Education Law

SEN Specialist Education Law Solicitors – Here to help

Sinclairslaw (formerly Sinclairs Solicitors) are leading experts in dealing with all aspects of Education Law, and the Education Law Department has solicitors based in our London and Penarth offices. The department has been established for over 19 years (although the head of department has over 23 years experience in the subject) There is a graduated fee scale from the more experienced solicitors to the keen to learn newly qualified/paralegal personnel. Joint working ensures that the offices link up effectively to provide the best service to clients in the most convenient location. The firm’s outstanding reputation in Education Law is largely based on word of mouth, a factor which the firm is proud to admit is the best form of advertising.
The education law solicitors within the specialist team handle cases ranging from special educational needs to higher education law which deals with the law relating tp Universities. So whether you need a specialist higher education University law solicitor or a special needs law solicitor we can help.

Mr. Michael Charles, is established as one of the country’s leading lawyers in this area of law, is the chief executive officer and senior director of Sinclairslaw. He has been involved in many of the leading cases, including decisions such as S -v- YP School (which set the standard of proof requirements in school exclusions); X -v- Caerphilly (Which approved the code of practice on SALT and OT requirements in SENDIST cases). He has been successful in the only two cases that decided the law on post 16 provision for young people with learning difficulties. See the decisions of R (on the application of Alloway) -v- Bromley County Council; and R (on the application of P) -v- London Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. These cases are well regarded as leading authorities. He has also been successful in many cases in the Higher Education law sector, to include academic appeals and university and college breach of contract actions. Michael Charles brings over 20 years experience in the field of Education Law. His client’s praise him for his “dog with a bone” attitude to justice, and a good sense of humour. He has been complimented for his passion and enthusiasm for helping his client’s achieve the result they deserve. His successes in the Higher Education law field is also impressive, having succeeded in one of the 2 cases ever to succeed in judicial review as against the Office of the Independent Adjudicator – Gopikrishna -v- The OIA and the University of Leicester 2015 has become the leading authority in setting the law in cases in which Universities assert academic judgment immunity. The case has established when academic immunity ought to apply and when it should not. Michael Charles is undoubtedly one of the leading education , including higher education law solicitors in England and Wales today.

Mr Adam Otterway Friel is a solicitor who has recently joined Sinclairslaw’s education team, practicing from the London office. Adam has over 5 years experience in all aspects of Education Law with specific expertise in conducting and representing parental appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

His interest in this field was sparked as a consequence of his own learning difficulties (dyslexia) and he is very passionate about education rights and has been involved in a number of pro bono projects, including charity monthly advice clinics. He has also interviewed for both BBC Radio and television. Adam is regularly invited to be a speaker at events, talks, workshops and conferences to charities and schools regarding educational issues.

Outside of work, Adam is a big rugby enthusiast, he has been capped at an Ireland Youth Level and played semi-professional rugby. Adam still enjoys rugby at weekends and plays for the Honourable Artillery Company RFC. When he is not playing rugby, he likes to read a good book or visit the cinema.

What does Education Law involve?

The majority of cases involving educational issues turn on public law principles. It is essential that practitioners in this field and those who need to advise parents, are aware of and fully understand the relevant legal principles involved, and how these principles apply in various contexts. Both UK & (EU) European law have changed considerably in recent years, consequently education law is now growing and gaining far more importance over recent years. In particular, the Human Rights Act 1998, legislates that children are now to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents and this may have important implications for educational issues. If you require any more information or an appointment – we recommend you speak with a specialist at Sinclairs Solicitors. Parents are understandably concerned when they fear that their children are not receiving something to which they are entitled or have been treated wrongly or unfairly by a school or local education authority. In the interests of the child/ren educational issues need to be decided quickly and it is therefore essential that when seeking advice in this area, you Employ a practice that will act quickly with the expertise to ensure your peace of mind. This is a specialist of area of law, requiring the knowledge and expertise of specialist legal advisors The main areas of concern often relating to educational needs are:

  • LEA policy decisions including school closures & reorganisation.
  • Special educational needs ( SEN ) – lack of provision & statementing etc.
  • Disputing LEA (Local Education Authority) decisions in respect to your child
  • Retrospective claims for lack of educational provision for a child who is continuing or left education otherwise known as negligence cases
  • School Admissions
  • Exclusions
  • Higher Education i.e. Problems at University
  • Disputes regarding school curriculum
  • Further Education Funding – Learning & Skills Council decisions including ELWA (Wales)

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Challenging decisions of LEA’s by presenting arguments in the courts or the Special Educational Needs Tribunal. SEN legal cases are growing in number particularly during times when local authorities are more inclined to wish to save money during economically difficult times. The cases get resolved through the SEN Tribunal. It is important therefore to find a first class SEN solicitor to help.

SEN Legal Cases – It is all about what is in your statement

Many people are concerned about not being granted a Statement of Special Educational Needs for their children, or that the statement is inadequate and does not meet their child’s requirements. If you have a dispute as to whether your child should receive a statement of SEN or as to what should go into your child’s statement of SEN you can bring a case before the SEN Tribunal.

Educational Negligence

Some people turn to the law because they discover later in the day that their child ought to have received special provision and clearly did not earlier in their child’s career. Often complaints are that children have suffered loss as a consequence and applications are thereafter made to the courts for damages. The important decision of Phelps .v. London Borough of Hillingdon has established importantly that professionals Employed by local authorities should behave competently and could be liable in actions for damages if there has been negligence. This includes teachers, educational psychologists and education officers who all now owe a duty of care. This means that if your child is in a school and has been let down or if you have been let down by a school that you attended in the past, there may be something you can do about it. Speak to a specialist at Sinclairs Solicitors.

School Admission Appeals

Another important area is to know what your rights are when you have a child attending a school. For example, you may have a right to receive assistance from your local education authority to obtain school uniforms for your children, or school milk. Your child may have the right for free school transport? What if you change schools? Do you still have the right to school transport? If your child is being bullied you may need help and advice. Remember your child’s education is essential and what you may not do now can affect him or her for the rest of their life. It is essential that the right moves are made from the start.

School Exclusion Appeals – using a Solicitor

Head teachers are responsible to ensure discipline in schools. But school exclusion should be an option of last resort. Other disciplinary sanctions are normally expected to have been tried first. Parents can challenge school exclusions by appealing to an independent appeal panel, and sometimes ask for legal advice and assistance. We can offer specialist support in this area.

Higher Education and University Disputes

During these times, the costs of attending a Higher Educational Establishment is forever growing. This is all the more reason why, in circumstances when the University or College treat a student poorly, they are more inclined to turn to the law. The Education law department here at Sinclairslaw have highly specialist solicitors and other lawyers experienced in handling these cases whether it is before the courts, internal appeals, or before the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Higher Education Solicitors – helping you resolve your internal dispute

Most University disputes involve academic appeals. But when can you appeal? Must you exhaust all of your remedies? When can you turn to the Law. Visit our University section. University and further education solicitors are here to help.

Education and Human Rights

Education law has also been affected by the Human Rights Act 1998, children are now to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents and this may have important implications for educational issues. If you require any more information or an appointment – speak with a specialist at Sinclairslaw. If you have any issues relating to your childs education, then please use the contact form below. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

School Re-organisation and Closure

Sinclairslaw is currently involved in a number of cases involving Local Government plans to reorganise schools in different localities across the Country.

WHATEVER YOUR EDUCATION LAW PROBLEM… WE HAVE SPECIALIST EDUCATION LAW SOLICITORS WHO CAN HELP.

Speak to an Education Law solicitor Specialist today. Use our contact form or e mail us directly at education@sinclairslaw.co.uk

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