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ENFORCING PROVISION and legal aid Elaine Maxwell Solicitor Lancaster 01524 596080

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Presentation on theme: "ENFORCING PROVISION and legal aid Elaine Maxwell Solicitor Lancaster 01524 596080"— Presentation transcript:

1 ENFORCING PROVISION and legal aid Elaine Maxwell Solicitor Lancaster 01524 596080

2 How to ensure provision Importance of Statements of SEN and Care Plans Problems with enforcing non-statemented provision Importance of drafting Can get therapies if can show they meet and educational need

3 Aspects of statements which should be challenged Insufficient specification or quantification of provision Failure to accept therapies as educational Insufficient attention to psychological or sensory needs Failure to provide direct therapy where needed

4 Methods of challenge Statement appeal to SEND if within time Judicial review of local authority’s failure to make the statemented provision Potential ombudsman challenge

5 Social care Separate assessment process Support can be enforceable if properly set out in the care plan No independent tribunal consideration for either of these unless they have an educational element. Health provision can occasionally be enforced but not straightforward

6 Problems with social care Difficulty in deciding who is responsible for educational placements Failure to reach decisions on placement in good time Reductions in support following changes to eligibility criteria in the area Direct payments placing burden on service user on occasions

7 Legal Aid Legal Help for general SEN discrimination and community care issues not involving Court Covers work for SEND tribunals but not representation Based on parent’s income and assets not child’s, unless child is fostered

8 Full legal aid Deals with Court cases, and Upper Tier hearings Judicial review available for all education and community care cases – even non- SEN May be granted in child’s name if the right to bring action belongs to the child – if so, financial eligibility depends on child’s assets

9 Case is one which fits scope of legal aid i.e. SEN, discrimination or com care if want general advice Case stands at least 50% chance of success Value of case is sufficient to justify legal costs Client is financially eligible (and this can include value of house if home-owner) What does client need to show?

10 How is it run? Only three organisations have contract to deliver education work under legal help – Maxwell Gillott, Coram Children’s Legal centre and Tower Hamlets Law Centre Arrangements for seeing clients face to face very restricted Some other firms with a public law contract may be able to do JR. Goes through central telephone system

11 Proposed legal aid changes for JR Government nor proposing to introduce more barriers in the way of enforcing provision Proposals to reform legal aid impact on judicial review If go ahead there will be no guaranteed funding for the early stages of judicial review Contact your MP!

12 What can we do? Maxwell Gillott is a specialist firm dealing solely with access to education, health and social care. The firm has grown from small beginnings as Elaine Maxwell and Co back in 1998 dealing with education and community care for children with learning difficulties, to the largest firm in the country acting for individuals in these areas of law. We have 16 solicitors, 3 trainees and 10 advisors specialising in education and community care and are the top recommended firm for special needs in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. Through our links with our parent company Simpson Millar, we are also able to provide advice and support on a full range of issues including Court of Protection work, clinical negligence and wills and trusts. Our offices are in Lancaster, London, Wimbledon Birmingham and Gateshead, and we act for people all over the country by telephone, post and email. We operate a special helpline on 0845 3880108 for anyone who wishes to talk through a SEN query and are always willing to discuss problems you may have in getting the right provision. Our general number is 01524 596080.

13 Elaine Maxwell Elaine Maxwell originally qualified as a barrister in 1974, but after taking a career break, requalified as a solicitor in 1991. Elaine has been recognised as a leader in education since 1996 in both Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. Much of her current work in the preparation and presentation of cases for Special Needs Tribunals although she has run many important cases on education law, from student entitlement to grants claims to special needs. Elaine has personal experience of children with special educational needs. Of her three children, one has Attention Deficit Disorder and dyspraxia, while another is dyslexic with definite Asperger traits! She has acted as a governor at a local special school, and provided training for members of charities and parents groups including IPSEA and the National Autistic Society. She regularly talks to parent groups about the law relating to special educational needs and has also been interviewed on Radio 4 on a number of occasions about education law issues. Although interested in all aspects of education law, she has a particular focus on autism, particularly in those cases which need support from health and social services as well as education. She is also concerned to make sure that the introduction of academy schools does not reduce rights for parents and children.

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