Education Law

Chen Palmer has a team of public lawyers specialising in education policy, funding and legal frameworks ranging from universities to kōhanga reo.

Chen Palmer has a long history of advising education organisations on public and employment law matters – ranging from early childhood to tertiary education. Mai Chen leads Chen Palmer’s education team, which comprises of Antonia De Maio, Leo Huang and Leo Donnelly, in policy, funding, legal and regulatory frameworks ranging across the education portfolio.

Our expertise includes:

  • Advising early childhood education centres in relation to ECE licences and compliance with the ECE regulations, Education Review Office reports, internal policy development, and matters relating to the early childhood education curriculum, Te Whāriki.
  • Advising schools regarding statutory interventions including Limited Statutory Managers and Commissioners, National Standards data and reporting, Education Review Office reports, New Zealand Curriculum, issues specific to special character schools.
  • Advising parents, schools and boards of trustees in respect of learner suspensions, expulsions and fair processes.
  • Advising all types of tertiary education organisations including private training establishments, industry training organisations, wānanga, universities, and institutes of technology and polytechnics subsidiaries.
  • Working with Māori and Pasifika – Chen Palmer has worked for many Māori education organisations including wānanga, kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa. We also specialise in providing advice on Pasifika education issues.
  • Working with Government departments including Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Immigration New Zealand, Studylink, and Education New Zealand.

Our previous work includes:

  • Discoveries Educare Target Road Limited and Others v Secretary of Education CIV 2020-404-749 & CIV 2019-485-560.
  • Universal Education Group Limited Trading as New Zealand National College 2018 v New Zealand Qualifications Authority CIV-2017-485-835 [2017] NZHC 2988 & 3245.
  • Board of Trustees of Phillipstown School v Minister of Education [2013] NZHC 2641.
  • Board of Trustees of Salisbury Residential School v Attorney-General [2012] NZHC 3348.
  • The Kōhanga Reo claim filed by the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust, WAI2336 (2012)
    (Waitangi Tribunal).
  • Attorney-General v Unitec Institute of Technology [2006] NZCA 317.
  • Unitec Institute of Technology v Attorney-General [2006] NZLR 65.
  • The Aotearoa Claim concerning Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, WAI 1298 (2005) (Waitangi
  • Manawatu Polytechnic & Anor v Attorney-General & Ors HC Wellington CP 324-97, 2
    September 1998.

Chen Palmer is a member of the Australia New Zealand Education Law Association. Leo Donnelly is a committee member of the New Zealand chapter of ANZELA.


Mai Chen:

Leo Donnelly:

Antonia Di Maio:

Leo Huang: