4th Annual Education Law Conference: Managing Legal Risk

Session ID: 183NZW02
Date: Friday, 02 March 2018
Time: 09:00am - 05:15pm
Venue: The InterContinental Wellington, Level 1, 2 Grey St, Wellington

Face to face


Standard $715.00


Session Content

Date: Friday 02 March 2018
Time: 9.00am to 5.15pm
Venue: InterContinental Wellington, 2 Grey Street

Attend and earn 7 CPD hours

The school executive must be prepared to deftly handle any number of potential crises. On any given day you may be put to the test and asked to protect vulnerable students, work with police enforcement, navigate precarious privacy and online issues that seem to evolve every day, keep bullying in check and maintain the safety of students and staff alike. The legal risks arising from each of those situations are real and serious. Prepare yourself to be able to handle any and all of them by gaining the sage guidance of legal experts.

Session 1: Students at Risk and Your School's Obligations

Chair: Kaylene Macnee, Principal, Pinehaven School

The Vulnerable Children Act and Implications for Schools

  • Overview of the Act and Children's Action Plan
  • Educators as members of Child's Action Networks
  • Implications for boards of trustees as employers

Presented by Carolyn Heaton, Partner and John Goddard, Associate, Morrison Kent Lawyers

Working with Police when a Child Discloses, the Family Court Process in Child Protection Cases and the Vital Role of Schools

  • What to do you when a child discloses or you suspect abuse
  • Immediate responsibilities and obligations
  • Post-incident procedures
  • School child protection policies
  • Oranga Tamariki and the family court process
  • Schools working with lawyer for child
  • Family group conferences and the school's important role

Presented by Shelley Stevenson, Barrister and Natasha Allan, Detective Senior Sergeant, National Coordinator Child Protection, National Sexual Violence & Child Protection Team, National Criminal Investigations Group

Settle or Sue? Historic Abuse Claims in the Education Context

  • Dealing with the current Government-run settlement process: what it involves, how it is run, what to expect as an outcome, and some comments from past claimants
  • The litigation alternative: determining the defendant, possible causes of action, the court process, Legal Aid, and the difficulties of litigating historic claims
  • In search of a better process: the need for independence and transparency, lessons from other jurisdictions, and reflections on what the future holds for historic claims in New Zealand

Presented by Sonja Cooper, Principal and Courtney McCulloch, Associate, Cooper Legal

INSIGHTS FROM THE EDUCATION COUNCIL: Prevention is Better than Cure: Using the Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession as a Positive Tool

  • The new Standards and the appraisal process: resources available from the Council
  • How our practice evaluators assess competence: the evidence we need from you
  • The Code: What defines a teacher as a professional?
  • Using the Code and Tribunal decisions to maintain professionalism

Presented by Julia McCook-Weir, Lead Lawyer, Education Council

Session 2: Privacy, Safety and Employment Risks in Schools

Chair: Adam Lewis, Barrister, Harbour Chambers

The Privacy Act: What Employers and Educators Need to Know

  • The rise of privacy: recent trends
  • A practical outline of your key legal obligations
  • Understanding your risk and tools for managing that risk
  • Likely reforms: guidance for the future

Presented by Hamish Kynaston, Partner and Jennifer Howes, Senior Solicitor, Buddle Findlay

Citizenship Online: Blurred Boundaries or Clear as Mud?

  • The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015
  • Current digital challenges and risks affecting schools
  • Managing and preventing incidents
  • Developing a proactive approach to online safety and digital citizenship

Presented by Anjie Webster, Education Advisor and Ben Thomas, Legal Advisor, NetSafe

Bullying in an Education Law Setting

  • What is bullying? Useful definitions
  • Guidance from WorkSafe
  • Guidance from legislation
  • Overlap with:
    • Health and safety obligations
    • Employment obligations
    • Student care obligations
  • Options for addressing the issues effectively
  • Potential liabilities for Schools and Boards

Presented by Geoff Davenport, Partner, McBride Davenport James

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

  • Obligations and liability for principals, teachers, boards of trustees and students
  • Mental health and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Health and safety outside the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: regulations, guidelines, contract and the common law
  • Putting in place a policy framework for health and safety

Presented by Peter Cullen, Partner and Chris Scarrott, Lawyer, Cullen - The Employment Law Firm


Chair: Kaylene Macnee

Kaylene Macnee is principal of Pinehaven Primary School, a contributing school with a roll of 270 students. Having never really left school, Kaylene moved straight to teaching from secondary school and has enjoyed a teaching career of 22 years that spans across all levels of the primary and intermediate sectors, both in New Zealand and London. Kaylene is currently President of the Wellington Primary Principals Association, a role that has enabled her to be involved in networks beyond her local school and area, including Ministry of Education forums and reference groups. This role also requires Kaylene to chair and facilitate a range of sessions, always focused, and wherever possible, with a few laughs along the way. Kaylene is keenly interested in networking with colleagues and learning with others as we face the challenges provided by our roles as principals. Having previously attended a Legalwise Seminar, she is keen to learn alongside participants in the role of chair for part of the seminar.

