Oxfordshire County Council’s legal team can provide top-class legal advice, helping you maintain your school as a centre of excellence.

The legal services we can provide

Often, you’ll know in advance what sort of legal assistance you might need, but occasionally, problems may occur that require immediate help. All schools and academies must ensure that they have adequate legal cover in place for all eventualities. Not just as a legal necessity but also to avoid having finding help in an emergency, which can be extremely costly and stressful.

We can provide you with the following legal advice and services.

Contracts and procurement law

Drafting and advising on contractual issues and related procurement matters.

Send your enquiry to legal.contractsteam@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Disability discrimination claims

Including advice and attendance at special educational needs tribunals.

Send your enquiry to general.litigation@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Child protection

Where out-of-hours advice might be required on children who are at risk.

Initially, contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0800 833 408.

Employment law

Your responsibilities as an employer include advice and guidance on compliance with employment legislation, mediation of employment disputes, and managing Employment Tribunal claims.

Send your enquiry to general.litigation@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Property law

Including leases and land transfers, title deeds of premises, boundary disputes, planning, encroachment, rights of way, and easements across property.

Send your enquiry to conveyancing.team@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Planning and highways

Including planning, encroachment and rights of way.

School admissions

Including legal advice to the school or academy.

Contact Richard Hodby

Managing pupil behaviour

Particularly in relation to exclusion, parenting contracts, and school attendance orders.

Send your enquiry to general.education@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Parental complaints and behaviour

Including advice to governing boards and seeking injunctions or taking forward prosecutions for trespass.

Send your enquiry to general.education@oxfordshire.gov.uk.


With neighbours and suppliers.

Send your enquiry to general.litigation@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Data protection, freedom of information, and access to educational records

Support and advice.

Contact the Access and Disclosure Team (01865 815885).

Where we cannot act

The only area in which we cannot act is in the unlikely event of a conflict of interest. For advice on anything not covered above, contact Diane Surman (Legal Practice Manager). 

Why have your legal cover with us?

Oxfordshire County Council’s legal team is made up of committed and experienced solicitors, each of whom has specialist knowledge. When you contact us with an issue, you can be assured that you are receiving the very best in legal advice.

While solicitors in private practices might claim the same, working with us has clear benefits. We have:

  • many years of experience in advising schools on all kinds of legal issues
  • an excellent understanding of the role of the local authority and the interplay with academies
  • broad experience of working for public-sector organisations and the particular problems they encounter
  • significantly cheaper rates than private practice as we don’t aim to make a profit from our work
  • considerable experience of providing bespoke training.

How to sign up to our legal services

We can start working for you as soon as you have entered into an agreement with us. First you will need to sign our service level agreement. Contact Shirley Bevan, Office Manager (01865 328577) for a copy of the form.

How to pay for our legal services

Maintained schools

When you contact us for legal advice, we will start to charge for our services with a journal transfer via SAP. We charge schools our reduced in-house rate of £95 per hour.


When you contact us for advice, we will start to charge for our services and then invoice you quarterly. We charge academies our reduced external rate of £168 per hour (plus VAT).

For any questions or concerns about finance, charges or invoices, you should contact Diane Surman, Legal Practice Manager (01865 323949).