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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.


(21 Posts)
manishkmehta Mon 02-Dec-13 11:27:34

sorry about the typos... i'm on my mobile running late for work!

manishkmehta Mon 02-Dec-13 11:25:14

I have been to several tribunals. As a parent and as an IPSEA rep.

Parents keep thinking they need the best solicitor in the world when they simply don't. If you want to cut costs but have a complicated case then thinking about using a direct access barrister.

Simply hire the three LEADING experts you need, i.e. EP, OT & S&LT and then for the hearing date hire a BRILLIANT barrister for the hearing.

It's so simple. I do wonder why parents spend £10k on solicitors when the case law is often not much more than what you could fit on the back of a postage stamp. For example, parents who want a mainstream school need only look to section 316 & 316(a). Once you point that out,... and a couple of items of case law (which i'll give to you for free!) you'll then have the case law in the evidence... Your barrister will already know it... so will the judge... None of this is complicated. It's just that parents are new to it all and very emotional.

I think parents need to talk to a lot of parents before making any choice about who they hire. Solicitors can be VERY expensive, and all for what? I am in the middle of a tribunal proceeding right now and i'm not a solicitor. It's an IPSEA case and it's very complicated. All cases are very complicated. But at at the end of the day the amount of law i need is very limited to a couple of sheets of A4... The rest is about evidence.

Please don't spend LOTS of money unless you really think you need to... Often you'll end up spending way too much and like me thinking it was a waste.... Use an advocate like Fiona or Nigel,... or others (i won't say me!) - and then get a barrister for the day. It's so MUCH cheaper.

Think about it... instead of spending £10k on solicitors fees you could spend all that money on three leading experts, an advoicate and a barrister for the day... and still have money left.!

If you go with the solictiors that charge £10k... you still have another £10k of costs... Trust me... i speak to LOTS of parents everyday who have ended up spending £20k

Get in touch if you want to chat

zumbaleena Sat 13-Jul-13 17:43:06

Towie - ie did not mean to hurt u

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 17:04:44

TOWIE - that comment ABSOLUTELY was not aimed at you!!! I know you have never said that. It was general guidance. I am sorry you took it as related to your choice of lawyer. Please re-read my comments - it really was not about you!!

Towie - are you HoppingonOnefoot too??? Now I feel like I have upset you. I am sorry. I didn't mean to. There is undoubtedly case law in Tribunals but, as a lawyer, I just meant that it is not, legally, the most complex forum and I think few lawyers will dispute that (save perhaps education lawyers).

Please re-read and see my comments were meant as general thoughts not about you or your lawyers!!!

HoppingOnOneFoot Sat 13-Jul-13 16:39:30

And yes, SEN Legal do act within their ethical duty! And yes, there was a hell of a lot of case law being thrown around yesterday.

Going to bow out now.

TOWIELA Sat 13-Jul-13 16:18:45

IE - you misunderstand me. I wasn't sat with counsel AND a solicitor. I have never said that, and that certainly wasn't the case. I don't really want to go into further details or justify my choice of legal representation on a pubic forum. But I am more than happy with that choice.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 15:46:05

Have you tried Polly Sweeney at Irwin Mitchell?

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 15:43:10

Solicitors are under a professional ethical duty to give you an estimate of costs and to update that as you go.

You should never be put 'on the clock' .

Also, personal opinion here, I have to say that Tribunals are very practically minded (lots of costings and weighing up evidence) and it is not a particularly challenging process legally (there isn't lots of case law to debate etc) so there really should be no need to ramp up massive costs just for writing letters or reading documents.

This is not civil or criminal law in front of judges (sadly) where the content of cases is often much more complex legally (I don't mean that the detail of SEN cases aren't complex).

You really don't need barristers. Any education solicitor worth their salt should be able to do the case themselves and not have to spend thousand instructing counsel.

