In the case of voluntary and foundation schools, school property is usually held in trust by trustees for the purposes of the school. However, when the a school wants to sell or dispose of property, complex and difficult legal questions can arise, particularly if the property was gifted to the school.
Trustees must consider whether a requirement to pay compensation arises to either of the original donor or the descendants (i.e. where the School Sites Act 1841 and the Reverter of Sites Act 1987 may apply) or to the local authority under Schedule 22 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
This is a complicated area of law, and if trustees or the governing body of a school are faced with such a situation, it will be essential to consider these less known statutory provisions. In those circumstances there is no substitute for specialist advice, which should be obtained at an early stage. We can provide that advice and, if required, access specialist counsel in Oliver Hyams, one of the country’s leading experts on this (and other areas) of education law and with whom we act closely on such matters.
For more information please contact Richard Nixon or 0191 211 7924.