Emil Ford Lawyers


Upcoming Seminars/Conferences

TEN Schools Law Conference;   2 – 3 May 2019
Sheraton Hotel, Melbourne

David will be speaking on Financial Good Governance, Related Parties and Protecting Funding Arrangements



LawSense School Law Seminar for Business Managers;   23 May 2019
UTS, Ultimo

David will be speaking on Section 83 of the Education Act


Past Seminars/Conferences 

Association of School Business Administrators - Tasmanian Chapter - Professional Development Day

16 November 2018
Devonport, Tasmania

David Ford spoke on enrolment contracts, debt recovery, duty of care and LGBTI students.

TEN Schools Law Conference

26-26 October 2018
Palazzo Versace Hotel, Gold Coast
David Ford spoke on workplace investigations in schools with procedural fairness.
Further information is available on the TEN website.


ANZELA National Conference

2-4 October 2018
Rydges Esplanade Resort, Cairns
David Ford presented on workplace investigations beyond the Royal Commission.
Sarah Heydon presented on a school’s duty of care in the domain of cyberbullying.
Visit the ANZELA website for further conference details. 


The Educator Leaders Summit

17 August 2018
Dockside, Balcony Level, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney
Nathan Croot spoke on family law and parental conflict: dealing with curve-ball scenarios.
Further information is available here.


7-8 June 2018
International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
David Ford spoke on Duty of Care on school camps, excursions andrecreational activities.

Visit the EduTECH website for more information


LawSense: Law for School Business Managers

23 May 2018
Aerial UTS Function Centre, University of Technology, Sydney
David Ford presented on Enrolment Contracts Update: Addressing Specific Risk Areas to Optimise a School’s Position

Visit the LawSense website for more information.

TEN Schools Law

3-4 May 2018
Langham Hotel, Southbank, Melbourne
David Ford spoke on Conducting Workplace Investigations in Schools with Procedural Fairness.
Visit the TEN Schools Law website for more information.


LawSense: Law for School Counsellors

21 March 2018
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, 36 College Street, Sydney
Nathan Croot presented on Confidentiality, Privacy and Sharing Information - Balancing Student Wishes and Confidentiality with Professional and Employment Obligations.

Visit the LawSense website for more information.

LawSense School Law Conference

5 September 2017
Aerial UTS Function Centre, University of Technology, Sydney
Nathan Croot spoke on “Parental Conflict and Separation: Navigating your Duties, Obligations and Risks”.
Visit the LawSense website to register.

ANZELA Conference (Australia New Zealand Education Law Association)
3-5 October 2017
NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, Surry Hills, Sydney

David Ford spoke on “Safety at school for the transgender student”. Nathan Croot spoke on “Keeping students, staff and schools safe from bullying”.

Visit the ANZELA website for further conference details. 

Television Education Network School Law Conference
12 – 13 October 2017
Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast
David Ford spoke on “School Camps, Excursions and Recreational Activities: Duty of Care and Work, Health and Safety Laws”.
More information about this Conference will be available shortly on the TEN website.


Television Education Network School Law Conference
Thursday 27 and Friday 28 April 2017

David Ford spoke on Day 1 of the conference (Thursday 27th April), on the topic: School Camps, Excursions and Recreational Activities : Duty of Care and Work, Health & Safety Laws

When students leave the school premises to attend camps, outdoor activities and excursions, the risks increase. Understanding how to manage the risks is crucial. This session will look at what the risks are and what schools can do to manage them. It covers:

  • A school's duty of care
  • Risk Management
  • Use of external providers
  • Waivers and disclaimers
  • Insurance
  • WHS obligations and policies
  • Practical lessons from case law

Nathan Croot also spoke on Day 1 of the conference (Thursday 27 April), on the topic: School Liability for Bullying - What do schools need to do to avoid bullying claims?

