Education services play a major role in Australian society as well as contributing significantly to the economy through international student exchange. The range of education providers include both public and privately funded universities, schools (state and non-state), child care centres and registered training organisations.

Carter Newell provides the full spectrum of legal services to the education sector and those that service it, from acquisition and development of greenfield sites to management of claims, all benefiting from our deep knowledge of the regulatory and commercial overlays that impact this key Australian industry.

A major focus of our team is with a focus on supporting clients such as schools, colleges and universities, faith organisations, childcare centres, community organisations and not-for-profit associations in defending a broad spectrum of claims.

The education sector is exposed to general liability claims for personal injury and property damage as well as the most high profile and sensitive claims under directors’ and officers’ and professional indemnity insurance policies.

The Carter Newell team understand that in some matters of this nature, compassion and reputation is paramount and that an appropriate outcome need not always align with a commercial outcome. It is important to consider the diversity emanating from the educational, social and religious philosophies that operate. Incidences of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, are increasing with social media playing a significant part such that claims, current and historical, are on the rise. Carter Newell advises on the necessary practices and policies to mitigate these issues in the course of managing claims of this nature.

Within this sector our experience extends to providing core business operations advice across employment matters, workplace relations and safety, along with speciality advice in relation to privacy and management of data. Our team has extensive and experience advising the sector in relation to commercial business aspects including leasing, business purchase/sale for listed and private companies, specialty management and consultancy agreements and construction and infrastructure claims in addition to planning and approvals.

Recognised expertise


Acted for a private childcare operator in the sale of over 20 centres over a three year period, netting proceeds in excess of $75 million, to a variety of acquirers including ASX listed industry participants and financial investors.


Acting in defamation claims involving religious organisations and schools, which frequently involve mediating between members of those organisations in order to negotiate a cost effective resolution and avoid prolonged litigation and adverse publicity.

School construction

Prosecuted litigated recovery proceedings in relation to the construction of a large school building.

Social media

Advised a secondary school sports association on workplace health and safety, privacy, and policies and procedures for student privacy due to issues arising from incidents including inappropriate photographs of students being taken during sporting events.

Staff entitlements

Acted for a large secondary college in defence of an education union supported prosecution for underpayment / failure to pay employee entitlements to a former Department Head, with additional legal complications between the parties being the non-payment of school fees.

Students and teachers

Acted for a leading private boy’s school with respect to a claim brought against the school by a former student in which the student sought to hold the school responsible for the sexual abuse that he suffered at the hands of a former teacher of the school. The teacher had been convicted of independently dealing with boys and therefore the issue was whether the school knew, or ought to have known of the teacher’s proclivities.

Related services and sectors

Publications and Presentations