Appeals can be submitted to the SEND Tribunal against certain decisions made by the local authority (LA) in relation to a child’s or young person’s EHC needs assessment and EHC plan. Appeals are made to the SEND Tribunal against decisions the local authority have made. In West Sussex, this will be due to decisions made by SENAT (Special Educational Assessment Team) who represent the LA in issues with EHC needs assessment and EHC plans.
PLEASE NOTE: Where possible we include the most up to date information available. However, we are particularly aware that the SEND Tribunal have received an unprecedented number of appeals in recent weeks, which is especially impacting their hearing timescales. Therefore any timescales mentioned in this or our other appeal pages, may not be up to date as the situation continues to be reviewed. For further information about this and what to consider, please check our blog: Delays to Appeal Hearings – what can I do?
The role and function of the SEND Tribunal
Who can appeal to the SEND Tribunal about EHC needs assessments and plans
What decisions can parents or young people appeal about?
Conditions related to appeals
Decisions the Tribunal can make
How parents and young people can appeal
What happens after submitting an appeal
If I want legal representation is there funding available?
Is there any free support to help me with an appeal?
Going to the Hearing
Before the Hearing
Make sure you have the following to take with you:
- your hearing letter with your case number – the case number helps you find where you need to go in the building
- any papers that you need for your hearing
- a face covering, if you choose to wear one
- hand sanitiser, if you have some
- food and drink, including water (not all buildings have refreshments available). You cannot take in weapons, glass or liquids other than non-alcoholic drinks or hand sanitiser.
Make any arrangements you need to for the day, for example childcare or taking time off work. There are no childcare facilities and staff cannot look after your children while you are in the hearing room.
If you have a disability
You can get support in the court or tribunal building and during your case. This is sometimes called a ‘reasonable adjustment’.
Before your hearing date, contact the court or tribunal on your letter to let them know what you need.
For example, this could be:
- ramps or accessible toilets
- a hearing loop
- forms in large print
- guidance in audio or easy read formats
On the day of the Hearing
Arrive 30 minutes before the time stated in your hearing letter. Do not arrive earlier as you may be turned away, particularly during busy times. The time given in your letter is when the day’s cases start. Your case might not be first so be prepared to wait.
When you enter the building
When you enter a court or tribunal building, your bags and pockets may be checked like they would be at an airport. This may include:
- handing over your bag for it to be checked
- emptying your pockets into a tray
- taking off your shoes, coat, gloves, hat or belt
- walking through an archway detector
- being checked with a handheld scanner
You may be asked to leave certain items with security staff – you’ll get them back when you leave.
A member of staff will call you into the hearing room and show you where to sit.
During the Hearing
- You must silence all calls and notifications on mobile devices when you are in the hearing room
- You can take notes but you must not take photos or videos
- You can ask a member of staff if you need to take a break at any point during your hearing
- As part of the hearing, someone will explain who will speak and when, including what to do if you have any questions.
- You’ll be given time to give your views and make reference to any evidence you think may help. If you have a solicitor or barrister, they’ll ask questions for you.
- You are likely to be nervous and the judge will be used to this but try and speak clearly and politely to the judge, even if you are feeling emotional.
After the Hearing
The judge may summarise the main points and explain that you will receive their decision by post in a few days time.
Leave the building straight away after your hearing, this helps limit the number of people inside at any one time.
HM Courts & Tribunal Service Guide to making an appeal – SEND 37
HMTCSgov.uk have a range of YouTube videos on the Tribunal and Hearings: