Families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) may require legal support, advice and representation. This could be for various reasons including to ensure that their child is getting the quality of education and support most suited to their needs and requirements.
**Westminster Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS) would like parents/carers and young people to be aware of the legal support services available to them. These are by no means recommendations, but a starting point to help you seek the information you may need.**
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) / Equality Act 2010
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) has been replaced by the Equality Act 2010 which protects disabled people from being discriminated against within society such as in employment, education and the police.
For further information please visit:
CEREBRA Legal Directory
This charity offer a starting point of relevant legal advisors and organisations that offer legal advice and support. For more information please click here. For a direct link to the Legal Directory please click here.
Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)
This charity provides FREE 'independent legally based advice and support for the families of children with SEN and/or disability.' For further information please visit the IPSEA website.
Additionally IPSEA provide online and in-house training for parents/carers, professionals and organisations working with children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND.)
Other resources include Tribunal Appeals: Refusal to carry out an EHC needs assessment along with a Resource Sheet.
For more information about 'considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary' please refer to pgs. 144-147 in the Department for Education's Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years. This section outlines the 'Relevant legislation: Section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and Regulations 3, 4, and 5 of the SEND Regulations 2014.'
SOS!SEN provide FREE information, advice and support with legal issues and procedures.
A free telephone helpline
Drop in services
Information sheets include; LEGAL AID SINCE 1ST APRIL 2013, Appeal against refusal to assess for an EHCP (Where limited evidence is available), and many more.
Child Law advice
This charity provides 'legal advice and information on family, child and education law affecting children and families.'
Child Law advice provides information on legal aid for educational law. This may be useful in learning more about who qualifies for legal aid and how does an application for legal aid work.
The Law Society
This organisation may be useful in finding out more about legal aid and finding a legal aid solicitor. Please visit Legal aid #useaprofessional, where you can find a solicitor website or search for a 'legal advisor or family mediator' on the government website.
This charity provides FREE legal advice to individuals or not-for-profit organisations that are NOT ELIGIBLE for LEGAL AID and are on a low income. LawWorks provide 'pro bono' legal advice to all those that qualify. Please visit the legal advice for individuals section on the LawWorks website to learn about various services available. To search for legal advice clinics near you please click here.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Coram Children’s Legal centre specialises in children’s law and legal rights. It provides FREE legal advice and information. For further information please click here.
Maxwell Gillot Solicitors / Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors
Maxwell Gillot is an education and community care firm which has now teamed up with Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors. This firm provides set fee legal services for education law. For further information please visit Simpson Millar’s Education Law webpage along with their pricing options.
This law firm specialises in SEN legal advice and representations. For more information please visit the SEN4you website.
For information on costs please click here.
Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)
Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) is a national helpline providing information, advice and support relating to issues on equality and human rights.
For advice and information on discrimination and human rights contact EASS on Freephone:
Telephone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website at www.equalityhumanrights.com.
This charity supports children and young people in having a voice in the children’s services by ensuring that the care system provides them with a positive experience. It encourages children and young people to take control of their own lives. The charity upholds the children and young people’s rights through an advocacy service which caters to their needs and ensures that their voice is heard. For further information please click here.
In some cases, advocacy services can be a cost-effective way to obtain advice, support and guidance during your SEND tribunal case. The following advocacy services are very experienced in SEND law and cases:
The Advocacy and Mediation Consultants Ltd.