The recent failed USD125 million lawsuit against Jakarta Intercultural School sent shockwaves through the educational community when it surfaced last year.
The school, formerly known as Jakarta International School, was embroiled in a very unsavory matter involving allegations of sexual abuse of a pupil by staff at the school, which saw a Canadian administrator and Indonesian teaching assistant found guilty of the charges and jailed for ten years.
The incarceration sparked a wave of International concern from several foreign governments about the standards of the Indonesian legal system, and statements from the families of the convicted that they were entirely innocent and that the charges were groundless.
The two individuals vehemently protested their innocence and were released on appeal and their names clearly entirely, and an Indonesian court ruled that the original investigation was seriously flawed. It also threw out the USD125 million lawsuit against the school.
Whilst justice was finally served in this case, the entire matter raised some very serious concerned for staff and management at international schools the world over, illustrating the risks involved in working in a particularly sensitive sector, education, in a country which may not have a robust and transparent legal system.
In the aftermath of the case, international school management all over the world are in a state of quite some concern that they might similarly get embroiled in such a case and end up wrongly convicted like their unfortunate counterparts in Jakarta.
Every school head and administrator suddenly found themselves asking the question, “this could happen to me – what can I do to protect myself?”
Directors and officers liability Insurance (often called D&O) is one option available to management. Obviously, in the Jakarta case, this would not provide protection against wrongful imprisonment. But it would mitigate the risk of being sued for misconduct or management liability lawsuits in a similar case where alleged serious wrongdoings took place.
There are a myriad of different factors to take into account when assessing the risk, particularly involving cases involving international schools which could potentially straddle different legal jurisdictions in different countries resulting in a legally complex picture.
The nationalities of the management personnel, and the ownership status of the school are also a significant factor. Is the school a legally registered entity in its home country? A disgruntled parent may have legal recourse to sue the school if, for example, it is registered as being an US company.
The permutations are too numerous to examine without delving into the world of legal complexities. However D&O insurance can save management from financial ruin if the individual runs foul of personal litigation procedures.
Contact One World Cover today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss the options available to you for robust Directors and Officers liability Insurance.