Our Approach

At SEN Legal we recognise that our clients - predominantly parents and grandparents - are aspirational and that the education and welfare of their children / grandchildren is paramount. We also appreciate that a child's education can affect and influence the rest of his or her life, and so it is of fundamental importance that any problems are resolved efficiently and effectively. This is particularly true for children with special educational needs (SEN), who need specific, targeted support in order for them to achieve their full potential and lead fulfilled, lives and enable them to make a positive contribution to society in their adult lives.

By the time many parents approach us for help, they have often experienced anxiety, frustration, and the belief that they are not being listened to by those within the education system. Often they express the concern that they, and their children, have been let down. Many parents have received conflicting advice about the best way forward or feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the education system, especially procedures relating to special educational needs.

Parents can be faced with having to communicate with a plethora of departments and individuals from schools, Local Authorities, Social Services and the NHS, all of whom have access to relevant resources to oppose their requests for provision and have years of experience in dealing with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). We recognise that for parents of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) the specific needs of their children can, in themselves, cause an enormous emotional strain on the family which is added to immeasurably by the collective response of schools, Local Authorities, Social Services and the NHS

We know that parents who are inevitably warm, kind and supportive are emotionally involved in the struggle to get help for their children. Their parental expectation is to look after their children and provide help and support for them. They feel enormously angry and frustrated when their efforts sometimes achieve so very little. The worry casts a big shadow. Finding the right people to deal with it so you are not alone, so that you are listened to, and overcome the “nobody else seems to see” it hurdle, and suggestions of undue “negativity” can lift an enormous cloud.

Whilst the prospect of instructing a solicitor can sometimes seem daunting, some parents find that in reality it is an enormous relief and feel that, finally, they can stop 'banging their head against a brick wall'. The advantage of instructing SEN Legal to assist you with issues relating to your child's special educational needs is that we will use our experience and knowledge in what is a highly specialised area of the law to robustly advance your, and most importantly your child's, best interests. Our objective is always to use our considerable knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible solution for our clients.

To this end, we aim to be approachable, client focused and supportive; we have personal as well as professional experience, of the education process, and in particular, personal as well as professional experience, with regards to Statements of Special Educational Needs and the problems which can arise (in particular those relating to appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)). We can therefore offer sensitivity towards any issues that might arise and a committed, family-friendly approach to our work.

SEN Legal's success rate in the period 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2013 was 96.0% (this figure includes appeals conceded by the Local Authority before the hearing).

Complaints

SEN Legal is committed to providing the highest quality of service to our clients. If you are a client and you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the service provided to you we would ask that in the first instance you contact Melinda Nettleton. If you are still dissatisfied, then you are entitled to invoke our complaints process. A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request from manager@senlegal.co.uk or by writing to Debbie Lee, Office Manager, SEN Legal, 3 - 4 Forbes Business Centre, Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7AR.

If the matter is still not resolved at the conclusion of our complaints process, you may be entitled to ask the Legal Ombudsman of England and Wales to consider your complaint. A complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must normally be made within 6 months of the date of the conclusion of our complaints process. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman by telephone on 0300 555 0333, by email at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by post at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.

If you have a complaint about a bill, please contact Sarah Hook in the first instance (sarah.hook@senlegal.co.uk). You may also be able to apply to court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If all or part of a bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the outstanding amount unless a client has raised an unresolved bone fide query.

Regulation

This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales (the "SRA"). For more information about the SRA, please visit their website at: www.sra.org.uk.

Our Right to Retain Documents

In some jurisdictions there are circumstances in which we will have the right to keep documents that belong to you even if you ask us to return or destroy them. In particular, this may occur if you have not paid all of our invoices.

Data Protection Legislation

As data processors, we are bound by the requirements of data protection legislation. We have also put in place a data protection policy in our office. We will ensure that data we receive from clients or other individuals during the course of our providing legal services will be kept securely and processed solely for the purposes of the engagement.

Anti-money Laundering Laws

Under anti-money laundering laws, we require formal evidence for your identity before we can act. We must also report suspicions of money laundering activity to our Money Laundering Reporting Officer or to the relevant external authorities, or both. We may have to stop work on a matter and may not be allowed to tell you if we make such a report. We will not be liable to you for the consequences of any such report made in good faith.

Diversity and Social Mobility

SEN Legal currently has 10 employees and one Director. As a team, we are proud of the fact that we have a diverse in our set up and members of SEN Legal come from different all different walks of life and social backgrounds. We believe this diversity strengthens the team as a whole and helps us to act in the best interests of our clients.

Please see our SEN Legal team profile for further details.