Advanced Diploma in Law and Education

Course available through blended / online distance learning.

Since Covid–19 restrictions came into force on March 12, this course was delivered 100% online through our accessible Virtual Learning Environment. Read about the recent changes here

King’s Inns will continue to offer this course online for 2020/2021 until it is safe to deliver in person as well on campus. Attending classes in person will be optional. 

We know social interaction with fellow students, lecturers and visiting speakers is an integral part of the King’s Inns experience and once a safe opportunity presents, we will invite students back on campus.


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, home school liaisons, 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.


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

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

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


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


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


The course is delivered over four weekends throughout one academic year, with classes presented by leading experts from the education and legal sectors. Each weekend comprises of a Friday evening lecture from 6.00pm–8.30pm and attendance on a Saturday from 9.30am–3.30pm (approx.). Students on the course will attend large group sessions / lectures on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, and small group sessions / tutorials on Saturday afternoons. Students are given an opportunity to directly apply their learning to their working realities in tutorials ensuring that students share their experiences and reflect on how the law affects them in a practical way. 

Course Start Date: Friday 25 September 2020 (provisional) 

Application Deadline: Wednesday 2 September 2020

This course is available via blended online learning, with classes recorded using e–learning software and made available to students for streaming via our Virtual Learning Environment. This means that, while all students are welcome to attend class in person, all sessions are recorded so that students who are based outside Dublin or who are otherwise unable to attend can view the material by streaming their class at any time. 

All class notes are available online before lectures take place. Online tutorials and IT support are available to help students navigate their way through our Library and legal resource databases. 

Complimentary parking and refreshments are provided for participants attending in person.

Please note that the schedule below is provisional.


Friday 25 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 26 September 

9.30am to 1pm – Prof. Gerry Whyte, Trinity College Dublin: Key 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 – x/x November 2020 

Friday x 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 BL: Data Protection

  • Overview of Data Protection issues relating to schools

Saturday x 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 – x January/x February 2021

Friday x 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 x 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 x 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 x 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


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.  


Total cost of course: €2,350.

Fee structure can be viewed here

BL graduates who are subscribing members to King’s Inns receive a 10% discount on this course. Click here for more information.


We are now taking applications for this course. 

Apply here

There is no admission requirements for this course. Your place on the course will not be secured until payment is received in full. 

Payment can be made through the application portal using your credit / debit card.

If your employer is paying for your studies, you will require a PO number, the name and email address for the person responsible for payment in your organisation. The invoice will issue directly to the person whose details you enter. You will also be able to download a copy of the invoice through the application portal.

Receive notification when more information is available


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