Advanced Diploma in Law and Education

Course available through blended / online distance learning.

This course will provide a comprehensive overview of law and education, with a focus on both domestic and European law in the area.

Many laws impact the day–to–day running of schools, from admissions policies, to liability for negligence, to the place of religion in the classroom. In the modern educational environment, it is essential that principals, assistant principals, teachers of all levels and those in management positions are familiar with this legal matrix. This diploma will provide participants with a comprehensive practical knowledge of the law as it relates to the provision of education in Ireland.

Delivery will be on a limited number of weekends over the course of one academic year, with classes presented by leading experts. Course participants will take part in large and small group sessions in which the law will be applied directly to classroom practice and school management.

Delivered via blended learning and with most sessions recorded, this course will be accessible to students regardless of their geographical location and attendance in person will be optional for many classes.  

Free parking and refreshments will be provided for participants.

Course Start Date: Friday 27 September 2019

Application Deadline: Applications for 2020/2021 will open in April.


  • Introduction to the Legal System and Stakeholders in Education
  • The Law of School Management
  • Children’s Rights
  • The Rights and Responsibilities of Teachers


Lectures will be recorded and students on the course will be able to stream these recordings at a time of their choosing, provided they have an Internet connection.


Friday 27 September

5pm – registration for students attending lectures in person.

6pm to 8pm – Dr Claire Hogan BL: Introduction to the Irish Legal System 


  • Public Law v Private Law
  • The Separation of Powers
  • Explaining the Hierarchy of Legal Norms
  • The Irish Constitution
  • Case law and the Concept of Precedent
  • Legislation
  • EU Law
  • The Status of International Law in Ireland
  • The European Convention on Human Rights

Saturday 28 September

9.30am to 1pm – Prof. Gerry Whyte, Trinity College DublinKey Stakeholders in Education 


  • Analysis of key constitutional articles relating to education 
  • Analysis of constitutional partners in education 
  • Landmark education cases involving constitutional law

1pm to 2pm: Lunch break

2pm to 3.30pm: Small group session/tutorial 1


2. LAW OF SCHOOL MANAGEMENT – 22/23 November 2019

Friday 22 November

6pm to 7.15pm – David Ruddy BL: Law of School Management 


  • Law of School Management:
  • Management Structure of Schools
  • Supervision and Substitution
  • Deployment of Staff
  • Standardisation of the School Year
  • School Attendance
  • Function of Department of Education and Skills Circulars

7.15pm to 8.30pm – Dr David Fennelly BLData Protection

  • Overview of Data Protection issues relating to schools

Saturday 23 November

9.30am to 11am – James Kane BL: Enrolment, Discipline and Section 29 Appeal


  • Role of the Board of Management
  • Enrolment Policy and Decisions
  • School Discipline – section 24 Education Welfare Act 2000
  • Section 29 Appeals
  • The Role of the Courts in Enrolment and Disciplinary Actions

11am to 11.30am: break

11.30am to 1pm – Dr Claire Hogan BL: Religion in the Classroom


  • International Human Rights Law; UN and ECHR Case Law
  • Relevant Constitutional and Legislative Provisions
  • School Ethos
  • Admissions Policies 
  • Religious Symbols

1pm to 2pm: lunch break

2pm to 3.30pm: Small group/tutorial 2

3. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS – 31 January/1 February 2020

Friday 31 January 

6pm to 6.45pm – Dr Claire Hogan BL: Introduction to Family Law 


  • The Concept of Guardianship
  • Different Family Forms
  • Impact of the Breakdown of Parental Relationship
  • Disputes in Decision–making between Parents
  • Involvement of Schools in Family Law Proceedings

7pm to 8.30pm – Catherine Ghent, Partner, Gallagher Shatter Solicitors: Child Welfare: The Paramount Concern


  • International Promotion of the Rights of the Child
  • The Constitution and the Rights of the Child
  • Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011)and the Children First Act 2015
  • The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012
  • Garda Vetting

Saturday 1 February 

9.30am to 11am – Dr Dympna Glendenning BL: The Rights of a Child with a Disability / Special Needs


  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Key Constitutional and Legislative Principles concerning Disability
  • Landmark cases: O’Donoghue and Sinnott
  • The role of the SNA
  • The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004
  • The Disability Act 2005

