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The Education Law Team at 30 Park Place are delighted to present its Welsh Education Law Conference 2021, covering nine areas of insight for local authorities, the general public, schools, health authorities and lawyers – including the impact of new legislation.

The annual conference usually takes place in person but this year, due to the current Covid-19 restrictions governing events in Wales, Legal News Wales supported chambers in hosting the event online split across two lunchtime sessions in June 2021. Both WELC 2021 sessions are available to watch, anytime, below.

Programme & speakers

(Full speaker profiles are listed below)

Day one: 16th June 2021

  • Overview of the new legislation  what has come into force and when it will be implemented: Laura Shepherd, Barrister, 30 Park Place
  • The new legislation – what schools have to do – including fee paying schools: Melissa Jones, Barrister, 30 Park Place
  • The new legislation – what local authorities have to do: Laura Shepherd, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Watch Part 1 here:

Day two: 23th June 2021

  • The new legislation – what education professionals have to do (ALNCOs and EPs): Melissa Jones, Barrister, 30 Park Place
  • The new legislation – what parents have to do: Abla O’Callaghan, Barrister, 30 Park Place
  • The new legislation – what FEs have to do: Michael Imperato, Partner & Head of Public & Administrative Law, Watkins & Gunn
  • The new legislation – what health authorities have to do: Abla O’Callaghan, Barrister, 30 Park Place
  • The new Education Tribunal regulations: Mark Allen, Barrister & Head of the Education Team, 30 Park Place.

Watch part 2 here:

WELC 2021 was hosted online with the support of Legal News Wales.

Speaker profiles

Mark Allen, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Mark is highly experienced in difficult high profile and high value cases as well as cases with vulnerable clients. He prides himself on being a friendly, approachable and very patient barrister – necessary when dealing with these cases. He remains aware of the anxiety caused to clients by the proceedings / dispute and is conscious of the need to save costs as far as possible, sometimes by thinking out of the box.

Mark’s practice sits predominantly across South and West Wales and into border counties in England.

He is Head of the Education Team and sits across Wales conducting Tribunal Hearings. Mark is also fully qualified to carry out advocacy work on a direct access basis. Click here for his full profile.

Michael Imperato, Head of Public & Administrative Law, Watkins & Gunn

Michael is a Partner and Solicitor at Watkins & Gunn and the Head of Public & Administrative law at the firm. Michael has been involved in some of the highest profile cases in Wales in recent years that cover Judicial Review, Education law and Personal Injury matters. He is regularly asked to speak at national Personal Injury and Public Law conferences and events and has a back catalogue of high profile articles and media commentaries on his cases (see below).

Michael has been ranked as a leading Administrative Law Lawyer in both the Chambers UK Guide and the Legal 500 Directory –independent guides that gather client opinion and that of other legal professionals to rank lawyers regionally and nationally. Click here for his full profile.

Abla O’Callaghan, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Abla has a busy mixed practice with a focus on Public Law, Family and Civil Law. Her Public Law practice is rapidly developing particularly in the areas of Education, Court of Protection and Immigration.

In the field of Education Law, Abla has advised and represented both local authorities and parents in the Special Education Needs Tribunal and has experience of attending Court both in Wales and in England. Abla has experience in and is happy to assist in the drafting of Case Statements, Advices, and Appeal Grounds. Her experience also extends to exclusions, admissions, and further/higher education matters. Abla regularly provides presentations and training to organisations and authorities in this field.

Abla is also fluent in Arabic which has assisted in cases which involve interpretation for clients who speak the language. Click here for her full profile.

Laura Shepherd, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Laura became a tenant at 30 Park Place in 2017 following successful completion of her pupillage where she expanded her knowledge and gained experience across all of Chambers’ practice areas. Since becoming a tenant, Laura has developed a busy Criminal, Civil and Public Law practice.

Her Public Law practice is rapidly developing particularly in the areas of Licensing, Education, Court of Protection, and Immigration.

After having studied English at Oxford University Laura went on to study for the GDL and Bar Course in Birmingham.  Whilst studying for the GDL Laura volunteered for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, advising clients across a wide range of topics including debt, housing and benefits. This experience gave Laura the opportunity to hone her skills in advising members of the public, and particularly in dealing with vulnerable people. Click here for her full profile.

Melissa Jones, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Melissa joined 30 Park Place in 2018 following the successful completion of her pupillage under the supervision of Christian J Howells (Civil and Public) and Catherine Heyworth (Family). Since then, Melissa has developed a busy Civil, Family and Public law practice.

Melissa is well-experienced in providing detailed, clear and sensible advice on all aspects of the litigation process across all practice areas in which she operates, as well as having a real proficiency for courtroom advocacy. Melissa is an approachable, personable advocate who has an empathetic but pragmatic approach with both lay and professional clients. Since becoming a tenant, Melissa has developed a busy paper practice across all areas of law, and welcomes this in addition to court work. Click here for her full profile.

Event presented by:


Hosted by:

Emma Waddingham

Emma Waddingham

Editor, Legal News

Emma Waddingham is the Editor & Founder of Legal News. She is a seasoned legal editor and journalist and experienced marketing & events consultant, working almost exclusively with the UK legal sector.