Melinda is a member of the Scrutton family, from Falkenham (near Felixstowe) in Suffolk. Her Great Uncle Thomas Edward Scrutton was Lord Justice of Appeal and responsible for the first education case in this country. Melinda is the founding member and Principal Solicitor of SEN Legal and a recognised Education Law expert. She has considerable experience of all the areas of work undertaken by SEN Legal. In addition to her professional practice in Education Law, and specifically Special Educational Needs and Disability Discrimination/Equality Act cases, Melinda undertakes a great deal of pro bono work with voluntary organisations such as SOS!SEN, acting as a Trustee and offering seminars and workshops for parents. She is a member of the Education Law Practitioners Association (ELPA). She is also the mother of a child with Special Educational Needs. All SEN Legal cases are undertaken by Melinda or under her direct supervision.
Melinda qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and, before specialising in Education Law, has experience of working for local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service. She is an experienced litigator and often represents her clients in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST), she also undertakes work for independent schools.
Melinda is able to relate to and empathise with her clients as she is the mother of three children, one of whom has Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and a severe Language Disorder and who has had a Statement of Special Educational Needs throughout his education. He had a specialist independent school named in Part 4 of his Statement of Special Educational Needs funded by his Local Authority from the age of 8 (at the predecessor's School to Centre Academy East Anglia) until the conclusion of his A Levels. Melinda's son is now at University studying for an MA in Philosophy having obtained in a First in his Degree, which is not bad for a Statemented pupil. Just goes to show what can be achieved with the right level of provision. In addition, Melinda's neice has a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. As a result of this personal experience, Melinda is committed to giving her clients the same level of care and attention that she gave to her own son throughout his education.
Melinda divides her time between London and Bury St Edmunds, and meets clients from all over the country in central London, which is easier for clients to access.
My name is Karen McAtamney, I qualified as a Solicitor in 2008 after joining SEN Legal in March 2006 as a Trainee. I obtained a Distinction in the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London which I studied part-time between 2003-2005, after achieving a 2.1 in jurisprudence at Merton College, Oxford where I studied between 1999-2002. I am primarily based in Bury St Edmunds and am experienced in all aspects of the practice's work. I tend to be heavily involved in the cases going to the Upper Tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal. A skilled draftsman who regularly prepares formal submissions to the First-tier Tribunal SEND on behalf of parents; these include documents setting out a parent's case in full as well as applications to appeal against decisions of the First-tier Tribunal. I have a talent for identifying and addressing issues arising in appeals at an early stage. Additionally, I have strong communication skills and am very good at explaining the often complex law in this area in a way that makes sense to individual parents.
My name is Adam Otterway Friel, I was admitted to the role of solicitors in July 2011. The majority of my work for SEN Legal relates to Special Educational Needs Appeals. I am very passionate about this field as I am Dyslexic myself.
I also work as a Legal Adviser for the Education Rights charity, SOS!SEN, in a number of pro bono cases. I am passionate about helping children with disabilities and their families to get the support they desperately need. My role includes conducting bi-monthly advice centres for parents of children with disabilities. I also undertake cases for the charity where I advise them on how to proceed, and represent parents in Annual Reviews with Local Authorities and/or at the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
I joined SEN Legal in 2008. My role is to assist Melinda with her work and I act as the first point of contact for all emails and letters from clients, experts and Local Authorities that are addressed to Melinda. I also coordinate Melinda's diary in conjunction with other members of staff and Melinda's other commitments. We are a small team of Solicitors and Paralegals and hold regular team meetings to ensure deadlines are met and we are all appraised of progress with each client's case. Personally, I have worked in the legal field for in excess of 9 years and have completed Level 3 and one Level 6 of the Institute of Legal Executive's examination. I have two children aged 12 and 10.
My particular role is to arrange the hearing dates for our clients and therefore liaise with the independent experts (and Counsel if instructed) regarding their availability and also contact the Local Authorities to canvass their hearing availability. I also work within a team of Paralegals to diarise all Appeal deadline dates on our database. I am responsible for circulating Tribunal Bundles and hearing venue details to relevant parties, I work closely with the Tribunal Clerks, which often involves chasing requests for changes, hearing dates, venue details etc. I also liaise with Counsel's clerks. As well as this, I serve numerous legal documents on both the Tribunal and Local Authority on a daily basis. I have worked with SEN Legal for 10 years, mostly as a Paralegal. I work on a part-time basis as I am also a mother to three children, aged 15, 14 & 10. I have an HND in Business Studies and have previously worked in Customer Services and Admin for various other companies.
I undertake Paralegal work, arrange all of the conferences and meetings with Counsel and draft Instructions to Counsel. I am an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and have 15 years experience in both private and public legal practice.
I am married to a local farmer and we have two children. In 2008 Melinda represented us in an Appeal to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal which awarded our son with a Statement of Special Educational Needs naming a Specialist Speech & Language School in Surrey.
I am the newest member of the SEN Legal team having joined in January 2013. My role as PA to Karen is to assist her with her work, this includes responding to e-mails on her behalf, maintaining her diary and receiving telephone calls for her. I work closely with the other paralegals to ensure all cases are up-to-date. I have worked in a legal background for an excess of fourteen years. My past legal experience included liaising with other agencies in an administrative role to provide support to families in need and this has led to me being keen to help children with disabilities and their families to receive the support they need.
I have worked at SEN Legal for over 7 years undertaking all financial work for the company. You will be likely to speak to me when you call to pay your invoice by credit or debit card, also, if you have any queries regarding your bill you will need to speak with me.
My name is Debbie Lee and I joined SEN Legal in April 2007. I am the Office Manager here and first point of contact for all new enquiries. I will try to answer any questions you have in relation to the process of instructing our Practice to represent you and your family in matters relating to the Special Educational Needs and/or Disability issues you are experiencing.
My name is Hana Tregerova and I have been working for SEN Legal since October 2008 as a full time Admin Assistant. My duties are to provide administrative support to the Solicitors and the rest of the SEN staff. It is my responsibility to ensure the timely completion of the administrative aspects relating to each client's case, this includes processing the incoming and outgoing post, filing, photocopying, faxing.
I rejoined SEN Legal in February 2011 as a Part-Time Admin Assistant, having previously worked here as an Office Junior some years ago. I assist Hana and Debbie to ensure the timely completion of the administrative aspects relating to each client's case, this includes processing the incoming and outgoing post, filing, photocopying, faxing. I am also likely to be the first voice you hear when you call in as I also undertake reception duties.