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National SEN & Disability Legal Practice

Costs

SEN Legal’s fees are based on an hourly fee structure, rather than by a fixed fee. We believe that this is actually in our clients’ interests because if settlement is reached, you will not be obliged to pay us a fixed fee that would cover work up to and including a Tribunal Hearing.

In short, if we achieve a settlement for you, not only will you have achieved the desired result, you will also have saved money. Fixed fees do not offer such a saving.

Please see below our professional fees:

  • Melinda Nettleton – Director and Principal Solicitor £275 per hour
  • Karen McAtamney – Solicitor £250 per hour
  • Hayley Mason – Solicitor £185 per hour
  • Trainee Solicitors – £150 per hour
  • Legal Executives – £150 per hour
  • Paralegals – £130 hour

It is extremely difficult to give an estimate of professional fees for a particular case or type of case but below are a selection of cases we have undertaken which give an example of the amount of fees you may incur. This is not always the case though and below are examples of some of the various cases SEN Legal have run in the last 12 months with their costings, which are considerably lower than the estimate given above.

  • Parents of child JG ran an Appeal to the SEND Tribunal against their Local Authority’s Refusal to Undertake a Statutory Assessment. The cost of this successful appeal, which was eventually conceded by the Local Authority, was £3,618.
  • While parents of child IP ran an Appeal against the Local Authority’s Refusal to Undertake a Statutory Assessment to the SEND Tribunal. The cost of this successful appeal which was eventually conceded by the Local Authority was £4,899
  • Parents of child RH ran an Appeal against their child’s Statement to the SEND Tribunal. SEN Legal were able to obtain a placement at the chosen parental school. The cost of this appeal was £4,367
  • Parents of child NC ran an SEND Tribunal Appeal. SEN Legal were able to obtain a placement at the chosen parental school. The cost of this appeal was £8,224
  • Parents of child AM also ran an Appeal against their child’s Statement to the SEND Tribunal. SEN Legal were able to obtain a 52 week Waking Day placement. Cost £10,305. Solicitors instructed by the Local Authority were a Practice well known for increasing parental costs.

All the figures on the above examples do not include VAT or disbursements. They also do not include the fees of any expert witnesses clients may instruct, or specialist Counsel if used. Not all of the above-mentioned cases involved the instruction of specialist Counsel.

Can SEN Legal provide an estimate?

We cannot give you a comprehensive break down of how much your case will cost, as there are many variable factors such as whether the case settles early or whether it needs to go to a fully contested Tribunal hearing. How far a case will develop is also largely dependent on the Local Authority, and its willingness to engage in the settlement process.

We find that the better prepared an appeal is in terms of the written submissions and supporting evidence, the better the prospects of success. It goes without saying that the earlier the matter is resolved through settlement (if this is possible), the lower the costs will be. Should your Local Authority chose to instruct lawyers who have no wish to settle a case, then this can push up your costs quite considerably and sometimes above our usual estimate. We are conscious of the financial burden litigation can impose on our clients, and over half of our SEND appeals do indeed settle before the Tribunal hearing date.

When do I have to pay my legal fees?

Unlike many solicitors, we will not ask you for a large payment in advance because we bill on a monthly basis. There will be peaks and troughs in terms of billing. A qualified Solicitor will always be in charge of your case, not an unqualified paralegal. We recognise that funding cases is always an issue for parents and we are happy to discuss and make suggestions as to ways of funding your case.

Legal Aid

If you think you may be eligible for legal aid, it is worth checking the ‘eligibility calculator’ on the GOV.UK website. Alternatively you can contact the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) service on 0845 345 345.

If the CLA assesses a person as eligible, the legal advice will be provided by phone, online or by post, unless the specialist advice provided assesses them as unsuitable to have advice in this way.