This document constitutes the agreement between the parties outlined in the case review and advice letter or upon instruction in SEND Tribunal cases.
2.1 We work solely in the field of special educational needs and disability (SEND).
2.2 We believe that our advice and support will help you take informed and accurate decision about your child’s future.
2.3 Where we do not have the expertise to deal with a particular issue then we will refer you on to the most appropriate provider.
2.4 We undertake to use all reasonable skill and care in our work on your case.
2.5 Advice is based on information provided by you and we cannot be held responsible should you fail to disclose information which could affect the advice.
2.6 We will not be held responsible for any acts arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or your or others failure to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or other relevant authorities.
3.1 In order to be as responsive as possible we will normally communicate with you via email.
3.2 We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may occur through the use of email. All risks connected with the passage of such information shall be borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk then you should notify us in writing that email is not an acceptable form of communication.
3.3 We do not accept service or correspondence via encrypted email.
4.1 We will update you (by telephone or in writing) on the progress of your case as often as possible.
4.2 We will communicate with you in plain language.
4.3 We will explain to you (by telephone or in writing) the legal work and processes required as your case progresses.
4.4 We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the costs and risks associated with your case or whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
5.1 The case will be managed by the person named in the advice letter.
6.1 You have told us that you are not eligible for help under the Legal Aid Scheme. If you are in any doubt you can check at www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid. If you are eligible for Legal Aid then you should apply for it.
7.1 The estimate shall be as indicated in the case review and advice letter. The estimate may change as work progresses through the case.
7.2 If we believe that the original costs estimate will be exceeded for whatever reason, we will write and advise you accordingly and update our costs estimate.
8.1 All of our work is done on a private costs basis.
8.2 Provided the work is done with reasonable skill and care, fees are due regardless of the outcome of the case.
8.3 SEND Tribunal work is charged at a capped fee. When you instruct us we require that you pay this fee upfront. The payment can be made by online transfer. If your case concludes early then we will charge for any work done at our standard hourly rate and refund any remaining funds to you.
8.4 Payment for attendance at the SEND Tribunal hearing, including accommodation and transport costs, must be made before departure for the hearing
8.5 Non SEND Tribunal work is charged at our standard hourly rate. An estimate of the work will be provided at the case review and advice stage where we will require a deposit of 50% of the estimate.
8.6 We will invoice you monthly against the work carried out during that month. When the work is complete we will use the deposit against the final invoice and refund any remaining funds to you.
8.7 When signing the acknowledgement of receipt for these terms and conditions you are undertaking to pay your invoice within 14 days of the date of the invoice.
8.8 We will suspend work on the file if your invoice is not paid, in full, within 14 days of the date of the invoice.
9.1 Non SEND Tribunal case work is charged at our standard hourly rate. SEND Tribunal case work is charged at a capped fee. If your appeal is included in the National Trial this may incur additional fees which will be explained at the initial review and advice stage. If additional fees are relevant than an estimate will be provided and added to the capped fee. Representation at the SEND Tribunal hearing is charged separately.
9.2 Mileage will be charged at a rate of 45p per mile or the standard rate train fare or a combination of the two covering travel to the mainline train station plus car parking and train fare. Mileage will be calculated using the fastest option.
9.3 Accommodation will not normally be necessary when the hearing venue is less than a 2 hour drive from your case worker’s location. If accommodation is necessary this will be a budget hotel and will charged just before the SEND Tribunal hearing. Accommodation will also need to include breakfast.
9.4 If you choose to instruct an expert you will be responsible for the payment of all expert fees directly to the individual expert. This includes payment of their individual assessments, reports and their hearing attendance fees if applicable.
9.5 Additional costs may be incurred for all services and are as follows:
10.1 We must stress that we cannot guarantee a case will be successful in full. The assessment may change as we progress thorough the case. When that does change we will advise you accordingly and gain your permission to proceed.
11.1 We welcome payment though electronic banking. Please ensure that you provide your client reference number. Failure to do so may cause your money to be misallocated.
11.2 Our account details are specified in the invoice.
11.3 We will not issue a receipt unless specifically asked.
11.4 We would ask that you do not send cash through the post.
12.1 As a general rule in education cases, it is not possible to recover costs from the local authority. Therefore you should be prepared to bear the costs of the case on your own.
12.2 Should you decide to stop using our services part way through your case you will be charged for the work carried out until that date and we will return any remaining funds to you. If however, you owe us money for the work carried out you will need to settle the account within 14 days of the receiving the invoice.
13.1 At the end of the case we will advise you of the outcome and impact of the decision
14.1 Case reviews only – The Distance Selling Regulations give you a right to cancel within 14 days of receipt of your payment to us, which we take as you instructing us to carry out a case review. As our service to you will begin immediately (when we receive your payment and papers) you acknowledge that your right to cancel is lost.
14.2 We will consider a contract to have been formed when we receive a signed copy of the ‘acknowledgement of receipt’ confirming you received our case review and advice letter with an acknowledgement of our Terms and Conditions. You have 14 days from us receiving the ‘acknowledgement of receipt’ letter to cancel the contract by writing to us.
14.3 Any work carried out during this period will be charged at our standard hourly rate. We will then return any outstanding funds to you and the papers you have sent us. If however, you owe us money for the work carried out you will need to settle the account within 14 days of the receiving the invoice.
14.4 Should you decide you do not want us to act for you at any other time you must put this in writing to us. Any work carried out during this period will be charged at our standard hourly rate. We will then return any outstanding funds to you and the papers you have sent us. If however, you owe us money for the work carried out you will need to settle the account within 14 days of the receiving the invoice.
15.1 We may decide to stop acting if:
15.1.1 A request for a payment is outstanding for more than 15 days
15.1.2 We cannot continue to act without being in breach of our duty to the SEND Tribunal
15.1.3 We are unable to obtain clear instructions from you
15.1.4 You require the case to be conducted unreasonably
15.1.5 There has been a breakdown of confidence between us
15.2 We will write to you notifying you of our intentions.
15.3 Any work carried out during this period will be charged at our standard hourly rate. If we hold any of your funds we will then return them to you and the papers you have sent us. If however, you owe us money for the work carried out you will need to settle the account within 14 days of the receiving the invoice.
16.1 Our normal hours of business are from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. We are happy to discuss the case outside those hours by appointment only.
17.1 Subject to certain statutory exceptions, we commit that everything you tell us will be kept strictly confidential.
18.1 General Data Protection Regulations form part of the data protection regime in the UK, together with the Data Protection Act 2018.
18.2 A copy of our Privacy Notice is available on our website.
19.1 We ask that you do not send us any original papers unless you are sending us electronic versions. If you do send us original papers by post it will be at your own risk and we will copy the papers and return them to you during the course of the case. You will be charged for the copying and returning of original documents.
19.2 We cannot accept papers for storage in ‘safe custody.’
19.3 Following the conclusion of the case, and after all outstanding fees have been paid, we will keep our paper files for 3 months.
19.4 After 3 months the file will then be electronically scanned and stored. The paper files will be shredded and securely disposed of. We will not write to you advising you of this unless you specifically request this in writing.
20.1 If you are in any way dissatisfied with our work please write to us detailing the area of concern. We aim to provide a written response within 72 hours.
21.1 Before we can start work we need your agreement to our Terms and Conditions. Please read these carefully and then if you are content to be bound by them please sign and return one copy of the ‘acknowledgement of receipt’ to us either by post or electronically through email. Please also pay the applicable fee. Please also sign and return the ‘Form of Authority’ without which we cannot act on your behalf.