Further non- tribunal aspects of SEN Law
In some circumstances areas of SEN law that are not covered by the Tribunal can be resolved in the Court through what is known as Judicial Review proceedings. These are similar to injunction proceedings but are brought against public authorities. Legal Aid may be available to bring Judicial Review proceedings but is not available for representation before the Tribunal. If you are contemplating bringing a Judicial Review action against the Local Authority for a failure to comply with the statement or for some other failure, for example, to amend a Statement already in existence, it is essential that you take legal advice before embarking on such a procedure. There is a 3-month time limit in which Judicial Review proceedings must be commenced. This is a strictly observed time limit although in limited circumstances the court may exercise its discretion to extend time.
A local authority is bound by law to comply with the Statement of SEN. A failure to comply with the statement would amount to a breach of statutory duty and would entitle the child or the parent to bring proceedings for Judicial Review in the High Court to compel the Authority to do so. The crucial sub-section in this respect is s.324(5) of the Education Act 1996 which underlines that an LEA must “maintain” the Statement of SEN.
Public Bodies must also comply with their statutory duties and act fairly. Judicial review can be brought against Further Education Colleges and Universities (See our Higher Education Solicitors section), as well as Academies and local authorities. It is however essential that you speak to an expert solicitor who can advise on judicial Review. Sinclairslaw is proud to have SEN law solicitors who can help you in this important area.
Post 16 Education and Training
Since 1st April 2010, the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 amended provisions of the Education Act 1996. It creates a new body, “The Young Persons Learning Agency” or ( YPLA ) which is given responsibility for funding provision for 16-19 year olds and 16-25 year olds who may be subject to a learning difficulty assessment. ( Sometimes referred to as a section 140 or section 139A assessment. )
This might involve funding young people at specialist colleges, and sometimes residential placements. The assessment is obligatory in circumstances where the young person held a statement of special needs when they were at school.
Sinclairs Solicitors was involved in the two leading authorities in this field, having achieved success in these ground breaking cases. The only cases of this kind.