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Douglas Silas Solicitors has an exclusive focus on special educational needs (SEN) matters. It is well known for representing parents in appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal, and has a strong track record of negotiating settlements with local authorities. Name partner Douglas Silas has been handling the transfer process from SEN statements to education, health and care (EHC) plans, as well as acting for young people in post 16-19 education.

Irwin Mitchell handled several complex SEND appeals in 2015. It also advised on the implementation of SEND reforms and acted for the claimants in judicial review proceedings considering local authorities duties under the new system. In a recent highlight, Polly Sweeney and Caroline Barrett acted for a young person in successfully challenging the local authority’s EHC plan. Sarah Woosey is another name to note.

Education specialist Match Solicitors is praised for ‘its dedicated expertise in the area of education’ and its ‘professionalism, care, and clear-minded approach’. Salima Mawji is valued for her ‘very clear and prompt communication’ and ability to ‘spell out the legal parameters’, and Nicole Henhamunderstands the pressure clients are under’. Anita Chopra and Chris Barnett are ‘impressive individuals’. The team, which routinely advises on SEN matters, handled an appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Agency, as well as representing a client in appealing a withdrawal.

Maxwell Gillott Solicitors has a well-known SEN practice, which represents individuals in tribunal and judicial review proceedings. Angela Jackman has a strong track record challenging exclusions and advising on school placements. Dan Rosenberg is also recommended.

John Ford Solicitors’ ‘knowledgeable’ team has ‘a wealth of experience’. It recently acted in judicial review proceedings pertaining to the failure to comply with an EHC plan under the Children and Families Act 2014. The ‘pragmaticKaren May acts for individuals in judicial review cases, particularly at the interface between education and community care law. Also recommended are John Ford, who has ‘an excellent legal brain’, and ‘sharp and resourceful’ associates Marian Shaughnessy and Helen Gill.

Leigh Day’s five-partner team routinely handles cases with a human rights angle and regularly acts in challenges to local authorities’ failure to maintain or amend statements of SEN and EHC plans. Human rights specialist Merry Varney made partner in April 2016. Richard Stein, Rosa Curling and Charlotte Skouby are also recommended.

At Russell-Cooke LLP, Eva Akins ‘understands the considerable challenges facing parents of children with special needs’; ‘she makes a frustrating and complicated process as painless and simple as possible, with a down-to-earth and straight-talking approach’. The team has specialist knowledge of disability discrimination, admissions and exclusions, and school placement challenges.

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Legal Developments in London for Education: individuals


    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
    - 11KBW

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