Legal Services

Why is it important to use a specialist Solicitor?

If you intend to use a solicitor, then you should certainly choose one that specialises in Education Law. In terms of lawyers, the day of the all-rounder is long gone. As in medicine, where you would not expect a consultant in rheumatology to undertake brain surgery, you would not expect a conveyancing specialist or a personal injury lawyer to conduct a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) appeal.

What should I consider when choosing a Solicitor?

When choosing a solicitor for an Education Law issue, the questions you should be asking are: How many appeals to the SEND Tribunal does the practice undertake per year? What is the success rate for the practice? Does the firm actually specialise in education law, or is this one practice area amongst many? Does the practice come independently recommended by, for example, a parents or support group? What level of experience do the individual practitioners have in education law? Does the Practice ever undertake work for Local Authorities?

Is it worth the cost of using legal representation?

Whilst instructing a specialist solicitor can be expensive, it is important to bear in mind the comparative nature of costs. Education is an expensive commodity, and if you were to calculate the number of years you child will be in education by the sum of money to be paid each year in school fees and other related costs, the sum reached is often in the region of £200,000 – £300,000, although it can reach over £750,000 in very complex cases. The price spent on a specialist solicitor to ensure your child receives an adequate standard of education will be, relatively speaking, far more modest. If you were injured in a car accident, you would expect to use a highly specialised team of personal injury lawyers and good expert evidence to obtain a similar level of damages. The same principle can be applied in the education context: to achieve a desired result, in the long run it pays to engage with specialist lawyers and experts which will improve your prospects of success.

Do I have to use a Solicitor?

It is ultimately up to you whether you represent your own case or seek professional representation by a solicitor/barrister (There are also lay representatives who have no legal qualifications). There is no legal requirement either way, and it is certainly not the case that Tribunals prefer parents to represent themselves. Parents are entitled to represent themselves if they wish but should be aware that Local Authorities are represented either by an Officer of the Authority, a solicitor usually from the Local Authority’s Legal Department or a specialist Barrister in the field of education law on the basis that is extremely productive in terms of outcome.

General Information

What is an EHC Plan?

About SEN Legal

How often do SEN Legal win cases?

SEN Legal Ltd’s current success rate is 96% (this figure includes appeals conceded by the Local Authority before the hearing). This year’s figures are broadly similar.