Lasting Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection & Deputyship

If you’re worried about losing the ability to manage your financial affairs finances or who will make decisions about your health or welfare either now or in later life, you may want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (known as an ‘LPA’)

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

Powers of Attorney

Keys facts about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

  • An LPA appoints an Attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf.
  • It records your wishes and what powers your Attorney(s) should be granted
  • If you lack the required capacity to sign an LPA then an application can be made on your behalf to the Court of Protection for them to appoint a ‘Deputy’ in respect of your ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’.

Types of LPA

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document that is prepared by or on behalf of someone who may need assistance in managing their financial affairs or relation to decisions about their health and welfare. People are free to sign either document or can choose to sign both.  

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA allows you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s)make decisions about you personally.  It can include decisions about your day to day life including care and support – subject to any restrictions or guidance you want to include.  It can also enable you to give your Attorney(s) the ability to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment.

PLEASE NOTE - this LPA can only be used when you are unable to make the specific decision in question.  You cannot delegate your responsibility to decide on matters about you personally if you are able to do so for yourself.

‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA

A ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA enables you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s) and make property and financial decisions on your behalf subject to any conditions or guidance that you want to include.

PLEASE NOTE - you can use this LPA whether or not you still have capacity to decide the decision in question yourself.

Both types of LPA require registration at the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used and should be registered immediately upon completion.

When do I need to have one done?

Anyone over the age of 18 is able to sign an LPA provided that they have the mental capacity to do so.  Often an LPA is signed where someone is beginning to lack mental capacity so as to ensure they have chosen who they trust to make decisions on their behalf.

For example, a person could have the mental capacity to make simple decisions (e.g. what to have for lunch today) but not more complex decisions (e.g. where to live or whether to have medical treatment). It also means that someone whose condition changes over time might have the mental capacity to make a decision one day but not the next.

What does ‘mental capacity’ mean?

Parents tell us they are concerned about their children who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions and worry about what will happen when they become young adults. The MCA is the law which applies to decision making for people aged 16 and over who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) says that decisions made about someone who lacks capacity must be made in their ‘best interests’.  The views of the person’s friends and family must be taken into account when deciding what is in the person’s best interests.

Things like these should be considered…

  • The person’s past and present wishes and feelings (including any written statement they made when they had capacity)
  • The beliefs and values they would be likely to have if they had capacity
  • Things they would consider if they were able to do so
  • The views of others, including, if appropriate, anyone caring for the person or interested in their welfare and any Attorney or Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection

Enduring Power of Attorney

Whilst it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney ‘EPA’ any document signed before the beginning of October 2007 remains valid.  PLEASE NOTE – an EPA relates to financial matters only and confers no legal powers whatsoever to a(n) Attorney(s) in relation to decisions about ‘Health and Welfare’.

An EPA does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian ‘OPG’ before it can be used.  An EPA can be used by an Attorney(s) without needing to register it provided that you have the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.  An Attorney must register the EPA with the OPG when they know or believe that you may have lost the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.

What happens if I don’t have an LPA?

Without an LPA, your family may find it difficult to manage both your financial affairs as well as take decisions about you personally as they will not have the legal authority to do so and may not know your wishes. They may need to apply to the Court of Protection for an Order to be appointed as your ‘Deputy’ for ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’. It can be costly and time-consuming to do this.

Putting both a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA in place offers security for you and your loved ones and lets you decide what should happen if old age, illness or injury leave you unable to deal with your own affairs.

How Do I Get an LPA?

You can put an LPA in place yourself or you can visit a solicitor who can discuss your individual circumstances and concerns that you may have guide and advise you about your options. They will be able to complete all of the paperwork and register the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian.  A solicitor will be able to review your situation more broadly and challenge and advise you on other issues that you may not have considered as well as looking at the ‘what if’ scenarios about how your family may act.

Sadly if you no longer have the mental capacity to understand what an LPA is and the powers that they confer upon your Attorney(s) it will not be possible to sign an LPA.  In that situation an application for ‘Deputyship’ will need to be made to the Court of Protection.  A solicitor will be able to advise you and your family about your options and prepare the application(s) for you.

How much will it cost?