Schools often go wrong with labouring over the terms of the policy and forget that the implementation is actually what counts. Failing to investigate, failing to keep the parties apart, and poor record keeping are just some of the issues. This presentation will look at the school’s liability and compensation issues when faced with a bullying complaint. It covers:

  • Identifying when bullying is occurring
  • Understanding the liability of the school:
    • What is the school's duty?
    • What is the scope of the duty?
  • When will the school have breached its duty of care
    • Compensation claims:
    • PTSD and other psychological injury
    • Physical injury
    • Damages for negligence
  • Bullying and discrimination claims – they often go hand in
  • Recent cases and what we can learn from them
  • Risk management strategies to deal with bullying
    • policies, procedures and implementation
  • Disciplining – do’s, don’ts and parental involvement

Download the Second Annual Schools Law & Regulation Conference brochure ... 


EduTECH 2017
7th June 2017 (Pre-event
Masterclasses) 8th &
9th June 2017

(Expo and Congresses)
International Convention
Centre, Sydney

David Ford spoke at the K-12 Business Manager Congress at EduTECH 2017 on “How schools can avoid litigation”.

Please visit the EduTECH website for more information and to register.


Legalwise School Law Conference
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
9.00am to 5.15pm
Primus Hotel, 339 Pitt Street, Sydney

David Ford spoke on LGBTI Students and Sexuality Issues in Schools.

Legal issues in dealing with LGBTI students: duty of care, discrimination and privacy
Practical issues and approaches:
- Toilets and change rooms
- Excursions
- Sport
- Uniforms
- School social functions
- Single sex schools

Nathan Croot spoke on Dealing with Aggressive Parents

Communication tips: How to answer curly questions
Can you expel a family?


The Educator: Education Law Masterclass
Thursday 27 October 2016
The Mercure Hotel, 818 - 820 George Street, Sydney

Nathan Croot, a Senior Associate at Emil Ford, was one of the speakers at this seminar for school principals and managers. His topic was "Parents behaving badly – What is your legal recourse?"

From actual or threatened violence to threats of legal action, parents can present a multitude of legal issues for school principals.

  • How far do the rights of parents actually extend?
  • When does bad parent behaviour constitute a breach of contract?
  • Implications of Romeo v Wesley College [2016] regarding legal risks relating to fee recovery
  • Parents with mental health issues – What discrimination laws apply in these cases?
  • Violent parents – What powers does a school have in dealing with extreme or threatening behaviour?
  • Overview of recent cases and settlements – How are the courts treating law suits against schools?
  • Parental misconduct, including defamation regarding schools and educators on social media.

Emil Ford Lawyers’ Special Counsel John Murn presented the opening remarks at this seminar. His topic was: "What does the future hold?"

As Australian society changes, school managers are being forced to grapple with a series of new legal challenges from cyber bullying and privacy to negligence, custody disputes and escalating parental expectations. Principals today need to walk a fine line between mitigating legal risks and fulfilling the duty of care to students (while also providing quality education).

  • What legislative reforms are on the cards for the future?
  • Cyber privacy issues – What does the future hold?
  • What will the legislative and regulatory landscape look like in 2026?
  • How will societal and technological trends impact on the schools of tomorrow?
  • Case law trends – How are the courts treating education matters?


Association of School Business Administrators (NSW and ACT)

26-28 September 2016
Canberra Grammar School

Nathan Croot spoke on Privacy in Practice on Monday 26 September 2016.


Lawsense: School Law NSW 2016
Morning and Afternoon Seminars

8 September 2016 & 13 September 2016

David Ford spoke at the afternoon session of this seminar. His topic was: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Students: a School’s Legal Obligations and Practical Matters to Consider.

