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What happens on the day of the tribunal?(21 Posts)
I have seen the videos on ipsea. Reading and highlighting points in reports. What else to do?
Do dad and I have to speak that day? Honesty we will mess it up. I will end up crying and getting all aversive and he will end up glorifying how great his daughter is doing(KWIM? You don't want to be too positive there). Can we let Fiona do all the talking.
Will speak to her Ofcourse.
Fiona is great and will do the most of everything for you. She met with me before the hearing to go over what I might need to say to the panel but most of it on the day just flowed naturally. If you think you and your DH will not say the same things though I think you need to talk that through with Fiona together if you can before the hearing so you don't surprise each other - or her! The panel ask a lot of questions but Fiona will be well placed and aware of the reports and experts to answer most of these on your behalf. I found it nice to be able to speak and put my opinion in now and again though and they seemed happy enough to listen to me. My DH on the other hand said very little throughout the hearing and just agreed politely with things that were said. From his point of view he felt that the right things were said so he had no real need to add to them.
I didn't expect to speak but ended up giving the most evidence - hours of it. But once the adrenaline kicks in, you'll be fine. I was asked about DS anxiety - that was very draining and I spoke for about an hour. I was also asked a lot of other stuff. My barrister gave me cues when he wanted me to speak - so he said things like "Mrs Towie, tell the judge about your home education arrangements" and so I got my cue from him.
A few tips
- Wear layers. Our tribunal was in the summer, the hearing room was freezing cold (air con) but the waiting room was baking (no air-con and full length windows pouring in sun/heat). Take deodorant with you - surprising how sweaty it gets once you're in full flow of the hearing (sorry, tmi!)
- There's normally a water machine near the waiting rooms, and water in the hearing room. But I took my own bottles too so I didn't have to go out of the waiting room to get water.
- You'll probably have a 30 minute break for lunch. Depending on where the hearing is, there might be cafes, but there might not be. Even tho ours was in central London and near cafes, I took sandwiches for DH and myself as I didn't want to leave the room in case I bumped into "them" in the same cafe. Make sure you have enough food to keep you going - and any little "treats" to give you a pick-me-up if you feel yourself flagging.
- Take a pack of post-it notes. You will need them! The Tribunal will only let one person speak at a time - so you mustn't interrupt anyone talking. However, whilst your advocate/experts are talking, you might think of something so might want to slip them a note on a post-it. At my hearing, at one stage all the experts were shoving notes my way when I was speaking! It was very disconcerting if you're in full flow! But it is very handy and means noone interrupts the speaker.
- Take a photo of DC. I know this is controversial with some people, but I wanted the panel to know that there was a real child behind this, and that they shouldn't loose sight of that when all his "problems" were discussed.
- I also wore something that reminded me of DS. I wore a little bracelet he bought me from a yard sale at his old school for 10p! Everytime I "forgot" about him (IYSWIM), I twiddled it, and it reminded me both of him, and his crap old school (where he bought it). It kinda-of focused my mind and made me remember that this was all about a little boy who loves his mum and deserved a chance in life.
You'll find there'll be a lot of hanging around and waiting. We spent more time in the waiting room then in the hearing because of the game-playing by the LA.
You really won't cry. You'll find you so want to put over your point, and will be so enraged by the LA's
crap argument, that all thoughts of crying will be driven out of your mind.
Good luck. When is it?
Very useful tips... Thanks a lot. It's 11th march. And you know, I still don't know where it is
Will it be in the tribunal order?
Just saw the letter. We will be informed 10 days before the hearing...
Brilliant thread salondon I am also off to tribunal soon and never would have thought to ask on here what its like.
Thanks for the info towie and beautiful
Yours is before mine sal Good luck
The advice towie gives is very accurate - the LA at the venue use the same coffee machine and toilets as you. We got there early to only walk in and find all the LA team standing in the hallway together - we just went into our room and stayed in there. I took drinks and snacks with us. You will probably get the venue details when they send the final bundle through which is about 2 weeks before. They used to tell you where th venue was when you first appealed but looks like its changed as in my appeal I'm doing at the moment like you no venue is mentioned. As it was with my last tribunal the venue named in the beginning was then changed 2 weeks before and I had a last minute panic trying to make sure everyone knew the change of venue s maybe it's good they tell you later, I will see what venue I get this time. The venue here is usually a magistrates court.
Thanks BJK. Is there a magistrate's court per LA?
Is the general mood quite terse? I mean would it be awkward even being in the ladies toilets with them? That is so stressful. I mean we have to deal with them for years to come.
Make a bullet point list beforehand of what you want to say, just to remind yourself so you're not worrying that you'll forget something.
Yes it would be awkward to be in the same toilet at the same time.
It is very tense and my LA were certainly trying to get the psychological advantage over us. Unfortunately we all arrived at the same time, so desk security had to sign us in one-by-one. The
bitch LA rep made a point of going up to my barrister (who was with me) and saying to him "Are these THE parents?" (She didn't even have the courtesy to say my name) Then she went to shake my hand and I glared at her and turned away - I was shaking with rage. This is the same woman who had refused to meet with me to discuss my DS for months, and had ignored all my letters and emails, but was now making out she was this wonderful professional person and wanted to me "introduced" to me. If she'd answered our request for a meeting, she wouldn't have had to get my barrister to introduce me! It was all a psychological ploy
A lot of it is psychological outside of the hearing rooms. Just ignore it, stay in your room, and focus on you DC.