There's a compulsory cost of £82 to register each LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian in England ‘OPG’. If you decide to use a solicitor, you'll also have to pay legal fees to your solicitor who will be able to advise you before you decide.  It may be possible to apply for the OPG registration fee to be waved.  You will need to complete form and demonstrate that you are within their eligibility criteria e.g. your income is below £12,000 per year.

Anything else I should know about LPAs?

An LPA can appear to be a straight forward document but please be advised that without specialist advice from a solicitor there is a risk that it could be invalid or difficult for your Attorney(s) to operate if does not function as you intended.

Where there are any questions concern mental capacity, an LPA should only be signed once a suitably qualified medical practitioner has done an assessment of capacity and confirmed in writing that you have the required capacity to sign the document.

PLEASE NOTE – ordinarily this would be a specialist medical practitioner rather than a GP.

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Advocacy

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy

Do you need help to be involved in decisions about your care needs? Or are you a carer of a young person who is about to start using adult services? Finding out about Advocacy is really important so that you or the young person you care for can be heard, understand your choices and make your own decisions.

What can an Advocate do?

Advocacy, Requesting Support in relation to the Care Act

Changes brought in by the Care Act mean that any decisions made by a local authority about your care will consider your well-being and what is important to you so that you can stay healthy and remain as independent as possible. To do this, it is important for you to be fully involved in decisions about your care and support needs.

An advocate can support you to…

  • Understand the assessment process
  • Understand your choices and make your own decisions
  • Tell others what you want and about your views and feelings
  • Help you to challenge a decision if you are not happy with it and
  • Make sure that you get the support you are entitled to.

Who needs advocacy?

You might be able to access advocacy if you are…

  • An adult who needs care and support
  • A carer of an adult
  • A carer of a young person who is about to start using adult services
  • A young person who is about to start using adult services.

And you find it very hard to…

  • Understand what is happening and the choices that you have
  • Decide what care and support you need
  • Tell people what you want
  • You do not have any friends or family available (or who feel able) to support you

Some people who lack capacity to make decisions in relation to their care or residence may already have an advocate appointed for them under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. If they do, it might be possible for the same advocate to be their Care Act advocate too.

Duty to provide advocacy support

Local authorities will be under a duty to provide an independent advocate where an adult may have “substantial difficulty” in doing one of the following…

  • Understanding relevant information
  • Retaining that information
  • Using or weighing up that information
  • Communicating their views, wishes or feelings.

And there is no appropriate person (such as a family member) who can support them.

 

When should an advocate be appointed?

The local authority will have to consider whether somebody has substantial difficulty in understanding matters and whether an advocate is therefore required in a number of scenarios including…

  • Carrying out needs assessments
  • Carrying out carer’s assessments
  • Preparing care and support plans for adults
  • Preparing support plans for carers
  • Revising care and support plans/support plans
  • Carrying out child’s needs assessment
  • Carrying out child’s carer’s assessment; and
  • Carrying out young carer’s assessments.

What happens next?

If a decision is made by a local authority about your care that you are not happy with, your advocate may be able to help. Your advocate can help you write a report about the things you don’t like to ask for the decision to be changed.

The local authority is under a duty to consider any written report from an advocate and respond in writing. It must also consider the advocate’s views when making decisions in relation to the individual in question.

An advocate may also be under a duty to bring legal proceedings on behalf of an individual that they represent, if disputes cannot be resolved with the local authority.

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Public Law & Community Care, including Judicial Review

judicial review

If you are a carer, or care for someone, then this is for you. When you depend on accessing community care and services on a daily basis and you lose it, things can go badly wrong. You can be left at risk, vulnerable and alone and often unaware of your rights. Find out here what you can do, how to get help and about Judicial Reviews.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

What’s gone wrong?

Public bodies such as Local Authorities and health organisations make important decisions about the lives of vulnerable people and their access to services. Sometimes these decisions are unlawful and may need to be challenged. Sometimes the bodies delay making a decision or do not reply at all and this may also need to be challenged.

This might include some of the following things…

• Failure to carry out a community care assessment
• Failure to provide a suitable level of care following an assessment
• Withdrawal or reduction of a previous level of care
• Closure of care facilities such as day centres, respite centres, care homes or transport services
• Rights to welfare services, such as help with personal care
• Services to enable people to remain in their own homes
• Access to aids and adaptations in the home
• Direct payments and personal budgets
• Support for people on discharge from hospital, or to help safe discharge take place
• Incontinence services
• Wheelchair services
• Support to help people to access the community
• Challenges to closure of care homes and hospitals

This can also include Disputes between local authorities and NHS agencies about funding for care, including NHS continuing care.