Legal issues and LGBTI students:

  • duty of care
  • discrimination
  • privacy

Practical issues:

  • sport
  • toilets, change rooms and overnight excursions
  • uniforms
  • school social functions




Lawsense: Law for School Business Managers NSW 2016
Managing pressing legal issues for school business, administration, finance, operations, compliance and HR Managers

Tuesday 23 August 2016
8.45am – 5.15pm
The Grace Hotel, 77 York St, Sydney

David Ford spoke at this seminar regarding "The School Enrolment Policy and Contract"

  • Understanding key legal risks affecting enrolment: contract issues, family law issues, discrimination and privacy
  • Avoiding misleading statements in enrolment documents and dealing with potential liability when statements are alleged to be misleading
  • Understanding privacy obligations and enrolment: what information can be collected?
  • How can it be used or shared? What credit information can you obtain? What checks can you perform?
  • What steps should you take at the enrolment stage to help the school address family law issues?
  • Who can enroll the student?
  • Who provides permissions and emergency contacts?
  • Optimising the school’s position in debt recovery through the enrolment contract

Television Education Network
First Annual Schools Law and Regulation Conference
Thursday, 28 and Friday, 29 April 2016
Intercontinental Hotel, Melbourne

David spoke on Thursday, 28 April on the topic “The Principal and Board – An Essential Governance Dynamic”.

Request a copy of David's "The Principal and Board - An Essential Governance Dynamic" paper.


Lawsense School Law Seminar
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
The Pullman Hyde Park

David Ford spoke on two topics:

  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Students: Reviewing a School’s Legal Obligations and Practical Matters to Consider
  • Radicalisation of Students: Understanding the School’s Duty of Care, Dealing with Suspicions of Criminal Activity and Dealing with Police

**This event sold out! and was repeated on Wednesday, 1 June 2016 at the UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney


Joint Legal Conference

‘Managing Risk in Schools’

A joint conference between CIRCLE and Emil Ford Lawyers.

CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education is an executive agency in education, which works with over 1,750 schools and other organisations in Australia and beyond and draws on nearly 3 decades of consultancy, review, research, publication, training and development.

EMIL FORD LAWYERS is a legal firm that has specialised in providing legal services to the education sector throughout Australia for 30 years.

Date: Wednesday 28 October 2015
Time: 12:00 noon – 4:00pm (Lunch provided from 12:00 noon – 1:00pm)
Venue: UTS University Aerial UTS Function Centre, Building 10, Level 7, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo 2007, NSW (5 min walk from Central train station)
Who should attend: This seminar was designed for people who are in key leadership positions: Principals, Deputies, Heads of schools, Business Managers, HR Managers.

Conference Session Outline

1:00 – 1:10pm CIRCLE Introduction
1:10 – 2:30pm Emil Ford Lawyers

  • Managing Risks in Workplace Health and Safety - Are you an officer with duties under workplace health and safety laws?
  • Child Protection - How can a good child protection policy assist you manage risks in this area?
  • Deeds of Indemnity, Insurance and Access - Should you be a party to such a deed?

2.30-2.45pm Tea Break
2.45-3.30pm Emil Ford Lawyers

  • Managing Risks in Enrolments
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Fee Recovery

3.30-4.00pm CIRCLE

"Risk Management in Schools - 5 principles/strategies & characteristics of a school that manages risk" (interactive session)


Educate Plus NSW/ACT Chapter Conference
Date: Wednesday 5 August and Thursday 6 August 2015
Venue: Loretto, Normanhurst

David Ford and Mark McCrindle (social researcher and best-selling author) spoke during this conference on the topic “The 21st Century Household: what it looks like and its implications for enrolments”. They considered:

  • Household Structure
  • Older Parents
  • Role of grandparents
  • Split families
  • Mobile families

Mark examined what the 21st Century Household looks like and then David explored the implications for enrolments.

The combination of David’s legal knowledge and Mark’s expertise in social research ensured that this was a not-to-be-missed opportunity for executive and admissions staff to learn more about the ever changing face of the Australian family and how it affects enrolment policies and procedures.


Association of School Business Administrators (ASBA)
Professional Development Day 
(For ASBA Members)
Date:  Friday 12 June 2015
Venue:  Riverina Anglican College, Farrer Road, Wagga Wagga

Warwick van Ede spoke at this seminar for ASBA Members on the topic of Enrolment Contracts and Fee Collection.  Other topics covered on the day were:

  • Employee Relations
  • Governance and AIS Update
  • Fringe Benefits Tax
  • Marketing and Fundraising.

Follow this link for details on becoming an ASBA member.