The psychology does work both ways though...overheard in the toilets at lunch break two of the LA witnesses talking to each other between the cubicles with one asking the other how she was feeling now as the panel had given her a really hard time and she felt for her. The other replied yes, that had been tough, didn't think it went too well and felt the other witness has also had a tough time too. First one agreed, yes the panel certainly see through the arguments we have and it isn't going well.
We won and were awarded everything we asked for, for DD.
Love it! Careless talk 'n all that!
Yes it def does go both ways. My barrister was fantastic and had a lot of one-liner throw-away comments which he stored up and used as we were all in line waiting to go into the hearing room. Addressed to no one in particular but they all found their mark As the LA rep originally had to stay in the waiting room because she was an unauthorised 4th witness, he even bade her a cherry wave as we walked past her in her waiting room. The look on her face was beautiful! She got her way tho, and was allowed in as a 4th witness - but more fool them because the barrister tore her evidence apart
The LA locked themselves away in their room at each break. At the end of the Tribunal, they were all dejectedly huddled in their waiting room doing a post-mortem. Whilst we all loudly left the premises in laughter as it had gone well for us and so badly for them.
Ladies, how is your relationship with these same people now?
Also, bit of a silly question. But one that I struggle with a lot. Do we all have to address each other as mrs x, mr y, the LA rep, the LEA EP? Can't we all just introduce ourselves and use first names? Mrs mylastname just sounds very odd to me. At work I am so used to being called by my first name.
The nature of tribunals is adversarial isn't it
Yes it is adversarial. I don't have a relationship with them at all - I never did have. They used bully-boy strong-arm tactics on their refusal to assess, so by the time we got to hearing on part 2, 3, and 4, and they refused to answer any emails/letters etc, there was no relationship - 18 months of absolute hell from them meant it was already adversarial before we had even met face to face. And there still isn't a relationship.
I was very careful and didn't direct any anger at all to the LA school - instead I praised them no-end so said quite clearly that I highly respected the witnesses,and if my child's needs had been xyz, then I would have not hesitated to send him to their school. The Judge made a note of this in her Decision.
"Mr xx" and "Mrs xx" is fine. These people aren't your friends.
Another point about Tribunal I just remembered.... Always leave the room at the same time as the LA. The court's clerk should be very aware of this and you ALL leave the room at the same time. At no point should any side be in the hearing room on their own - both sides have to be in the room together or leave the room together. If one side is in there without the other, they can order a mis-hearing and order a new hearing. The clerk is (obviously!) aware of this so it shouldn't happen but don't think you can "pop back" into the hearing room to get anything you've left behind - tell the clerk and let them get it.
DC is now in indie ss with masses of provision because school couldn't meet need.
We haven't heard from the LA since apart from getting the new statement issued and DD transfer completed to her new school. They dragged their heels a bit over that but soon sorted themselves out when I pushed them to get on with things. We are approaching the first review shortly so I may know more about how they behave then.
We were similar to TOWIELA and didn't try put the school down in our case, but rather acknowledged all the things they had said they were doing as if they had been doing these well (they couldn't then deny it of course!) and then pointing out that how despite all this help DD was failing.
We were Mr and Mrs X in the hearing, not first names. At work I am used to being called by my first name too, also very used to being Mrs X in appointments with professionals too.
After we won the a woman from the sen team phoned me to say maybe we could now work together - yet right cos they had totally ignored me for the past year and made my life hell. This was the woman who had lied to my face in a meeting. Fast forward a year and all very cordial and we are heading back to tribunal for a second time in 15 months. They have learnt nothing, emails go unanswered , I'm being ignored so nothing has changed and no lessons on their part have been learnt
A friend wisely told me that I had nothing to worry about post tribunal as these people have to be nice to me as the are employed by the council. So nice they are through gritted teeth.
I found the hearing itself the least stressful part of it. The worse part were the games leading up to it and the wait for the decision.
It will say in the Tribunal Decision letter whether or not the LA can appeal. If the LA can, then they can only ask for leave to appeal because of an error in law ie the way the Tribunal has applied the law. They cannot appeal the decision itself (unless the Tribunal has wrongly applied the law). If the Decision says the LA can appeal, then they will have 28 days in which to do it.
My lawyer advised that during this 28 days you do not go to the media or complain at all to anyone about the LA's behaviour but stay silent and under the radar. I also stayed away from all social media (MN included!) during this time. It's a very strange slow 28 days but my LA didn't appeal.
You know that two-faced interview thing back in the 1990s?
Where for whatever ridiculous reason they thought it was sensible to ask 'tell me about your weaknesses', and you'd have to prepare to say things that you hoped they'd see as strengths? (Oh, I'm a bit too diligent, really hate sending out things with typos in, I'm over-conscious of my own flaws, oh teamwork is great but I sometimes struggle with chatting politely round the water-cooler when I want to get on with my work...)
Could you prime DH with several educationally irrelevant 'strengths' (only recently gained by DD, preferably with loads of his help, that would have been easily mastered by another child without SEN) that demonstrate how proud he is of her grit and determination in the face of overwhelming odds
Both parties have a right to apply for permission to appeal if they can identify an error of law. Don't assume, however, that you are safe after 28 days, because the LA doesn't have to tell you that it's applied so you may not find out till later when the tribunal decides whether to give them leave to appeal.
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