Education and Public Law

Shibley Righton LLP is recognized as one of the leading firms in the Province of Ontario representing school boards and educator organizations in respect of all legal matters that affect them.

For over 40 years, our Education and Public Law Group has been providing comprehensive, effective and timely legal services to our educator clients in all aspects of education law and public law, including general civil and commercial litigation, employment and labour relations, contract negotiations, human rights, special education, administrative law, judicial review and appeals, freedom of information and privacy law, conflict of interest law, health law, and constitutional law, as well as those aspect of corporate-commercial law, real estate law, construction law, and municipal law that confront today's educators.

Led by Thomas McRae and Sheila MacKinnon in our Toronto office, and Brian P. Nolan and Sheila MacKinnon in our Windsor office, the members of the Education and Public Law Group have acted for school boards throughout Ontario, both public and Catholic, English- and French-language, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Education, various governmental commissions, boards and agencies, committees of the Legislature of Ontario, and other professional organizations.

In servicing its education-related clients, the Education and Public Law Group provides general counsel and advice on a full range of challenging issues, including:

  • governance and amalgamation;
  • funding and financing;
  • legal liabilities of school boards and
    their trustees, officers, and employees;
  • school board powers and duties;
  • policies and procedures;
  • labour relations, including collective
    agreement bargaining and administration;
  • special education;
  • human rights and discrimination;
  • constitutional issues;
  • employment issues;
  • board of arbitration and board of reference
  • teacher discipline;
  • sexual misconduct;
  • student attendance rights;
  • student discipline, expulsion and suspension;
  • school violence;
  • privacy and freedom of information;
  • conflict of interest;
  • municipal and planning law;
  • transfer of assets and liabilities under
    several legislative regimes;
  • trustee representation and elections;
  • school councils

To provide a complete range of service to its clients, the Education and Public Law Group draws upon the resources of other practice groups, including the Business Law Group and the Real Estate Group.

Members of the Education and Public Law Group are regularly engaged to speak and present papers at in-service seminars and provincial and national conferences. Their articles have been published in a variety of journals, magazines and national publications. They are responsible for the development and maintenance of the "Shibley Righton Education Law Netletter", published on-line by QuickLaw, perhaps the pre-eminent legal publisher of computerized, on-line legal reference materials, as well as the curriculum design and classroom instruction of the Education Law course at the University of Windsor's Faculty of Law, the first education law course ever to be offered at an Ontario law school.

The Education and Public Law Group has the capacity to provide legal services to its clients in both English and French.


Brian Nolan
Sheila MacKinnon
Thomas McRae
Deborah Howden
Gaynor Roger
Wanda Shreve
John De Vellis
Megan Marrie
Jessica Koper

Education and Public Law Publications