The education sector presents its own unique challenges.

Simpson Grierson has the expertise to deal with those challenges, with extensive experience advising schools, universities, other tertiary institutions and early childhood education providers on a range of legal matters.

We have leading expertise in Board of Trustee obligations, the investigation of complaints, disciplinary processes, enrolment issues, and all other obligations under the Education Act.

Our employment lawyers can assist with drafting and reviewing employment and contractor agreements, as well as policies for staff.

Our expertise also extends to privacy matters, as it relates to staff, students and parents.

We have considerable experience providing advice on general tax compliance matters and issues relating to concessionary tax treatment, including Charities Act registration and related matters.

Our experience also includes assistance with sale and purchase agreements, building consents, construction projects, leases and providing comprehensive advice on development proposals.

We are a proud supporter of Independent Schools New Zealand.

Work Highlights

Workforce management

Our employment and public law lawyers support educational organisations across the sector to manage and maintain a high-performing workforce.

We have drafted and reviewed employment agreements for numerous secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

We have helped independent and state schools with staff issues, including matters of discipline of teachers and dealing with the schools' responsibilities to the NZ Teachers Council.

We have represented the University of Auckland at the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court in relation to personal grievance claims, fixed term employment issues, health and safety, academic freedom and collective bargaining issues.

We also assist with issues unique to the sector, for example advice on boarding staff sleepover arrangements and compliance with the rest and meal break legislation, the Minimum Wage Act and Holidays Act.

Student discipline and claims

Examples of our wide range of work include assisting schools with recovery of outstanding school fees, search and retention (in relation to students and their property) and enrolment disputes.

We have also represented schools in disciplinary situations and processes, and have advised on bullying and sexual harassment allegations and investigations.

Charity and tax law advice

We have assisted schools and other educational institutions with Charities Act 2005 registration and compliance issues, and have assisted with the establishment of registered educational charities such as Manaikalani Education Trust, the Ako Hiko Charitable Trust and Roots of Empathy New Zealand.

We have also provided tax advice, and in particular advice regarding charity tax concessions, to various schools and to Independent Schools of New Zealand. In the vocational education space, we also advise organisations such as The Skills Organisation group on charity and tax matters.

Major projects in the tertiary sector

We work across the sector on major projects, ranging from construction developments to technology procurement, outsourcing arrangements and commercial joint ventures.

Our recent clients include the University of Auckland, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, AUT, Victoria University and Massey University.