Lawsense Law for School Counsellors
Date: 3 June 2015, 9.00am-5.15pm
Venue: The Grace Hotel, 77 York Street, Sydney

David Ford was the morning Chairperson at this seminar which was helping school counsellors, psychologists and wellbeing officers navigate legal issues and risks.

Topics of discussion included:

  • Navigating Family Law Issues and Understanding Court Orders and How the School Should Respond
  • Clarifying the Boundaries of a School Counsellor’s Duty of Care
  • Reviewing Key Confidentiality and Privacy Issues for School Counsellors and Practical
  • Approaches to Addressing them in Both Public and Private Schools
  • Dealing Effectively With Subpoenas, Obligations to the Court and Court Appearances
  • Outlining Best Practice Case Note and Report Writing to Address Legal Issues and
  • Risks - A Clinician’s Perspective

This seminar was primarily targeted at School Counsellors but would have also been of benefit to anyone working in the counselling/psychology field. 

Legalwise: School Law Seminar
Date: 27 May 2015, 9.00am to 5.15pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Sydney

David Ford spoke at this seminar on the topic of School Sport and the Law including:

  • Duty of Care
  • Parental behaviour: Do parents have a duty of care?
  • Child protection
  • Privacy
  • Racial discrimination
  • Drug testing

Lawsense School Law Seminar
Date: 29 April 2015
Venue: The Grace Hotel, 77 York Street, Sydney

David Ford was the morning chairperson at this seminar. Attendees heard from expert speakers discussing topics such as family law, handling students with behavioural issues, record keeping obligations, cyberbullying and various workplace/employment issues.


School Nurses Association of NSW Conference
Date: 19 January and 20 January 2015
Venue: Swissotel, 68 Market Street, Sydney

Nathan Croot was one of the speakers at this Conference. Nathan spoke on the topic of "law, confidentiality and school nurses".

LawSense Seminar: Law for School Counsellors
Date: 8 October 2014
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney

David Ford chaired this seminar at which Emil Ford's Nathan Croot was a speaker. Nathan's topic was "Reviewing Key Confidentiality and Privacy Issues for School Counsellors and Practical Approaches to Addressing them in both Public & Private Schools."

Seminar: School Law: Legal Challenges for Staff and Students
Date: Wednesday 11th June 2014
Time: 9.00am to 5.15pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney

David Ford spoke on the topic of School Discipline, including:

  • School Rules & Discipline Policies
  • Procedural Fairness
  • Suspension & Expulsion
  • Beyond the gate?
  • When to call the cops

Read a copy of David Ford's paper on School Discipline.


Lawsense School Law Seminar: Addressing pressing legal issues in schools
Date: Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Time: 8.45am to 5.15pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney

Nathan Croot spoke at this seminar on Privacy: Understanding the ‘New’ Legislation to Ensure You Legally Release, Collect and Retain Information

  • Determining who can and should have access to information
  • Clarifying what the ‘new’ privacy legislation says about access to and protection of student information
  • Examining privacy legislation and the impact on technology, access to and protection of student information and use of information by the school

David Ford was the convenor of a panel discussion of pressing legal issues for schools such as:

  • Managing family law issues at schools
  • What is the school’s responsibility for managing issues offsite and out of school hours
  • Discharging duties under Work Health and Safety, discrimination, privacy, child protection laws and the duty of care
  • Child protection in 2014
  • Managing student information

Panel participants:

Margaret Baker, Principal Legal Officer (Legislation and Policy), Legal Services Unit, NSW Department of Education and Communities
Ben Fogarty, Barrister, Denman Chambers
Gary Johnson, Principal, Cherrybrook Technology High School
Susan Bridge, Principal, Cheltenham Girls’ High School


EducatePlus Professional Development Day
Date: Wednesday, 9 April 2014
Venue: The King’s School, Parramatta

Nathan Croot spoke at the EducatePlus Professional Development day on the topic of Changes to the Privacy Act.

We are pleased to announce that we are now sponsors of EducatePlus (formerly ADAPE) which is a not-for-profit membership organisation of advancement and development professionals working in the education sector.

