Refusal to Assess for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
If you consent to a paper hearing for an appeal against the Local Authority’s (LA) decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, then the appeal will be considered on the papers without the need for the parties (LA and parents/carers) to attend a hearing.
PLEASE NOTE – unless you have specified to the Tribunal that you want a paper hearing, the hearing will be an oral hearing.
You will send in all your evidence and explain your arguments in writing. The Tribunal will consist of 2 or 3 professionals/SEND specialists on the Panel, including 1 Judge and an expert in SEND related matters.
Within ten working days of submitting your appeal you will receive a confirmation email from the Tribunal Service that your appeal has been successfully lodged. At this point the Tribunal service will also make the LA aware you that have lodged your appeal against them.
The email will have some attachments to it, namely the ‘parent registration letter’ and advice on how to communicate with the Tribunal Service and will explain the Tribunal process and give dates by when actions need to be taken by yourself and the Local Authority (LA). Your registration letter will also confirm if you have an oral or a paper hearing.
There is a summary of Key Dates at the bottom of the ‘parent registration letter’ which are in a box. Please note that these dates are not in order and it is important to note that some have a time next to them to e.g. by noon by such a date.
It is important to remember that the Judge and professionals/SEND specialists will only have the evidence in front of them (in the Bundle) and will not be able to ask you any questions, so it is important to ensure that every piece of evidence or report has been emailed to Tribunal to be contained within the Bundle. Don’t assume they will ‘read between the lines’, it’s all about the evidence in front of them.
There will be a window of time between two dates, around ten days apart and your appeal could be heard anywhere between these two dates. Approximately 2 weeks before the hearing date you will receive a’ Notice of Hearing’, which will advise you on which date your appeal will be heard.
You will receive the Tribunal decision (and reasons for the decision) ten working days after the hearing.
Note: In most cases there would appear that the advantage in asking for a paper hearing is that it may decrease the time taken to reach a decision in your case (rather than it resulting in a different outcome).