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one week to go to my NIL appeal and the LA have instucted a barrister

(49 Posts)
bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 12:11:49

got the letter today on a Saturday - they want the sen officer to be an observer now and to be there purely to instruct counsel.

I don't want that I want her to answer questions as she wrote NIL and she made the decision so shes hiding behind the barrister.

FFS why why why ...... I will be opposing but help with what to write would be greatly appreciated

Ineedmorepatience Sat 17-Jan-15 13:44:29

Noooooo sad I knew thhat was going to be you bjk I have no idea how to help you!

Dirty, dirty tricks!

I hope someone can! flowers

2boysnamedR Sat 17-Jan-15 14:05:04

She will still have to answer re the nil. Now she is no longer the rep, she can be a witness. Ring ipsea asap

2boysnamedR Sat 17-Jan-15 14:07:26

The judge was asking the la lot why there there was no ot on our nil. They said they didn't write it.

uggerthebugger Sat 17-Jan-15 14:10:57

OK, well if they want the SEN officer to be an observer in the hearing - and if that's the precise term they've used - then the officer will not be participating at all on the day.

He or she might imagine that she'll be able to whisper sweet nothings into counsel's ear from the sidelines. That's not how observer status works. So either your officer sits next to the barrister - taking a full part in proceedings - or he/she sits at the back, with a metaphorical 12 inches of masking tape plastered over the month.

I don't know anyone who's had an arrangement like this. But I can't imagine that the panel would take anything other than a very dim view of an LA team where the leading officer has hidden behind the robes of an expensive barrister AND disqualified his/herself from taking part.

I do know a number of people though who have represented themselves at the hearing against a barrister - and won comprehensively. These fools can only polish their turd so far before it falls apart.


2boysnamedR Sat 17-Jan-15 14:28:11

Did they name the barrister?

Deep breath. It's like hiring a barrister to prove a wheelchair bound child should be taking the stairs. Doesn't matter if it's the best damn barrister they can't win. My county wouldn't have faught this I think.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 17-Jan-15 14:29:32

Phone IPSEA. The LA would have to have named legal representation or at least filed TBA with tribunal before now or they would have to file a request for changes with tribunal. I don't even know that additional requests can be filed this late in the day. I would file my own request form with tribunal and oppose any LA request this late esp a barrister. The If tribunal said no then the LA would have to make a request to the panel on the day of the hearing - just like having new evidence accepted on the day. I'm no expert so check the legal position with IPSEA - phone their tribunal helpline.

chocnomorechoc Sat 17-Jan-15 14:40:16

don't lose heart. I also know mums who went without legal rep against a barrister and won.

And don't forget he/she won't know the case you do. Nowhere near as well. Poor mite must be in sweat over your huge evidence bundle grin

ohnoalfie Sat 17-Jan-15 14:44:34

I'm a lurker on your threads bjk and so sorry your LA is putting you through this. Was going to say what keep said. They would have submitted their attendance forms ages ago and at this stage
shouldn't request for changes be sent to both you and sendist. It seems completely unfair that they can do this a week before your appeal. How can you reasonably be expected to find your own legal counsel
So late in the day? Sure it's not a coincidence the letter arrived on a Saturday. All the best to you.

2boysnamedR Sat 17-Jan-15 14:54:37

Forgot about the request for change form. If they didn't say barrister tbc by their witness date then you can block it. Also yes they should have sent it to you with a tribunal change order ( all on sendist website) I had this in the week before mine. It was pure bullying tactic)

StarlightMcKenzee Sat 17-Jan-15 15:54:32

No to observers. Yes to her attending as a witness. You can call her yourself if the LA won't but you have to balance the likeliness of her being there helping or hindering your case.

The panel is the panel. Some are great and some are shit. The shit ones will be shit barrister or not and the great ones will find this last minute announcement cruel and begin at least, routing for the underdog.

StarlightMcKenzee Sat 17-Jan-15 15:57:24

If you do not let her in as an observer, and she doesn't attend as a witness, be prepared for her to sit in the foyer and be involved in LA discussions in the frequent breaks the barrister will request.

If she IS an observer, she'll signal to the barrister when she wants to say something so that the barrister can request a break.

So, you can't get rid of her totally therefore if possible I would only agree to her being there as a witness or not at all (banished to the foyer).