Carolyn Heaton

Carolyn Heaton is a dispute resolution and litigation lawyer with experience in all areas of education and employment law. She regularly represents clients, including school boards, in employment disputes, at mediations and before disciplinary tribunals, the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court. She also conducts civil and commercial litigation in other fora, including the District and High Courts. Carolyn is on the Board of Trustees of Tawa College.

John Goddard

John Goddard's expertise is in insurance law, employment law and dispute resolution. He has represented clients in mediation, arbitration and litigation. John's employment law experience includes assisting and advising clients regarding personal grievances, employment agreements, restructuring, complaints, misconduct and health and safety matters.

Shelley Stevenson

Shelley is an experienced family lawyer based in Wellington, New Zealand. She specialises in all aspects of family law and has special interest in relationship property and cases involving Oranga Tamariki. She is regularly appointed by the Family Court to represent children in parenting disputes and child protection cases. Earlier in her career Shelley was a youth advocate, criminal defence lawyer and civil litigator and has worked in family law since 1995.

Natasha Allan

Natasha Allan is the National Co-ordinator Child Protection based at Police National Headquarters. Twenty two of her 25 years within the Police have been spent working in the Criminal Investigation Branch. Natasha has a broad range of criminal investigation experience, with extensive knowledge and experience in Child Abuse. She was the officer in charge of numerous complex and serious Child abuse investigations. Prior to her current position Natasha was an Investigations trainer at the Royal New Zealand Police College. In this role she was responsible for delivering the residential Detective training courses, giving support to district investigations training as well as ongoing development of teaching resources for investigators. In her current role she is responsible for providing advice and support to Child Protection teams in applying policy, guidelines and protocols associated with Child Protection, she leads Child Abuse training for NZ Police, having oversight of the Child Abuse Investigators course and facilitates the Advanced Child Protection courses for senior staff. She also provides expert advice to partner agencies and government as required.

Sonja Cooper

Having begun her law career working in some of New Zealand's larger firms, including Russell McVeagh and Kensington San, Sonja began her own practice in 1995, and is now the Principal of Cooper Legal. Sonja was a District Inspector of Mental Health for nine years. Sonja was a member of the New Zealand Youth Justice Committee for some years, as well as local Law Society Committees. Sonja works in a number of litigation areas, including medico-legal, privacy, accident compensation, and general civil litigation. Sonja and her team are part of a small group of lawyers who are developing the law in historic abuse claims. Sonja manages and oversees a very large number of civil claims relating to social welfare, educational, religious, and psychiatric institutions. In that context, Sonja has particular expertise in tort law, the Limitation Act, NZBORA, equitable remedies and damages issues. Sonja has a strong focus on human rights issues, access to justice, and the resolution of disputes. Sonja has recently completed her LLM, and is currently writing her doctoral thesis, focusing on New Zealand's response to the historic abuse claims.

Courtney McCulloch

After starting her career at a general practice law firm, Courtney joined Cooper Legal in June 2009, and became an Associate of the firm in 2015. Cortney's main area of expertise is in the historic claims context, where, in particular, she manages the claims related to religious establishments and educational facilities, as well as working on a large number of social welfare claims, progressing these through to out of court settlement, or to trial. Courtney also undertakes work in relation to claims against DHBs and ACC, and other medico-legal issues, as well as other claims in the educational area. Courtney is currently writing her Masters thesis, focusing on how the Courts deal with legal disability, in the historic claims context.

Julia McCook-Weir

Julia McCook-Weir is the Lead Lawyer at the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. She provides legal advice to the organisation, including the Complaints Assessment Committee and the Competence Authority. Previously Julia worked in the Police legal team. She has also worked in various roles at the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, been an instructor for law graduates completing the 'Professionals Course' and worked in private practice specialising in criminal and family court advocacy.

Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis has been a Barrister in Harbour Chambers for 13 years. He has previously worked in New South Wales, England and for a large Auckland firm. He specialises in health and education law, acting for a range of professional regulatory bodies and on behalf of professionals interacting with their professional regulators or disciplinary bodies. In the education law context, he is an external legal advisor to the Education Council and has acted for CACs in numerous cases before the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal.

Hamish Kynaston

Hamish has over twenty years' legal experience and specialises in employment relations, dispute resolution, health law, health and safety, privacy, human rights and education. Much of Hamish's work is in the central government, health, education, sport, financial services and energy sectors. He is recognised for his practical approach, and has a particular interest in assisting employers to resolve complex issues quickly, effectively and in a way that does not result in litigation or reputational damage.

Jennifer Howes

Jennifer advises on a full range of employment and health law issues with particular expertise in privacy, official information law and ensuring compliance with minimum entitlements legislation (such as the Holidays Act 2003). She enjoys assisting public and private sector organisations navigate complex privacy issues, including those relating to the use of information technology and social media in the workplace. Jennifer regularly attends mediation on behalf of clients and has appeared in the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and District Court.

Anjela Webster

Anjela Webster is an Education Advisor at Netsafe and has worked in schools and leadership roles for over 25 years. In this time Anjela has taught across all school sectors from ECE to Secondary. Most recently she completed her M.Ed with a focus on young people, privacy, and the supports available to help them navigate challenges and opportunities online.

Ben Thomas

Ben Thomas is the legal adviser at Netsafe. Previously a policy advisor at the Ministry of Justice, he contributed to the development and implementation of the Harmful Digital Communications Act. Ben also worked as a banking and finance lawyer and secondary school teacher.

Geoff Davenport

Geoff Davenport is a partner with McBride Davenport James. Geoff joined the firm in June 2000 and became a partner in September 2001. He acts for a wide range of employers (both public and private sector), unions and employees. He acts for several Tertiary Education providers and secondary school boards, on the full range of employment law issues, including addressing bullying within these environments, which is the topic of today's presentation. Geoff has more than 24 year's specialist employment law experience. He has also published the leading text on good faith collective bargaining under the Employment Relations Act, and is on the Editorial Board of Mazengarb's Employment Law Bulletin

Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen studied at Victoria University in Wellington where he was President of the Students' Association in the 1970s. He worked at what was then Bell Gully & Co., as a Law Clerk and Office Solicitor, and then worked for the Law Reform Division of the Justice Department. Following that Peter worked at the employment coalface as an industrial advocate. He returned to the practice of law in 1990 and established Cullen - The Employment Law Firm in 1994 and continues to direct it as a partner. The firm is a specialist employment law firm with a wide range of employer and employee clients.He convened the Wellington District Law Society Employment Law Committee from its inception until 2004. He has represented clients before the various employment institutions including the Court of Appeal. Peter is currently the President of the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce. He is additionally a member of various national committees including the Council of Business Central, Business New Zealand, and The New Zealand Law Society Employment Law Committee. Peter is currently the Honorary Consul for Colombia as well the Vice President of Latin American New Zealand Business Council. Peter hosts the Cullen Breakfast Club which is attended by many prominent members of Wellington's diplomatic and business community. Peter speaks at seminars throughout the year sharing his insightful knowledge of employment law. Media frequently seek his advice on employment and industrial law issues, and he has been a columnist for The Dominion and later The Dominion Post for many years

Chris Scarrott

Born and raised in Hawke's Bay, Chris Scarrott graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 2014 with an LLB and a BA and joined Cullen in April 2016. Prior to joining Cullen Chris worked for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as a Client Service Advisor. In that role Chris gave advice to members of the public on residential tenancy issues and information on employment matters. Chris' work for MBIE in the employment area reignited an existing passion for employment law and provided a thorough grounding in the employment legislation. Chris is focused on providing thorough advice and practical options for both employers and employees.

Venue Details

The InterContinental Wellington

Level 1, 2 Grey St
Wellington 6011

Ph: 64 4 47227722


Limited valet parking available at NZ$20 per day. Additional parking

available at Wilson Parking with NZ$5 per half hour and NZ$22 for


The Intercontinental is a 2 min walk from Lambton Quay which

has a number of buses going to airport and suburbs. It's a 10 min walk to

the nearest train station.

Taxis are also available downstairs at the hotel entry.

Parking is not included in the registrartion fee and price is subject to


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"Excellent, very thought provoking with great notes to reference later"

Delagate - Public Law and Local Government – Auckland, March 2017


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