What do I do next?

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you can seek assistance or advice about steps you can take to challenge the decision. You can seek advice as a disabled person, a carer or a family member of a disabled child or adult. How to challenge the decision will depend on the type of decision made and the type of public body that has made the decision – so it is important to get good quality advice. You may need to make a formal complaint, start an appeal process, or start a Judicial review claim.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial review is the legal process used to hold public bodies to account and to challenge unlawful decisions. There are very strict time limits for bringing a challenge so it is important to seek advice as soon as possible if you think that an unlawful decision has been made.

 

A claim should be issued in court promptly and within 3 months of the decision, and before that your solicitor would write to the decision maker to set out details of the claim and wait for a response. So, you may need to get advice and legal representation fast.

This is a complicated process that solicitors can support you with in bringing cases on behalf of vulnerable disabled people to enforce their legal rights. You usually find that most cases can be resolved before going to court once other options and routes are explored. Judicial review should only be used as a last option.

Legal Aid may be available for advice and assistance.

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A Guide to the Care Act 2014

What happens when my disabled child becomes an adult?  The Care Act 2014 offers carers more rights & protection both for themselves and for the disabled adult they care for... including parent carers! Find out how the Care Act can help you and your family here.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

Care Act

How can The Care Act help me?

Disabled adults and their carers may be able to access these services and support including…

  • Care assessments and care plans
  • Respite provision
  • Day centre provision
  • Activities in the community
  • Support by professional carers
  • Personal budgets and direct payments
  • Local offer
  • Carer’s rights (see links below for more details)
  • Transition provisions for teenagers in the run up to turning 18

Duties Upon Local Services

According to the Care Act, there is no fixed timescale for the assessment process, but the local authority should complete it within an appropriate and reasonable timescale. What is “appropriate and reasonable” will depend on the circumstances, such as the urgency of the need for support. In certain circumstances local authorities should consider providing interim services prior to completion of assessment.

  • Care assessment should include a ‘plan of action’ – make sure that there is a lawful care plan which shows what services are going to be provided, who is going to provide them, and when.
  • Local authority and health care bodies/other agencies (such as housing) must work together.

Local authorities must also provide information and advice to people about accessing support services, even where those needs are not going to be directly met by the local authority.

Promoting Wellbeing

The general duty of a Local authority is to promote the individual’s ‘wellbeing’; this means that when making any decisions under the Care Act the local authority should bear in mind;-

  • Physical and mental health & emotional well-being
  • Protection from abuse & neglect
  • Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support, or support, provided to the individual and the way in which it is provided);
  • Participation in work, education, training or recreation
  • Social & economic well-being
  • Domestic, family, and personal relationships;
  • Suitability of living accommodation; and
  • The individual’s contribution to society.
  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect)
Care Act

The assessment process

Eligible needs, criteria to be assessed

You can request an assessment by telephone or in person, but it is always best to do it in writing so that you have a copy. This is the first step! It is important to work closely with the social worker, and give them as much information and other assessments/medical evidence as possible so that they can properly assess your son or daughter.

The second step is to determine what the disabled adult and carer’s needs are. This is done via the needs assessment process. One all needs have been identified, the social worker will then identify which of the needs are “eligible” needs and must be met by the local authority.

  • Under section 13 of the Care Act, local authorities will need to apply the eligibility criteria that are set out in the Regulations as a ”minimum”. The local authority only has a duty to meet needs that are “eligible” needs according to this national eligibility criteria.
  • The criteria apply across the country nationally, and so there should no longer be a postcode lottery when accessing care support.

A “needs assessment” will be carried out in a case where it appears a person “may have needs for care and support”. Where a carer may have needs for support, a carer’s assessment should also be carried out by the local authority. These assessments should be person-centred, meaning that the focus will be on what the individual wants to achieve. The assessments must consider the impact of the disabled person’s needs upon other family members – this is called the “whole family” approach. The assessments will be carried out by a social worker using an assessment tool that identifies your care needs as well as the whole family dynamics.

