*We are offering FREE initial consultation for this service to discuss the appeals process (including mediation). There is no obligation on you to instruct us afterwards.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of an Educational, Health and Care Needs Assessment, or perhaps the Local Authority has refused to issue an EHC plan or refused to carry out an EHC needs assessment following a request, or maybe you disagree with the contents of an EHC Plan in relation to any or all of Section B (special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) or Section I (placement); you may need to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability.)
The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) is responsible for handling appeals against Local Authority decisions regarding special educational needs. (Its jurisdiction now extends to include the power to make recommendations about health and social care issues in all appeals except refusal to secure an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment. This is part of The Department for Education’s national trial of extended powers for the tribunal.)
How do we help?
We offer 2 types of packages:
Appeal refusal to secure an EHC needs assessment or otherwise known as Refusal to Assess.
This type of appeal is automatically decided ‘on the papers’. This means that you do not need to attend a hearing. You just need to send in all of your evidence and explain your arguments in writing.
Appeal the contents of an EHC plan, following an Annual Review or EHC needs assessment
This may be appropriate if you disagree with the contents of an EHC Plan issued by your Local Authority in relation to any or all of Section B (special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) or Section I (placement) or in some cases the Local Authority has not named a school/college/institution in the EHC plan (Section I).
What do we do?
In all cases we will:
Take initial instructions and ask you to obtain and gather specific evidence and send these through electronically to us in advance for consideration.
Complete the relevant appeals form and lodge the appeal.
Deal with all correspondence with the Local Authority and the Tribunal service (this includes amendments to the Working document.)
Instruct experts where appropriate (does not cover experts fees).
Copy you in and forward you all correspondence with the Local Authority and Tribunal throughout the appeal process.
On going telephone consultations with you, at a time that suits you, as things develop throughout the appeal through to completion (this may include offers of early settlements or withdrawals of appeals).
Representation at hearing: At the time of writing, the SEND Tribunal has quickly adapted its way of working to deliver justice during the Coronavirus pandemic through remote hearings via video technology or telephone. This means hearings will proceed as already listed.
We always aim to settle out of court, in other words before a Tribunal hearing (which is usual in our experience). However, in the event that a Tribunal hearing is necessary, parents we work with often want us to do the written case preparation and then instruct a barrister (especially in complex cases) to represent on the day. We are in the process of developing a free service to include representation at Tribunal by practicing barristers from leading sets, on a pro bono basis.