I think it should NEVER be the case that you are sat with counsel AND solicitor at a Tribunal.

zumbaleena Sat 13-Jul-13 12:56:22

I hv seen Melinda and Adam and they r simply brilliant. Yes...they can be expensive but they take some of the most complex cases ever

TOWIELA Sat 13-Jul-13 10:48:17

Not really. It is highly unlikely that anyone offering fixed fees would have taken on my DS's case. They wouldn't have touched it with a barge pole. I would imagine if I had found someone who would do it for a fixed fee, that fixed-fee would be the same amount of money as my non-fixed fees.

The main thing is that there's many different solicitors and everyone has to the right to pick the solicitor that is right for them and their DC's case. SEN Legal was right for me and my DS. So I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.

nennypops Sat 13-Jul-13 10:23:59

Bit worrying that you say your fees keep clocking up, though. I went for a firm offering fixed fees (which were then reduced because the case settled) and knowing exactly what I was letting myself in for was quite a relief.

TOWIELA Thu 11-Jul-13 23:38:58

Nennypops - that was an extreme case and involved all sorts of nastiness. It wasn't just a disability discrimination tribunal

Yes they are expensive. But I've spent nowhere near that amount with them!!!! And their fees directly relate to the viciousness of the LA. I have been told that most other LAs would have given up fighting my DC case by now. But my LA just keeps on going and directly because of that my legal fees keep on clocking up

nennypops Thu 11-Jul-13 23:31:43

From what I've heard, SEN Legal appear initially to be cheap but they won't do fixed fees and the way the costs mount up is frightening. They're the ones who ended up clocking up over £120K for a disability discrimination tribunal.

Nigel1 Thu 11-Jul-13 20:44:31

Try Education Advocacy

hoxtonbabe Thu 11-Jul-13 18:52:43

SEN legal are cheaper than DS, have you seen his fees?!?!

nennypops Wed 10-Jul-13 20:39:37

If Douglas Silas and Langley Wellington are out of your budget, SEN Legal would certainly be. Re Fisher Meredith, just say no.

babiki Wed 10-Jul-13 20:13:10

Oh I see that's a bugger. We Levenes are stuck with me now altough it first looked as off the shekf, it ain't no more.

I don't know what to advice you sad maybe combination of barrister and advocate? There must be somebody out there!!!

hoxtonbabe Wed 10-Jul-13 19:00:39

Babiki, Off shelf means straight forward cases, mine (as you know) is far from it.

Im still hunting as I am trying to find a balance between cost and reasonably sound solicitor, the good ones charge more than I can afford which is fair enough, and then that leaves me with the ones that will cause my case more harm than injury, and believe you me, i have learned the hard way and not going to make the same mistake. I was thinking of getting a barrister on board to put the arguments together , etc..but naturally I do all the "admin" I do it all now anyway, I cant begin to tell you you how much orgsansing of expert witnesses, prodding solicitors for deadlines, etc i have done over the years :-(

My only issue is that I don't know the law so to speak (I know the basics) and that is where I need the legal expert on board or I would do it myself as my SLT's and EPs are fine and they can guide me on things also sadly though the direct access barristers are not that great with the exception of the Hardwicke lot, but I don't like them, lol

Summerhasloaded Wed 10-Jul-13 16:32:02

Try these advocates. I've heard good reports and they're very reasonable. Evelyn has a masters in autism.

babiki Wed 10-Jul-13 15:23:47

Sorry what does it mean 'want off shelf'?

You poor thing, still hunting for solicitor sad

hoxtonbabe Wed 10-Jul-13 14:24:12

Hi all,

Has anyone come across any solicitors that are prepared to get stuck in to cases that are not off the shelf, but also not £200 per hour? I have come across some around £170 per hour but they may do more harm than good :-(

John Ford: no capacity (apparently) and want off shelf
Levines: Want off shelf
Moore Blatch: Want off the shelf
Maxwell: Not an option
SEN Legal: I'm in 2 minds following conversation
children's legal practice: Were a bit funny when I approached them before
Fisher Meredith: Since the major players left, its not quite what it used to be, and although would take on case, experience not so sound anymore
Douglas Silas: way out of my budget
Langley Wellington: Out of budget
Leigh Day: Out of budget as it would be a partner dealing with it :-(
Fiona S: No capacity

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