If the individual lacks capacity to make decisions about their care, or will have substantial difficulty in understanding the process, then the local authority must provide them with an independent advocate that can support them in the assessment process. That is, unless there is an appropriate person (like a family member) who can support them.

What does a good assessment plan look like?

There is no mandatory template for a care assessment that all Local Authorities will follow but Assessments should cover issues such as…

  • Diagnosis
  • Health and development, milestones etc
  • Communication needs
  • Equipment needs
  • Culture and identity
  • Any behavioural issues
  • Day-to-day care needs
  • Personal care needs
  • The person’s wishes and feelings in relation to their care and support
  • Need for respite

There must be a plan of action setting out how the needs will be met. The local authority should set this out in a separate document (a care and support plan).

Care Act

Direct Payments & Personal Budgets

At the end of the care and support plan you the local authority must set out your Personal budget. This is the pot of money allocated to you to meet your needs as set out in the care and support plan. This pot of money can be accessed by direct payments, which is where you receive the money yourself and pay carers directly. The other option is for the local authority to buy in services itself (called “direct commissioning”).

The local authority should set out clearly how the personal budget is calculated, so you can see why they have arrived at the figure. If you are going to manage the money yourself via direct payments, it is important that you understand your responsibilities from now on regarding managing this account and the administration duties.

(For more details on this subject please refer to personal budgets and direct payments guides)

Financial assessments

Local authorities will need to carry out a financial assessment to determine if a contribution needs to be paid towards the cost of the care. If individuals have income and savings above the upper threshold amounts, that person will be a “self-funder”, meaning they will have to pay for the care.

Looking for more legal advice?

Find legal support for your disabled or SEN child. Know their rights at school & find specialist advocates and lawyers.

Transitions & preparing for adulthood

Although the Care Act 2014 applies only to disabled adults, it does contain some important provisions relating to transition, as disabled teenagers approach adulthood.

Local authorities must carry out an assessment where it appears that a disabled child may have needs for care and support upon reaching 18. This is called a “child’s needs assessment”. The assessment process will identify how the child’s needs may impact on their wellbeing, what outcomes the child wants to achieve, and what care would help to achieve those outcomes. Authorities will need to determine whether it is likely that support will be required after the child turns 18, and must then provide advice about how those needs can be met or reduced now, or prevented or delayed.

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Challenging a Refusal to Assess your Disabled Child

Challenging a refusal to assess your disabled child for specialist services

Disability Living Allowance Hearing

Has your council told you that they will not assess your disabled child so that they might have access to short breaks or any other support services or help? This is not about your child’s EHCP by the way but about all of the other help your child could get from your local council to support you and your family. Find out here about how legislation in health and social care can help you access short breaks and other help your child needs. 

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

How to ask for an assessment

Is there a minimum age?

There is no minimum age for a child to be ‘in need’ and for an assessment to be required.

Does my child need a diagnosis?

There is no requirement for a formal diagnosis before there is a duty to assess.

Here are the steps to guide you through the process…

 

  1. Ask if an assessment can be carried out from their social worker or the duty worker from the Disabled Children’s Team. The request can be made on the telephone, face-to-face or in writing by letter or email. Parents can simply ask “will the council carry out an assessment of my child under section 17 of the Children Act 1989?”
  1. If the answer is ‘no’, then a version of the letter suggested below can be sent. Local Authorities only have one working day to decide what type of response is required and to acknowledge receipt, so if no response is received within a few days, it is appropriate to write the letter  and send it back to your Local Authority.
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Click here to find out how the Care Act can help you and your family here.

What does a 'child in need' mean?

Children are ‘in need’ if they need help from the council with their health or development or if they are ‘disabled’. The term ‘disabled’ under the Children Act 1989 has a very wide meaning. It includes any mental disorder or any substantial and permanent physical disability.

It will be unlawful to refuse to assess children because they have a particular type of disability – for example ADHD or Asperger syndrome.

Legal duties upon Local Authorities

Assessments under the Children Act 1989 (and for carers under the Children and Families Act 2014) are the first part of the legal process that councils must go through in order to decide if a disabled child and / or their carers should be provided with services. The law says that councils must assess every child who is or may be a child ‘in need’ (see definition below under sources of reference).

