Richard Sykes

Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)121 456 8436
Fax: +(44)(0)121 456 8486

What can I do for you?

Based in Birmingham, I lead our public law and regulatory team. I specialise in advising education institutions, particularly universities and colleges, on all aspects of their public functions (or "things that are peculiar to them as education institutions"). This includes not only student matters (such as fitness to practise, appeals, discipline and overseas fees) but also compliance with equality legislation and data protection/freedom of information issues.  As a specialist in governance, I help our clients figure out what their constitutions, rules and procedures permit them to do.  I also represent them when challenged, whether that is being sued in the county or High Court, or advising on an application for judicial review.  

The fitness to practise element of what I do is key to what our professional regulatory team do - which is investigate and act in matters of professional discipline. 

Supporting my clients’ aims

The best thing about my work is finding solutions and strategies that will not only resolve the immediate problem or issue faced by the client, but will also avoid recurrence. For example, I successfully defended a major awarding body in a disability discrimination claim brought by one of its candidates. Since then, I’ve been working with that client and others to ensure that they understand their obligations under the equality legislation and have in place robust processes that work within their organisation and comply with regulatory requirements.

By listening properly to our clients, we’ve helped them create practical processes that simply enable them to provide equality of opportunity for candidates without lowering standards or unduly raising costs.

What do others say?

Legal 500 describes our team as “flexible” and “prepared to go the extra mile for clients”.  Chambers says we occupy a "leading position."

But most gratifying for me was to be told by a client: “You and the team have been extremely supportive at this fraught time”, because we had been able to help them make better decisions with open, simple advice in a complex situation.