If you are interested in learning more about EducatePlus please visit the EducatePlus website.


ASBA Tasmania Professional Development Day
Date:  21 March 2014
Venue:  Community Christian Academy, Tudor Avenue, Newstead (Tas)

ASBA is the Association of School Business Administrators.  Nathan Croot spoke at their Professional Development day on the topic of Privacy.

To find out more about ASBA visit the ASBA website.


Australian Communities Forum
Date: Friday, 1 November 2013
Venue: Customs House, Sydney

Emil Ford Lawyers were sponsors of this one-day event which helps businesses connect and understand their community.

Attendees at this seminar were equipped with the latest trends redefining Australian communities with a focus on how to build, shape and engage your community in all their diversity.


UNSW School Law Update
Date: 31 October 2013
Venue: The Grace Hotel, 77 York Street, Sydney

John Murn of Emil Ford Lawyers was one of the speakers at this half day seminar. He was speaking on the topic - Dealing with very difficult customers: an overview of the law plus tips for avoiding the disproportionate diversion of resources and management time on difficult parents, staff or students.

John covered issues such as:

Problematic Parents: dealing with confrontation, violence and threats made to staff and other members of the school community, beyond the AVO.
Stressful Staff: managing the unmanageable, mental health issues, serious allegations
Stultifying Students: extreme challenging behaviours, engaged in serious crimes, previously expelled.
Tips and guidance: when to call your legal advisor, the police or a psychologist.

ANZELA Twilight Seminar
Date: Thursday, 29 August 2013
Venue: The Auditorium, Bishop Barry Centre
St Andrew's Cathedral School

Nathan Croot of Emil Ford Lawyers spoke about “New Privacy Legislation: How to prepare for the changes". The other topics discussed were "Harassment and Bullying - How the current law can impact on schools"


The first national Bullying, Young People and the Law Symposium
Date: 18-19 July 2013

At this Symposium, arranged by the National Centre Against Bullying, David Ford participated with a group of pre-eminent legal experts who met in Melbourne to explore the increasing need for comprehensive and new national laws to address bullying and cyberbullying.

David spoke about the potential liability of schools and teachers to students who are bullied, examining what the courts have been saying about what amounts to a breach of the duty of care in this area. He was also on a panel of academics from Queensland University of Technology, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, James Cook University and the Australian Catholic University who are all involved in a current research project into bullying and the law.  Emil Ford Lawyers are partners in this project.

Click here to read the resulting recommendations from the first national Bullying, Young People and the Law Symposium.


The Association of School Business Administrators (QLD) Inc
Professional Development Seminar (and General Meeting)
Date: Friday, 7 June 2013
Venue: Ipswich (Queensland)

David Ford spoke at this seminar presenting on the topic of Legal Issues for Schools.


Legalwise School Law Seminar
Date: Wednesday 12 June 2013
9.00am - 1.15pm
Venue: The Grace Hotel, Sydney from 9am to 1.15pm

David Ford chaired this seminar at which Nathan Croot of Emil Ford Lawyers presented on the topic of 'New' Privacy Legislation - How to prepare for the changes.

Other presentations were made on the following topics:

  • Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying – Your Increased Obligations
  • OH&S Issues: Latest decisions
  • Family Law – Schools’ legal obligations in this area
  • Managing Social Media in Schools – Where does the law stand?


School Nurses of NSW Annual Conference
Dates: 21-22 January 2013
Venue: Swissotel, Sydney CBD

Emil Ford Lawyers' spoke on the topic of “Legal Issues in Nursing” at this conference.  The talk covered duty of care, child protection and confidentiality obligations.  The theme of the conference was “School Nursing – A Clinical Approach”.


ANZELA Annual Conference
Dates: 3-4-5 October 2012
Venue: Sudimo Hotel, Rotorua

2012's Annual conference of Australian & New Zealand Education Law Association (ANZELA) was held in beautiful Rotorua.

The theme of the conference was Woteva nxt! Legal and Social Challenges in Education.


