Governors' and trustees' 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 6 November 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3860
  1. Governors and trustees are "generally protected" from personal liability
  2. Circumstances when a governor or trustee may be personally liable
  3. Governor/trustee liability insurance

Governors and trustees are "generally protected" from personal liability

Although the board is legally responsible for the conduct of its school(s), individual governors and trustees 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 others

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

Liability beyond period of office

If a governor/trustee 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 board are concerned about the legality of any actions taken, you should seek legal advice.

It's possible for an individual acting

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.