School governors' personal liability

If you act honestly, reasonably and in good faith, you'll generally be protected from personal liability. Get to grips with the unlikely circumstances where you could be held personally liable, and whether you need liability insurance.

Last reviewed on 15 December 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3860
  1. Governors are "generally protected" from personal liability
  2. Circumstances when a governor may be personally liable
  3. Governor liability insurance

Governors are "generally protected" from personal liability

Although the governing board is legally responsible for the conduct of its school(s), individual governors are "generally protected" from personal liability. 

As long as you act honestly, reasonably and in good faith, you shouldn't be held personally liable. 

This is explained in section 4.5 on page 47 of the Governance Handbook

Chairs and vice-chairs aren't more liable than other governors

The Department for Education (DfE) told us that all governors are equally protected from personal liability.

Liability beyond period of office

If a governor hasn't acted in good faith, it's uncertain how long they'd remain personally liable – it will be judged on a case-by-case basis. The DfE explained this to us.

If you or your governing board are concerned about the legality of any actions taken, you should seek legal advice.

It's possible for an individual acting in their capacity