We acted for a Multi Academy Trust who has expertise in special educational needs, particularly on the autistic spectrum including Asperger’s. We advised the Trust in relation to a series of increasingly vexatious complaints and claims made by the parents of a pupil.
The pupil at the centre of the complaint was involved in a serious physical altercation with two other pupils, resulting in the pupil being hospitalised. The other pupils were dealt with in accordance with statutory guidance and the Trust’s existing policies. The parents were unhappy with the Trust’s approach so raised a formal complaint against the Trust and issued a data subject access request (SAR) on behalf of the pupil. The firm advised on the complaint and advised on nuanced data protection issues arising from the SAR.
Both had to be carefully handled due to an on-going police investigation into the incident. The parents later issued a complaint to the ICO and contacted local media. We provided legal advice on the Trust’s media strategy. When the parents became abusive towards particular members of staff, the firm advised on steps the Trust should take to protect its staff. The parents intimated damages and discrimination claims against the Trust, but due to successful management of litigation risk throughout, these claims were disposed of. The team worked closely with the Trust’s governing body and executive team throughout. Due to the array of different claims and complaints brought by the parents, expertise from across teams in the firm was required, from litigation to data protection and education law. We therefore helped our client reduce the litigation risk and we prevented adverse media coverage.