“Very committed and personable, she has a very good manner with clients and is excellent in court.” Chambers and Partners
“Anna is a top-quality advocate who always remains calm and in command of both the witness and the case. She has excellent judgement in inquiries, understanding how really to make a difference for her clients.” The Legal 500 2023
Anna is a public lawyer who specialises in education law. Anna advises on all aspects of education law from admissions to exclusions, special educational needs, educational negligence, discrimination, academy conversion, higher education disciplinary matters. She regularly appears in the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and High Court on education matters.
Between 2016 and 2022, Anna was one of the junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, working on the residential schools investigation, the Anglican investigation and as part of a team drafting the final report.
Anna has extensive experience of Court of Protection (COP) work, providing training on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and other aspects of the COP to local authorities and organisations. She regularly appears in both the Court of Protection and the High Court in deprivation of liberty cases.
Anna regularly advises on employment matters and appears in the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal. She is often instructed on employment matters which are related to educational institutions.
Areas of expertise
Anna is an education law specialist. She appears regularly in the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and High Court on education related matters. She also advises on all areas of education law, including special educational needs, disability discrimination, admissions and exclusions, educational negligence, school finance, matters related to academies, further education and higher Education. Anna also advises on teacher misconduct and referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service and the Teaching Regulation Agency.
Anna regularly provides training sessions for local authorities on special educational needs and discrimination.
Anna was a contributor to Richard McManus’ academic handbook “Education and the Courts”, the third edition of which was published in December 2012.
Cases of note:
- CM v Bexley  UKUT 215 (AAC),  ELR 413 - Important case on how costs should be calculated in special educational needs cases.
- CL v Hampshire CC (SEN)  UKUT 468 (AAC) - Special educational needs case on the degree of specificity required in a statement of special educational needs (now education, health and care plans). Anna successfully resisted the appeal on behalf of the local authority.
- Chapple v Suffolk County Council  EWCA Civ 870 - The Court of Appeal gave judgment on a local authority’s duty to provide the provision in a statement of special educational needs and the requirement for candour from a local authority when responding to an appeal in the Upper Tribunal.
- West Sussex County Council v ND & LD  UKUT 349 (AAC) - Case on the weight to be attributed to a young person’s wishes and feelings in a special educational needs case.
- B v Worcestershire C.C.  UKUT 292 (AAC) - Upper Tribunal decision on the approach to costs and section 9 of the Education Act 1996. Anna successfully resisted the appeal on behalf of the local authority.
- FC v Suffolk County Council  UKUT 368 (AAC) - Upper Tribunal case considering procedural unfairness in a special educational needs case. Anna successfully resisted the appeal on behalf of the local authority.
Court of Protection
Anna regularly appears in the Court of Protection, appearing for both local authorities, individuals, NHS trusts and the Official Solicitor. She has extensive experience of DoLS-related matters and has acted in many complex section 21A challenges with related Human Rights Act damages claims.
Cases of note:
- D (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1695 - This significant ruling by the Court of Appeal concerned the extent to which parents are able to consent to the confinement of their incapacitated children in light of Cheshire West.
- SL, Re  EWCOP 5 - Case on litigation capacity in which Anna represented P, by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor
- X v A Local Authority & Anor  EWCOP 29 - Whether P, who suffered from Korsakoff's syndrome, lacked capacity to make decisions as to residence, treatment and care plan.
Inquiries and Investigations
As junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) between 2016 and 2022, Anna has experience of all aspects of working on a public inquiry. Working on two of the investigation strands (residential schools and Anglicans (Peter Ball case study)), Anna was involved in scoping the investigations, advising on evidence, disclosure and other legal points, drafting requests for further evidence, advising on applications for core participant designation, analysing and reviewing documents, preparing hearings, questioning witnesses at the public hearings, analysing evidence, the warning letter process and drafting reports.
Anna is also part of the team drafting the IICSA final report.
Anna has also conducted investigations for schools and local authorities into safeguarding matters.
Cases of note:
- The Anglican Church Case Studies: 1. The Diocese of Chichester 2. - The response to allegations against Peter Ball Investigation Report May 2019 - This phase of the Anglican Church investigation examined two case studies. The first was the Diocese of Chichester, where there had been multiple allegations of sexual abuse against children. The second concerned Peter Ball, who was a bishop in Chichester before becoming Bishop of Gloucester. In 1993, he was cautioned for gross indecency, and was convicted of further offences in 2015, including misconduct in public office and indecent assault.
- Residential schools investigation, March 2022 - This investigation had several dimensions. A first phase focused on residential specialist music schools and residential special schools, where, for different reasons, pupils faced heightened risks of sexual abuse and there had been numerous allegations and convictions. It then examined a variety of other types of schools in which staff had been convicted of the sexual abuse of pupils, or in which serious safeguarding concerns had arisen. Separate to the investigative work undertaken in preparation for the phase one and phase two public hearings, the chair and panel asked counsel to the inquiry to prepare a written account regarding allegations of child sexual abuse at schools which no longer exist or are under new management. The account was prepared by counsel using the information gathered from a number of sources in relation to eight schools.
Anna has wide experience of all areas of employment law ranging from unfair dismissal cases, to TUPE and discrimination matters and has a high rate of success in the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. She has acted in a number of lengthy discrimination cases. Anna regularly advises employment solicitors acting for both individuals and large and small employers.
Anna has developed a specialism in education-related employment matters. She has acted in a number of cases for schools and local authorities defending discrimination claims.
Cases of note:
- Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council  UKSC 16 - The case was summed up by the majority of the Supreme Court as follows: “Ms Reilly, the head teacher of a primary school, is in a close relationship with Mr Selwood but it is not sexual and they do not live together. Mr Selwood is convicted of making indecent images of children. Ms Reilly has previously been unaware of his criminal activities. She fails to inform the school’s governing body of his conviction with the result that, when it learns of it, her employer summarily dismisses her. The Employment Tribunal (“the tribunal”) decides that, save in an irrelevant procedural respect, her dismissal has not been unfair. Should the tribunal’s decision stand?”
Anna acted for Sandwell MBC in the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Supreme Court. She was on maternity leave for the Court of Appeal hearing.
- Otobor V Croydon College & Ors (Practice and Procedure : Striking-out/dismissal)  UKEAT 0285_13_0609 - Anna was successful in challenging a decision to strike out the race discrimination claim of a lecturer.
- Bullock v. Norfolk County Council  UKEAT 0230_10_2401 - The Employment Tribunal did not err in holding that the claimant, a foster carer, was not a worker within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and 1999. Accordingly, she could not claim the right to trade union representation pursuant to section 10 of the Employment Rights Act 1999 at a meeting of a Fostering Panel which was to consider withdrawing her approval as a foster parent.
Anna represented Norfolk County Council at the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.