  • Any assessment has to be carried out in accordance with the Framework for the assessment of children in need (‘the Assessment Framework’) which requires assessments to be carried out quickly and to cover all the areas of potential need that a child may have.
  • In some areas, disabled children and young people may be able to access some services without an assessment, such as clubs, however generally an assessment will be the way in which disabled children and their families access support services, short breaks, and funding via direct payments to buy these types of services.

Social Services Assessment...What happens next?

Once an assessment has been carried out the local authority must then decide whether it is necessary to provide the child with a service. Many authorities use their own ‘eligibility criteria’ to help them reach this decision, which must be published and available for families to see.

The social worker should then produce a “child in need plan” setting out what care and support is going to be provided, when, and how. The support to be provided to the carer, such as short breaks and respite, can be included in the same child in need plan.

REFUSAL TO ASSESS TEMPLATE LETTER

Click here to find a template letter from Irwin Mitchell which can be sent when a council has refused to carry out an assessment. The letter should be sent, by fax, email and post if possible, to Director of Children’s Services and also to the social worker (if parents have one) and to the Lead Member for Children’s Services (the councillor who is in charge of children’s services for the council). Click on the Link below, scroll down to the Heading Health and Social Care, below that are template letters.  Click on “Challenging a refusal to assess your Disabled Child for Specialist Services.”

What should I do next?

  • Parents should always try to resolve disputes with the local authority through discussions.
  • If an assessment has taken place and nothing has happened as a result, or parents strongly disagree with the conclusions of an assessment (which may be that the Local Authority does not need to provide services) then it will be necessary to take specialist advice.
  • If there is no response to a letter sent such as the one below requesting an assessment then again specialist advice will need to be taken.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

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Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

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Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is when medical people fail in their duty of care to you, leading to injury or making an existing condition worse. There are a number of ways that medical negligence can happen, such as misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment or surgical mistakes.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

medical negligence

Types of Medical Negligence

For example, you may consider these areas:

  • Delay in diagnosis / Wrong diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Brain injury either at birth, shortly after birth or acquired brain injury
  • Brain damage and traumatic brain damage
  • Childbirth injuries, traumas and birth trauma effects on a baby
  • Poor surgical treatment/ Poor nursing care
  • Delay in treatment
  • Prescription errors
  • Dental negligence and eye related treatments.
  • Hospital related infections
  • Cosmetic surgery

BIRTH INJURIES

Midwives and Doctors usually provide a high standard of care during childbirth, but if procedures aren’t followed correctly, or there’s a communication error, there can be devastating consequences for your child.

Some of these complications and injuries, either at birth or afterwards, can lead to conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and other neurological issues which may have a life changing impact on your family for the rest of your child’s life.

You may be entitled to bring a claim if you’ve been injured, or suffered an illness because of negligent treatment by an NHS Trust or healthcare professional.

Birth injury claims should be dealt with by a specialist Birth Injury lawyer; also, specialist solicitors can help you seek answers from those responsible and make sure that your child receives the compensation and rehabilitation they need.

So, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can if you think medical negligence may be a factor in the outcome of any treatment.

Where do I start?

The first step to making a medical negligence claim is to contact a solicitor; as soon as you are able to after you believe negligence has happened, whilst the information is still fresh in your mind.

You can make a complaint to the care provider which should be made within 12 months of the treatment in question. Your complaint will be looked into and you should receive a reply to the concerns raised. You may also receive an apology or reassurance that changes have been made to prevent the same problem happening again.

When do I need to Claim by?

Usually you have three years to make a medical negligence claim; this is from the date of the medical error. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In the case of children, the three year time limit does not apply until their 18th birthday and they can process a claim up to their 21st birthday.  It doesn’t matter about the date that the incident occurred, or you realized they were injured.

Also, if the person bringing the claim lacks mental capacity the time limits may not apply.

How Do I Prove A Medical Negligence Case?

You must be able to prove that you’ve received negligent treatment which caused an injury or contributed to making an existing condition worse.

How Much Can I Claim For Medical Negligence?

The amount of compensation you can claim for medical negligence will vary depending on:

  • The extent of the injury/illness
  • Any expenses you’ve incurred
  • Your future care needs
  • Therapies
  • Accommodation
  • Aids & Equipment
  • Rehabilitation

Will I Need To Go To Court?