The Bursars Association of NSW Inc 2012 State Conference
Dates: 4-5-6 October 2012
Venue: The Illawarra Grammar School, 10-12 Western Avenue, Mangerton

The theme of this conference was "Business Matters". There were several industry experts presenting on relevant topics including our own Nathan Croot who spoke about Enrolments and Debt Collection.

Other topics included:

Dealing with challenges of the Business Manager;
BYOD & the Cloud;
The fundamentals of connecting with people;
Human Rights - should we care?
Updating the world.
For further details or to register download The Bursars Association of NSW Inc 2012 Program and Registration Details.


Christian Schools National Business Conference 2012
Dates: 19-20-21 September 2012
Venue: Hilton, Adelaide

David Ford presented a workshop on Crisis Management: the legal considerations and Nathan Croot conducted a workshop on Privacy in Schools. 


ANZELA Queensland Chapter Conference
Date: 10 August 2012
Venue: Presentation Area, First Floor, Lavalla Centre, 58 Fernberg Road, Paddington (Brisbane)

David Ford spoke at this one day conference. His topic was Counselling and Confidentiality. The rest of the program was interesting and varied covering other issues such as Human Rights Education: the integration of human rights education
in the national curriculum and the Australian Human Rights
Commission's work in this area, Social Media & more.

ASBA Tasmania State Conference
Dates:  2-3 August 2012
Venue:  Launceston Country Club

David Ford spoke at this Conference (held by Association of School Business Administrators)on the topic of Crisis Management - Legal Considerations.


Duty of Care For Teachers
Dates:  Various!
Venues:  Near and Far

David Ford has been travelling far and wide spreading the word about Duty of Care for Teachers.  He has discussed this topic with teachers at:

  • Kormilda College, Darwin
  • Good Shepherd Lutheran College, Darwin
  • Barker College, Sydney.


Adape (Association of Development and Alumni professionals in Education) NSW Professional Development Conference
Date:  29 March 2012
Venue:  Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney

Nathan Croot presented a workshop on Dealing with families of special needs during the enrolment process at this conference where he discussed some of the main legal considerations when enrolling special needs children.  This included what statements should be added to the application form and enrolment contract, and when it is okay to say no.


The Association of Independent Schools of NSW Limited
Masterclass Series - Enrolment
Date:  Thursday 22 March 2012, 9.00am - 12pm
Venue:  AIS Conference Centre, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney

A range of legal and industry experts provided pragmatic advice to schools on various topics concerning Enrolment. David Ford made a presentation on Pursuit of Debts under the Enrolment Contract.

Legal Issues in Schools
Date:  Tuesday 27th March 2012, 1.30pm-5.00pm
Venue:  The New South Wales State Legal Conference
                SMC Conference Centre,
                Corner of Goulburn and Castlereagh Streets, Sydney

In this seminar, chaired by David Ford, general issues relating to schools were addressed by Alex Kohn. He reviewed some recent cases involving a number of relevant issues for the education sector including duty of care.

Des Kennedy SC gave a presentation on bullying and related issues focusing on a recent Supreme Court decision of Schmidt J in Oyston v St Patrick's College.

Margaret Baker considered concerns and procedures relating to preparing a school for litigation.

Greg Walsh spoke on litigating school assault and abuse cases.

Linton Morris SC addressed the difficult area of mediation in school related legal issues.

UNSW School Law Update
Date: Thursday 26 May 2011, 8.30am - 1.00pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney

This seminar was aimed at providing schools and their advisors with essential information for managing legal obligations, risks and liabilities. David Ford spoke about School Sport and the Law.

Click here for a copy of David Ford's paper on School Sport and the Law.

Legalwise School Law Seminar
Date: 1 June 2011, 9.00am - 1.15pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney

David Ford made a presentation on School Counsellors and Confidentiality:

The duty of confidentiality and privacy
When is disclosure allowed?
Other speakers were:

Karen Conte-Mills, Barrister, Arthur Phillip Chambers
Topic: Families, Conflict, the Court and the School: Practical Advice
Terry Manns, Senior Investigation Officer, Employment-Related Child Protection Team, NSW Ombudsman
Topic: Investigating Teacher Misconduct
Margaret Baker, Senior Legal Officer, NSW Department of Education and Training
Topic: Surviving the Litigation Process: Strategies for Schools
Neale Dawson, Director, Federation Law will chair the session.


2011 New South Wales State Legal Conference
Dates: Monday 28th, Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st March 2011
Venue: SMC Conference Centre, Cnr Goulburn & Castlereagh Streets, Sydney

David Ford chaired a session on Legal Issues in Schools on Tuesday 29th March 2011 (Session 22). The keynote presentation was given by Alex Kohn. He addressed the implications of legal action against schools, teachers and all those connected with the education system.

Mark De Carvalho spoke on: "Educational/Academic Negligence - What does it involve? What is needed for a successful suit in such an action?"

Des Kennedy spoke on the legal obligation of schools to prevent harm to their students and ways and means for schools to prevent such harm.

Robert Sutherland presented a paper: "Sexual Abuse Claims against Teachers: Tendency or Coincidence?"

The session concluded with an open forum chaired by David Ford.


ANZELA Twilight Seminar & AGM
Date: Tuesday, 8th March 2011 at 4.45 (AGM) 5.00 - 6.00 pm (Seminar)
Venue: The Auditorium, Bishop Barry Centre, St Andrew’s Cathedral School,
Ground Floor, 51 Druitt Street, Sydney

With Special Guest Speaker: Megan Mitchell - Commissioner for Children and Young People

Attendees heard directly from the Commissioner for Children and Young People what the future holds for the Commission in relation to schools and teachers.

2010 ANZELA Conference
Dates:  Wednesday 29 September - Friday 1st October
Venue:  NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills

This conference was a great opportunity for teachers, school principals and others who have an interest in education law to connect with each other and gain valuable insight into current education law issues.

David Ford, together with Andrew Knott and Professor Sally Kit, hosted a symposium on cyberbullying. The question “Is the law part of the solution to the problem of cyber bullying occurring in schooling contexts?” was discussed on Friday 1st October in the afternoon. This interactive session sparked some interesting discussions. The symposium was chaired by Professor Patrick Parkinson of the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney. Patrick is a specialist in family law and child protection and has authored several books in this and related areas.


Australian Charity Law Association Annual Conference
Dates:  Friday 10th - Saturday 11th September 2010
Venue:  Novotel Brighton Beach, Sydney

This Conference was a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in charity law to network and learn about the latest legal issues faced by charities.

David Ford presented on the topic of "Tax issues of Schools, School Building funds and Public Ancillary funds - scholarship funds".


Legalwise School Law 2010
Date: 4 June 2010
Venue: Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, Sydney

David Ford presented a paper on the topic of Managing the Risks in Off-Campus Activities. His talk covered issues such as:

The duty of care; a non-delegable duty;
The standard of care, foreseeability and probability;
Practical guidelines and principles and the risk management process;
Can the risks be managed? 

Click here to view David Ford's seminar paper "Managing the Risks in Off-Campus Activities".


Date: 26 May 2010 at 3pm

David Ford presented a workshop on current tax implications that are relevant to school and university fundraisers, particularly relating to capital works, scholarships and bursaries. Main issues discussed were:

Maintaining your DGR funds
Building, Library and Scholarship funds
What is a gift?
Undue influence and gifts
Tax effective structures for donors

UNSW School Law Alert 2010
Date: 20 May 2010 at 8.30am - 1.00pm
Venue: Grace Hotel, 77 York Street, Sydney

David Ford presented on the topic of "Parents in Education", covering such issues as:

What if they mislead the school?
Do they have a duty of care to their children?
Can they take discipline of other children into their own hands?
Are they free to sound off about teachers?
Can they come and go as they please? 

Click here to view David Ford's seminar paper "Parents in Education".


