Advanced Diploma in Law and Education

This course will be available via blended learning.

Starting in September 2017, 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 22 September 2017

Application Deadline: Unfortunately this course is now fully subscribed. The application form for the 2018/2019 course will be available here in early 2018. Register your interest using the below form and we will notify you when we are accepting applications for 2018/2019. 


  • 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.


Introduction to the Irish Legal System

  • Public Law v Private Law
  • The Separation of Powers
  • Explaining the Hierarchy of Legal Norms
  • Domestic and international / supranational sources of law

Key Stakeholders in Education

  • Doctrine of Constitutional Interpretation
  • The Role of the Department of Education and Skills
  • Autonomy of the Board of Management
  • Statutory Function of the Principal
  • The Role of the Parent
  • Schools and Patronage
  • Balancing the Key Stakeholders

2. LAW OF SCHOOL MANAGEMENT – Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November 2017 

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

Data Protection

  • Overview of Data Protection issues relating to schools

Enrolment, Discipline and Section 29 Appeals

  • 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

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

3. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS – Friday 26 and Saturday 27 January 2018

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)
  • Key legislation
  • Garda Vetting

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
  • The role of the SNA
  • Key legislation 

Religion in the Classroom

  • Relevant domestic and international provisions and case law
  • School Ethos
  • Admissions Policies
  • Religious Symbols

4.  RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF TEACHERS – Friday 13 and Saturday 14 April 2018

Employment Law Issues in Schools

  • Key Employment and other Relevant Legislation
  • Major Cases involving Teachers

The Regulation of Teachers

  • Teaching Council Act, 2001 Commencement of Part V of the Teaching Council Act 2001
  • Complaints and Fitness to Practice Inquiries
  • Role of the High Court

Anatomy of a Case

  • The Factual Background, legal issues, arguments, reasoning of the court
  • The Role of School Policy in the Litigation
  • Future implications


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 have a word limit of 3,500.

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
  • Fiona Quigley BL


Please fill in the below form if you would like to receive email notifications alerting you to when more information is available relating to this course for 2018/2019.


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