11am to 11.30am – break

11.30am to 1pm – Dr Claire O’Connor BL: Negligence and Occupiers’ Liability in Schools


  • The Duty and Standard of Care
  • The Concept of the Prudent and Reasonable Parent
  • Avoiding Litigation by Engagement with Planning and Policies
  • Managing Risks in Schools
  • Assessments and Safety Statements
  • Minimising Liability under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995

1pm to 2pm – lunch break

2pm to 3.30pm – Small group session/tutorial 3


Friday 3 April

6pm to 8.30pm – Tom Mallon BL: Overview of Employment Law Issues in Schools


  • Key Employment Legislation
  • Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act . 2005
  • Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015
  • Major Cases involving Teachers

Saturday 4 April

9.30am to 11am – Louise Beirne BL: The Regulation of Teachers


  • Teaching Council Act, 2001 Commencement of Part V of the Teaching Council Act 2001
  • Grounds for Complaint
  • Investigation of Compliant
  • Fitness to Practice Inquiries
  • Role of the High Court

11am to 11.30am – break

11.30am to 1pm – Nuala Butler SC: Anatomy of a Case – Stokes v Christian Brothers high School Clonmel


  • The Factual Background
  • The Main Legal Issues in the Case
  • Arguments Advanced by Parties
  • The Role of School Policy in the Litigation
  • Reasoning of the Court
  • Results of the Case
  • Future implications of this Case
  • Brief Overview of Subsequent Case Law (if appropriate)

1pm to 2pm – lunch break

2pm to 3.30pm – Small group session/tutorial 3


On completion of the course, students should be better able to:

  • examine the legal framework in which education is carried out and consider its implication for school practice
  • identify legislation pertinent to schools and evaluate its effect on practice
  • describe and explain the current legal issues affecting schools
  • describe and explain key principles of Education Law and the legislation, case law and constitutional provisions on which these principles are based
  • differentiate between different causes of action against schools
  • identify legal and practical issues arising in the context of a factual scenario involving schools and litigation
  • apply Education Law to a variety of factual scenarios.


Classes will take place at King’s Inns from 6.00pm–8.30pm on each of the above Friday evenings and from 9.30am–3.30pm (approx.) on each of the above Saturdays.

Students on the course will attend large group sessions / lectures on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, and small group sessions / tutorials on Saturday afternoons.

All large group sessions will be recorded for the benefit of distance learners.  


Assessment will be via two take home assignments, to be completed on an individual basis; 

  1. Assignment 1 will be given out at the end of Module 2 and will be worth 40% of the marks; 
  2. Assignment 2 will be given out at the end of Modular 4 and will be worth 60% of the marks for the course.

The first assignment will have a word limit of 2,500 and the second will also have a word limit of 2,500.

Students will also be asked to take part in group work and presentations during the course; this work will not count towards the assessment but is an important part of the course.  


The course will be suitable for: principals, assistant principals, bursars and teachers working in both primary and secondary education; persons involved in school management; anyone involved in school–level education in Ireland. 


Fees can be viewed here


Applications are made here.


The coordinators of the course are Dr. Claire O’Connor BL and Dr. Claire Hogan BL. 

Lecturers include

  • Nuala Butler SC
  • Tom Mallon BL
  • Dympna Glendenning BL
  • David Ruddy BL
  • Louise Beirne BL
  • James Kane BL

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Mary Brady

“The Advanced Diploma in Law and Education offered by King’s Inns is a necessary tool for any person involved in management in education in Ireland today. This course has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to deal with many issues in a confident and informed manner. The study of the modules in this course develops a deep understanding of the contemporary challenges for school management, informs of legal obligations, provides an opportunity to study relevant case law, and provides a solid foundation for best practice and robust policy formation.” (Class of 2017–2018)

Mary Brady, Primary School Principal

Mary Jo Delaney

“I would strongly recommend the Diploma in Law and Education at the King’s Inns for a number of reasons. The course content was detailed, very informative and focused for all levels of the professional spectrum in Education. The delivery of the content by inhouse and guest lecturers was very engaging, helping place the connectivity of Law and Education firmly in the everyday practice of a school. Finally, the structure of the course across four different weekends and the online resources, meant it was very manageable while working full time.” (Class of 2017–2018)

Mary Jo Delaney, Primary School Teacher