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 15:59:44

its the same barrister we had at the hearing with our DS - we won him an indie placement with no legal representation ourselves so just cos they are using this barrister is no indication of the LA being in a better position - they have no case, they have no evidence - this will be no doubt the 'developments' the class teacher was hinting at on Thursday which she will tell us about on Tuesday so no doubt the LA have told her so she can have her training from the barrister.

they have sent a request for changes form - mine came via the post - no doubt the tribunal were emailed it yesterday. the other question I guess is how long have they been planning this..... my bet is that they may have instructed him weeks ago and left it to now to tell us.

will be opposing it obviously but I think all these shenanigans leave us wide open for an adjournment as its an afternoon hearing

StarlightMcKenzee Sat 17-Jan-15 16:00:06

Do what Keep said, AND put in a FOI/SAR to ask them to disclose on what date they formally requested the barrister to be involved in your case.

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 16:01:46

star I want her there as a witness - she has made all of the decisions re my daughter and I have questions for her - she is running scared because she knows she is going to be placed in a very uncomfortable position as will her handling of the case.

so far no attempt to call the LA EP but I have a feeling that's coming next......

StarlightMcKenzee Sat 17-Jan-15 16:01:54

The likeliness for an adjournment is a good reason to request refusal of barrister. It is not in your child's best interests.

StarlightMcKenzee Sat 17-Jan-15 16:03:04

Then, fight the barrister thing and refuse the observation, but if the tribunal agree him, call her as your witness.

Then, request that the whole thing is done on oath on the day.

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 16:04:27

star - I think I will put in my response to the tribunal that we would like to know when counsel was instructed so the judge can deal with that point and he can ask the LA outright cos its a reasonable question.

I can see a telephone hearing looming........

billiejeanbob Sat 17-Jan-15 16:20:36

so sorry to hear this bjk.
Unfortunately it is likely that sendist will allow them to have a legal rep. I couldn't secure legal representation until 5 days before our hearing and had to submit a request for changes form. The LA strongly opposed this (they weren't legally represented) but sendist still agreed to it.
ime the panel agreed all last minute changes including late evidence and LA request for adjournment half way through a full days hearing.

I think your LA are beginning to wobble! They clearly don't have a good case - seems like they are now clutching at straws!

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 16:31:41

im prepared that they will allow it but the stress is on them cos they wont know until a few days before so they will be more stressed than me! been here and got the t shirt so to speak. though I will oppose and wont go down without a fight

uggerthebugger Sat 17-Jan-15 16:42:01

So if you're an observer, you can have contact with participants - just not in the confines of the hearing room and discussion rooms?


Bloody hell. We had an observer in our hearing (new member of LA staff), she was given strict instructions not to interact with anyone on either side while the hearing was taking place. I didn't think that this wouldn't apply to breaks.

How much does it cost to instruct a barrister for a case like this, anyway? Amazing how the money magically appears out of nowhere....

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 16:55:00

had this the last time the barrister was used - they had this same sen officer again instructing counsel but they were up front from the beginning about it all and it was a very different case = this time is it HER decisions that are before the hearing, she wrote the NIL, she decided to issue the NIL - I want to know how she came to these decisions and that's whats terrified her cos she knows that she is about to have a horrible time before the panel so shes protecting herself but then throwing the LA witnesses out of the window which is what she did at the last tribunal.

they also had a solicitor as well then and the solicitor wanted to be an observer as well so had counsel plus the sen officer then also wanted this observer as well - I said no - judge agreed and said no, they then asked again and second judge said no.

think the sen officer shot herself in the foot as on the form the request for changes she is making is asking for an observer - only then in the reasons does she mention the barrister and how she will be there to instruct him but not to actually take part........

fairgame Sat 17-Jan-15 17:12:02

Don't let her in as an observer, you can say no. My LA had a barrister and the school that i was appealing for had been in a hearing for another child where the SEN officer was an 'observer'. They said that during the breaks she was telling the barrister (who was apparently shite) what to do/say. You can say no to observers and i would tell her to FOTTFSOFTFOSM, it's all she deserves.
A true observer shouldn't be instructing anyone.

bjkmummy Sat 17-Jan-15 17:14:16

im scared fairgame now for DS - as they have 4 weeks to name secondary and if this the levels they are stooping to I feel sick to the stomach what they are going to do over him

fairgame Sat 17-Jan-15 17:19:40

I saw your thread about that. I really feel for you, this woman is the spawn of Satan and she's playing with your childrens lives!
Are school supporting you at all? She shouldn't be allowed to do all this to one family and get away with it angry

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