Following campaigning by the NAS alongside a range of other organisations who are part of the Special Education Consortium (SEC), the Government has reversed its decision to remove legal aid for SEN cases.
Announcing the publication of the Legal Aid and Sentancing Bill on 21st June, Justice Minister Ken Clark stated clearly that he had decided to protect legal aid for SEN cases.
The legal aid scheme provides free legal support to the poorest parents appealing to the Tribunal against decisions made by local authorities in England about the additional support their child gets.
Parents can receive legal advice in preparing a case and also legal representation at the Upper-tier Tribunal (which is the equivalent of the High Court).
Legal aid also allows parents to purchase the independent reports needed to support their evidence to the Tribunal. The eligibility criteria for legal aid is both means tested and based on a merits test that considers the chances of a claim succeeding and the resources at stake.
For more information and advice on preparing for Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunals, contact our education rights service on 0808 8004102 or see: http://www.autism.org.uk/our-services/advice-and-information-services/education-rights-service/advocacy-for-education-service-in-england-and-wales.aspx