National Centre Against Bullying Conference 2010
Navigating the Maze:  Cybersafety and wellbeing solutions for schools
Venue:  Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
Date:  8-10 April 2010

David Ford, Sally Kift and Andrew Knott presented a workshop on Cyberbullying. 

Targets of face-to-face bullying have increasingly turned to the law for redress, and it is likely that targets of cyberbullying will seek to do the same.  Generally, the law struggles to keep apace with advances in technology and cyberbullying is no diffferent.  This presentation explored the application of legal responses to cyberbullying in schools and examined how effective the law was likely to be for prevention and intervention, in its criminal, civil, and employment aspects.  It also looked at the reasonable steps a school should take to minimise the risks of students and teachers being bullied in cyberspace.  

Ways Youth Services
Youth Forum 2010 - "Cybersafety and Bullying"
Venue: WAYS at Bondi, 63a Wairoa Avenue, Bondi Beach
Date: 25th March, 2010 between 10am-11am

David Ford presented an information session on Cybersafety and Bullying. The forum was an interactive and fun exploration of the topic so that the knowledge gained was able to be applied by students in their day to day lives.


Association of School Business Administrators Conference 2009
5-9 October 2009
Venue: National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia

David Ford presented the topic “Handling Future Legal & Risk Management Directions”.

ANZELA Twilight Seminar
Tuesday, 24th November 2009, 4.45-6.00pm
Venue: Sydney Grammar School

Dr Marilyn Campbell, Associate Professor of the School of Learning and Professional Studies (QLD University of Technology) presented a talk on Cyber Bullying in Schools.

ANZELA 18th Annual Conference
(Australia & New Zealand Education Law Association)
30 September - 2 October 2009
Venue: Victoria University Conference Centre, Melbourne, Victoria

Garry Pritchard and David Ford both spoke at this conference. Garry's presentation was on the topic “Business Continuity Management for Schools” and David presented on the topic “Managing the Risks in Off-Campus Activities”.

 “The theme (of the conference) focussed on the nature and types of risk involved in education generally and in particular in schools, tertiary institutions and policy. New areas such as sport, construction, employment law and ICT were included to reflect the ever changing challenges facing educators and administrators in this context.”

School Law Update 2009
Date: 25 June 2009
Venue: Grace Hotel, 77 York Street, Sydney

David Ford was one of the presenters at this School Law seminar. His topic was the Enrolment Contract and he covered:

  • Misleading & deceptive conduct;
  • Contract with whom?;
  • The application form;
  • Steps before making an offer;
  • Disability discrimination issues;
  • Terms of enrolment contract dealing with “helicopter parents” confiscation/searching student possessions, use of images;
  • Interest on unpaid fees;
  • Privacy issues;
  • Family law issues.

Other seminar topics were:

  • Navigating the Intellectual Property minefield;
  • Effect of Wood Commission on Privacy and Employment;
  • Changes to the Child Protection regime following Wood Commission;
  • Bullying in schools - the limits of liability.


NSW Ombudsman Symposium 2009
Dates: 25-26 May 2009
Venue: Mercure Hotel, 818-820 George Street, Sydney?

David Ford was one of the presenters at the NSW Ombudsman Symposium in May 2009. David’s topic was Practical Issues for Investigators. He dealt with several issues that often arise in the course of investigations of allegations of reportable conduct against employees in schools. These include:

  • The extent to which the formal rules of evidence should be applied - it is easy to say they do not apply but does this mean they have no application at all?
  • The degree to which the investigator must be satisfied before making a finding of sustained or false - what does the burden of proof really mean?
  • How to deal with allegations of incidents which are said to have happened many, many years ago? Are the recollections of witnesses reliable? Are there recovered memories? Are there sincerely held but false memories? Can such allegations ever be sustained?
  • Whether and how to take into account prior allegations or findings of misconduct - are they relevant to the investigation or simply prejudicial to the person against whom the allegation has been made?
  • How to distinguish negligence from neglect - when is an allegation of neglect reportable conduct?
  • How exhaustive must an investigation be? Should the investigator follow up every lead? Is it appropriate to ask about the cost benefit when investigating allegations of reportable conduct? 


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