Legal stuff

Legal Advice, Help & Support for Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

When your child’s rights, medical treatment or education are not being supported as they need to be, it can be a big help to get legal counsel. As budgets tighten nationwide for SEN support, fighting for your child is becoming harder, and getting to know the system is a massive advantage.

Why would I need legal help?

A legal adviser can be a great ally and help you get the best for your child. When it comes to dealing with your child’s medical care and education, they can be essential, especially if you want to appeal a decision by your Primary Care Trust (PCT), or if your local authority refuses an EHCP request by your child’s school.

There are many places you can go for legal help, from free legal services to advocates and legal firms nationwide. Their advice can help you avoid making mistakes that cost you time, money and most importantly your sanity.


  • Get everything emailed, acknowledged, time stamped and sent to your home address in hard copy.
  • Make copies of all filed documentation about your child.
  • Use a red pen and mark up on your calendar each statutory application deadline – it’s absolutely vital that you meet these deadlines. Missing them can work really against your child’s case.

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.

Educational, Social & Medical Law Guides


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.


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

Powers of Attorney


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

Disability Living Allowance Hearing


Challenging a refusal to assess your disabled child for specialist services 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?



What is 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.


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.

Disability Rights

Disability rights for you and your child

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.

Click on 'Check Me Out' to find out about disability rights and disability laws supporting disabled and SEN children and their families in the UK.

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.

Looking for help with your child's education?

Click here to find out about EHCP's, how to appeal and much more.

Six Essential Pieces of Legislation

Education Act 2002

An Act to make provision about education, training and childcare.

Children's and Families Act 2014

An Act to make provision about children, families, and people with special educational needs or disabilities; to make provision about the right to request flexible working; and for connected purposes.

Children's Act 2004

Strengthens the 1989 Act. Encourages partnerships between agencies and creates more accountability.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. The Convention changed the way children are viewed and treated.

The Care Act 2014

This Act includes a set of criteria that makes it clear when local authorities will have to provide support to people. it also covers what your local authority duty to is to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual needing care. And a carers to be entitled to an assessment in their own right.

Welfare Reform Act 2012

This Act provides for the introduction of universal credit, which replaces income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related, employment and support allowance, income support, housing benefit, child tax credit & working tax credit.

Finding help. A great place to start...

There are dozens of organisations where you can get free or paid help.

Advocates and lawyers can help you make sure your child gets the medical and educational support they need. They can offer confidential advice, help you make a complaint, speak up on your behalf, and support your child’s needs and rights.

In our directory below, there are a wide range of advocates and lawyers that specialise in educational and medical malpractice law, but there are a lot more. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can advise you, and you could also look through the Law Society’s ‘find a solicitor’ database.

Some charities provide advocacy services, such as Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society and The National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS).

Ipsea’s website has free resources, which you can download, to help families get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and/or disability (SEND).  They also run a tribunal advice line and general advice line.

Theme parks

The DLS provide free legal advice to people with disabilities and their carers to ensure that they have access to their rights and justice.

disabled magazines, websites and books

They work collaboratively, from policy into practice, to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people. They also provide legal guides and tells you about your child’s rights.

Looking for an advocate or  lawyer?

Getting The Right Advice

Not sure where to turn?


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.