"They are brilliant. They have been really committed to the client and are very good with the technical legal advice but also have a very valuable commercial approach."
—Client feedback in Chambers Asia 2017
"I believe that I have access to the best and most strategic advice."
—Client feedback in Chambers Asia 2017
The way people learn is changing – adapting to advances in technologies and a continued need for a sense of place and space to learn. Virtual classrooms and campus redevelopments are both on the agenda, as Australia strives to maintain its status as a destination for global learning.
The sector as a whole continues to grow strongly despite uncertainty. Against an evolving landscape, our clients tell us of the importance of securing sustainable funding, revenue growth, real estate including student housing and the ability to exploit intellectual property and commercialise ideas.
Universities in particular are moving forward despite the impacts of deregulation on university fees and the ever-growing importance of their commercial arrangements.
It is within this environment that we work closely with clients to deliver our legal and advisory services in a way that takes into account these constantly changing needs of the market for higher education.
Maddocks multi-disciplinary Education sector team makes it our business to stay current in changes across education – and in many cases, we are at the forefront of these changes, working closely with universities and other education providers to set new pathways to a vibrant, thriving and sustainable education sector in Australia.
Some of the work we are commonly called upon to advise includes:
- advising for universities on education (particularly online education) partnering agreements and legal structuring of novel and complex commercial arrangements
- advising on both sides of transactions involving research and grant agreements and arrangements
- preparing tender documentation, drafting contracts, and advising on commercial and legal risk, as well as strategies to manage contractual relationships to minimise that risk
- advising universities and other higher education providers on construction and infrastructure projects
- advising universities and consortia of universities on procurement of goods and services, including joint procurement arrangements in compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).
Our sector focus means we are close to emerging issues and opportunities and can assist in-house legal teams to achieve outcomes for internal clients and stakeholders, with a minimum of ‘background’ briefing.
We are always available to sound-board views and approaches to some of the most topical current issues and opportunities today. We regularly:
- work with senior executives and in-house legal teams on complex projects
- provide senior lawyers with experience of the sector on project specific secondments
- assist to analyse and implement proposals and opportunities from a commercial and operational, as well as legal, perspective
- provide advice on governance and policy issues and arrangements.
We are proud to act for a wide variety of universities, colleges, schools and regulators in the sector. A sample of our work includes:
- advising Swinburne University of Technology on its sale of 30% of its 50% interest in Online Education Services, a 50/50 joint venture between Swinburne to its joint venture partner SEEK (ASX:SEK)
- reviewing and advising on arrangements relating to the establishment, operation and further development of a procurement hub operated by Accenture that can be utilised by multiple universities
- advising two senior academics on a Shareholders Agreement and IP Licence Agreement, establishing a joint venture company for the commercialisation of certain intellectual property developed by the academics and owned by a University
- advising the regulator (Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority) and education providers in relation to governance and insolvency matters arising in the Victorian schools sector. We also provide advice on a range of confidential school governance and solvency issues
- acting as the bargaining agent for, and the advisor to, the Western Sydney University in its negotiation for new enterprise agreements covering its academic and general staff
- assisting a private school to terminate approximately 324 Australian Workplace Agreements and Individual Transitional Employment Agreements
- acting on a consolidation of a CBD site for a city campus, including documenting expression of interest processes to identify a development partner and drafting transaction documents, including contracts of sale, long term leases, funding deeds and over-arching agreement
- advising on the development of a new city campus on Queen Street, Melbourne, including a partnership with the private sector
- acting for the Department of Education and Training for the Growth Areas Schools Project (GASP), which involves the design and construction of ten brand new schools in the growth areas of Victoria
- advising on a proposed $200 million redevelopment of a campus incorporating student accommodation buildings (1000 beds), retail and academic facilities, including advising on acquisition of rights of existing road, purchasing adjacent key development site, drafting ground lease, development agreement, design and construct contract, facilities management and tenancy management and agreements.