education. Doughty Street has been involved in ground-breaking cases that have helped to ensure that both children and adults have access to education, no matter what their background.  This has included working to ensure that the quality of education given to all is reasonable; that everyone has fair access to education; that the law surrounding education is clear; that disability does not prevent anyone from continuing to be able to learn and that educational institutions continue to provide education to all.

We were involved in the landmark case Phelps v London Borough of Hillingdon where the House of Lords, for the first time, imposed a duty of care in tort on education professionals, ensuring that a legal remedy exists when a pupil or student suffers personal injury and/or economic loss as a result of negligent educational services.

Doughty Street barristers asked the Supreme Court to consider whether or not education was a substantive and enforceable fundamental right under UK law in A v Essex County Council. We argued that a young severely autistic child unlawfully excluded from a special school and left out of the state education system, without any effective provision or care for the next 18 months, was entitled to damages for a violation of his right under Article 2 of the 1st Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Members of chambers also specialise in ensuring that children with special educational needs are given the necessary assistance to enable them to learn. We are very active in protecting the rights of those aged 19-25, an area of the law often neglected, and have achieved notable successes in many settlements that have led to state funding of specialist residential placements in the independent sector for vulnerable young adults.

For more information about Doughty Street’s work in this area please see our education law team page.