The Legal fund covers two different areas, as below:
The fund is available for situations where a Principal finds themselves in professional difficulty, whether this be Board/Principal relationship problems or being the subject of a claim while acting in his or her professional capacity. The SPANZ fund has been successful in:
Looking to support the Principal with resolutions outside of litigation
Actively seek out solutions that are in the interests of both school and Principal
Where resolution is not possible, then looking for outcomes that protect the Principal’s professional and personal interests
The cover provided for school assistance allows Principals (or Board Members through their Principal) to contact SPANZ Legal Adviser for advice in dealing with issues such as:
Student disciplinary matters including stand-down and suspension
Staffing issues including employment, competency, breach of discipline and complaints
Parent issues/complaints, enrolment schemes
Privacy and Human Rights matters
The above are not exhaustive examples of legal issues that Principals deal with on a day-to-day basis, and for which they can utilise the SPANZ Legal Fund. The fund enables Principals to make contact with the SPANZ Legal service and obtain both advice and assistance with these issues.
The fund has proved increasingly popular as Principals utilise the advice, either at an initial stage or by way of support in conjunction with the NZ School Trustees Association. Principals can access:
Advice and guidance as to how to deal with particular issues;
Assistance with drafting correspondence, reports and communications
Written and verbal legal opinions
Initial meetings and advocacy on behalf of the Principal/Board
Submissions to agencies such as Ombudsman, Privacy Commission and so on.
This advice and legal guidance has been available to an initial phase. If a matter continues, then the Principal/Board looks to either continue separately through insurance support or make alternative arrangements.
Harrison Stone are the legal service provider for the fund. The partners involved being Richard Harrison and Gretchen Stone. Richard and Gretchen have been associated with Principal support through SPANZ for many years and have become well recognised in the educational law area.