Schools’ Legal Update 2023

Schools’ Legal Update 2023

Legal Island, alongside the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), bring together the top lawyers working in education and experts in employment law to update school leaders in Ireland on the most important developments you need to understand before 2024.

The teaching profession is becoming a more difficult job year on year. Problems with the behaviour of pupils, rising expectations of parents and increased class sizes and budget cuts have all combined to often produce a marked deterioration in a Principal’s working life experience.

Join us for an exploration of the unique challenges facing educationalists. Discover how to attract and retain talent and build a resilient and inclusive school culture.

From recent case law to emerging data protection and technology requirements, our comprehensive and topical programme ensures Principals are equipped with knowledge and tools to mitigate risks and avoid costly mistakes.

Get involved in dynamic discussions, connect with like-minded leaders, and leave equipped with actionable insights to safeguard your school's future during these challenging times.

Who is this event for?

This practical seminar will be particularly valuable to school Principals, Vice Principals and other school leaders, including teaching unions.

Why should you attend?

In the quickly changing landscape of employment law, understand what implications recent legislation and case law have for school policies, have time to explore challenging issues with our experts and your peers and be brought up to date on data protection, technology and topical issues within schools.



Schools’ Legal Update in Ireland 2023 




Get to Know Us

Familiarise yourself with the functions of our online event to ensure you maximise return on your investment. Julie Holmes, Legal Island, welcomes delegates to our 2023 event.  

Welcome and Introduction

 Paul Crone, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD)  

NOTE: all the following sessions are being recorded and delegates will be sent links after the event for all recordings, which can be viewed until the end of the academic year and used for revision or staff training purposes.  


Ogier’s Schools' Employment Law Update 2023 

The year since our last update in December 2022 has seen the development of many new laws relating to employment, several through case law decisions of our superior courts. Bláthnaid Evans, Partner and Head of Employment and Corporate Immigrationat Ogier explains what these developments mean for schools as employers in Ireland. In particular, Bláthnaid will discuss:   

  • Sick Leave Act 2022 
  • Work Life Balance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 and WRC – the right to request flexible working, domestic violence leave, extension of breastfeeding breaks etc.  
  • The EU (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 
  • Protected Disclosures Amendment Act 2022 
  • Auto-Enrolment Retirement Savings Scheme Bill 2022 

This session includes 15 minutes for Q&A. 

NOTE: This session will consist of what our speaker considers to be the most important developments in employment law relevant to school leaders at December 2023 and may differ from the above topics.  

Comfort Break 

A&L Goodbody’s Schools’ Data Protection and Technology Round-up 

Technology has many benefits in demagogy but many drawbacks when incorrectly used or when it seemingly interferes with a school’s ability to properly teach or govern. In this session, Duncan Inverarity, Partner and Head of A&L Goodbody's Employment Law group considers these technology-related issues in Ireland’s schools: 

  • Use of CCTV in investigations 
  • Increased cyber-security threats to your school  
  • AI – The rise of ChatGPT 
  • The risks of online searches of potential employees 
  • Latest data protection case law  

This session includes 15 minutes for Q&A. 

NOTE: This session will consist of what our speaker considers to be the most important developments in data protection law relevant to school leaders at December 2023 and may differ from the above topics. 

Comfort Break 


Education Law and Developments Round-up 

Dr Claire O’Connor BL,is recognised as one of Ireland’s leading barristers in the area of education law. In this session, Claire runs through key education law issues that impact on most schools in Ireland, including: 

  • Admissions to School Act 2018
  • Education (Inclusion of Persons) Bill 2023
  • Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 (expulsion)
  • Civil Liability (Schools) Bill 2023

Implications for practice of the above legislation and caselaw including how to approach school policies and implementation of policies in light of the changes.

This session includes 15 minutes for Q&A. 

NOTE: This session will consist of what our speaker considers to be the most important developments in education law relevant to school leaders in December 2023 and may differ from the above topics.  

14:10 – 14:55 


Performance Achievement - Delivering High Standards Among Staff 

Educationalists are expected to uphold high standards to protect themselves, their students and their schools. When there are issues, it’s important for relationships to remain professional, even when working on personal or difficult issues to ensure the school is protected from complaints and bad PR.  Trying to juggle your staff management responsibilities with everyday demands is a delicate balancing act which can impact on employee morale, retention and your bottom lineIn this session, Michelle Halloran, Principal Consultant at MHRS Ireland looks at: 

  • Your legal responsibilities in relation to recruitment  
  • Effective management of the probation period 
  • Performance management of teaching staff 
  • Case studies outlining common pitfalls  

This session includes 15 minutes for Q&A. 