Only a very small number of these cases go to court.. However, if your case goes to court, you will get help and support through the process.

How Long Do Cases Take To Settle?

They usually settle claims (i.e. come to an agreement) as quickly as possible to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. This differs depending on what happened in the case.

LEGAL AID

Legal Aid, can I apply for this?

You can usually apply for legal aid if a child has suffered a brain injury during pregnancy/childbirth, or shortly after ( 8 weeks) , which has resulted in a severe disability.

Not all solicitors firms are able to offer Legal Aid, so if you think you might be able to apply for this funding it is important to find a firm who offers Legal Aid.

Will a Medical Examination be needed?

It’s likely that you’ll need to see an expert doctor to assess the extent of any damage/injury you’ve suffered as a result of negligent treatment. It’s important to get the professional opinion of an independent medical expert to help with your claim.

Can I claim on behalf of my child?

Parents can make medical negligence claims on behalf of their children. There are many solicitors who can do this and talk through the timescales, as well as the personal injury compensation guidelines.

Some other useful information...

This film was made my Irwin Mitchell.

When Julian and Rachel went into hospital for the birth of their first child, they expected to be bringing home a healthy baby, however due to complications during his delivery, their son Joseph now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Watch their story here.

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  • Legal aid and access to justice
  • Where do I find a legal aid solicitor?
  • Cases where you can get legal aid
  • How do I find out if I'm eligible for legal aid?

Find loads more legal support, ADVOCATES & lawyers here...

Use our directory to find lots of charities and firms that can give you legal advice.

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

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Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

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Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Disability Rights

DISABILITY RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

This is where you'll find out about disability rights and disability laws supporting disabled and SEN children and their families in the UK. So if you have a child with special educational needs or a disability, you've come to the right place! This is where you'll find out about lots of ways that your child as well as  you as their parent or carer are protected under the law.

Your child’s rights are protected under an enormous array of United Nations rulings, conventions and Central Government acts. These are lengthy and complicated, but don't panic because we've attached links to everything you need to know below. It's a jolly good idea to know where you stand because your child life could be a lot brighter when you know what their rights are.

All You Need to Know About Disability Law...

  • Children's and Families Act 2014

  • Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years 2014

  • Mental Capacity Act 2005

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016

Disabled little boy in medical stroller or wheelchair

Your child should...

  • Be included in your local community and to do the kinds of things that non-disabled children do.
  • They should be able to take part in leisure activities and to express themselves in cultural/artistic ways.
  • They should be able to live with their parents, unless this is not in their best interests.
  • Have their views taken into account.

Below are links to the key legal rights you and your child have. Rather dry bedtime reading but incredibly important.  

You can also find lots more support and advice in other areas of your child's life including education, finance, medical information and freetime at the bottom of this page or by using the nav bar above.

CHILDREN'S AND FAMILIES ACT 2014

This act is designed to reinforce wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background.

The act reforms the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs. It introduces changes to support the welfare of children.

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Click below to read the full version of the Children's and Families Care Act 2014.

A Young Person’s Guide

Click the link below to find a fantastic child-friendly version of the Children's and Families Care Act 2014.

 

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

ks2 english

This Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations and applies to England. It relates to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled children and young people.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act (the MCA) is the law which applies to decision making for people aged 16 and over who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The film above has been produced by Autism.org.uk as a guide to The Mental Capacity Act.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international legal agreement. It exists to protect and promote the human rights of disabled people.

The UK signed the treaty in 2009 – a commitment to promote and protect the human rights of disabled people.

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The Convention covers lots of areas including:

  • health

  • education

  • employment

  • access to justice

  • personal security

  • independent living

  • access to information

 

Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016

This act aims to...

  • make provision about reports on progress towards full employment and the apprenticeships target;
  • make provision about reports on the effect of certain support for troubled families;
  • make provision about life chances;
  • make provision about the benefit cap;
  • make provision about social security and tax credits;
  • make provision for loans for mortgage interest and other liabilities;
  • and to make provision about social housing rents.

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If you feel that your child is being treated unfairly compared to other children, or you feel their disability is limiting their life experience, then it may be time to seek expert help.

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Finances

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Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.