15:00 – 15:45 

Navigating Beyond Andrew Tate's Influence and Promoting Positive Masculinity 

How concerned should educators be about the problematic influence of people like Andrew Tate on Irish boys and men? Young people have questions about Tate’s messages, his values, and his deplatforming, and if we sit back and hope he’ll be forgotten, we run the risk of allowing his views to fester and develop in the minds of young peopleIn this session, Colm Kelly Ryan, Head of Programmes & Advocacy from White Ribbon Ireland considers the legal and ethical obligations in protecting students and staff by: 

  • Your legal obligation to provide a safe workplace, free from bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination.  

  • Opening conversations to protect students and employees from extreme views, including misogyny and hate speech;  

  • Identifying practical steps to take when issues arise to protect students and staff and minimise risk of costly claims; 

Closing remarks from Paul Crone 



  • Bláthnaid Evans
    Bláthnaid Evans Partner & Head of Employment Practice

    Bláthnaid has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, having trained in one of the leading trade union / employee firms and subsequently working in a top 5 law firm.

    She advises on all contentious and non-contentious issues, with substantial experience in advising clients before all employment law forums including the WRC, Labour Court and High Court for employment-related injunctions.

  • Claire O'Connor BL
    Claire O'Connor BL BEd. (DCU), MEd. (UCD), ARIAM, DipLS, Barrister at Law, PhD (DCU)

    Claire O’Connor is a practising barrister for twelve years and specialises in the area of Law and Education.  Additionally, she lectures in the Honorable Society of Kings Inns on the Barrister-at-Law Degree Programme where she is also one of the course co-ordinators for the Advanced Diploma in Law and Education. Claire also serves as an elected member of Dublin City Council for the Pembroke area.

    In 2012 Claire completed her Ph.D. in the area of Constitutional Law for which she was awarded a Government of Ireland Scholarship.  Her thesis is entitled 'An examination of the constitutional, legal and policy position of parents as partners in primary education in Ireland'.  She holds the degree of Masters in Education from University College Dublin.  Claire has guest lectured in NUI Maynooth, Trinity College, Dublin City University, the Law Society and Griffith College.   She began her career as a primary teacher and taught for seven years in Ireland, Spain and Australia. 

  • Duncan Inverarity
    Duncan Inverarity Partner, Head of Employment Law Practice Group
    A&L Goodbody

    Duncan is Head of A&L Goodbody's Employment Law Group and has practiced exclusively in the area of employment law and industrial relations in multiple jurisdictions. Duncan advises public and private sector employers on both contentious and non-contentious matters. He advises Boardrooms across Ireland and abroad on strategic and complex employment and industrial relations matters. Duncan also specialises in crisis management for clients and has advised on some of the most high profile corporate issues in Ireland. Duncan regularly appears for clients in the Workplace Relations Commission, the Circuit Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Duncan also acts for partnerships in mediated settlements and in proceedings in the High Court.

  • Michelle Halloran
    Michelle Halloran Trainer
    Halloran HR Resolutions Ltd

    Michelle Halloran is an experienced Human Resource Management professional and an accredited workplace mediator providing training and consultancy services to organisations nationwide, in the Public and Private sector. She has spent a long career originally in executive and general management roles, then specialising in Human Resources management in Ireland, the UK and Europe, across various sectors including investment banking, information technology, manufacturing and services plus some time in the public sector, before starting her own HR consultancy business 17 years ago. Her key areas of expertise are in workplace investigations, disciplinary and performance management and employee relations, and the practical application of employment law in a HR context.

    Michelle originally graduated in Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin and spent the early part of her career developing software for the investment banking sector from which she was promoted into a series of senior executive and management positions in the financial services sector.

    She then worked in HR Management for high profile multi-nationals such as Abbott Laboratories, American Power Conversion and Thermo King, as well as assisting start-up companies to develop the “human” component of their businesses.

    Michelle holds a Masters degree in management, and she is a Chartered Member of the CIPD, whose objective is to promote best practice in management training and development here and in the UK. Michelle was also awarded with top marks the NUIG Foundation Diploma in Training and Education, which is the nationally recognised qualification for business training providers.

Event details


9.15am - 3.45pm


07 December 2023




Standard Rate: €245

Save an additional €20 when you pay with a card when booking online!