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On the up after the Unison judgment?

Tamsin James
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Back in July, the Supreme Court removed the requirement to pay a fee in order to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal. Recent statistics from the Employment Tribunal show that the number of cases received by Employment Tribunals rose by 90% to...

Shortage of suitable school places for children with special educational needs

Liz Smith
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News in the last few days has focused on statistics that demonstrate there is a shortage of funding for children with special educational needs, which is leading to a growing number of children being left without suitable school places and more children with...

Progress in becoming a dementia-friendly law firm

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We are delighted to have taken further steps to implement our action plan in becoming a dementia-friendly law firm and are now members of the Bristol DAA , South Gloucestershire DAA and Bath DAA (“Dementia Action Alliance”). We have already...

Stamp Duty rates changes for Welsh properties from 1 April 2018

Angela Dunlop
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From 1 April 2018, a new "Land Transaction Tax" will be payable on Welsh and transactions.  This is instead of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). There are however some exceptions: retrospective notification cases . This is where a transaction...

Health & Social Care Needs and Provision in an EHC Plan

Liz Smith
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The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SEND) will soon be able to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of a child or young person’s EHC Plans, alongside the educational needs and provision currently...

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into effect from 1 April 2018 - Landlords take note!

Angela Dunlop
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Photo by Zain Ali from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/2017-bulb-dslr-energy-saving-lamp-542619/From 1 April 2018, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will come into effect which means that Landlords will not be able to renew or begin any lease/tenancy for any residential or commercial property which has an EPC Rating below E...

March 1st is 'D-Day' for many parents waiting to hear which Secondary school their child has been allocated

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For many families, the anxious wait will be over and you may well hear the collective sigh of relief.  However, for families who are not allocated the school of their choice, they may be worried and upset. Remember, parents have the ‘right to express a preference’ - their child does not have the right to have the school of their choice...

Beverley Watkins appears in this month's edition of the Law Society Gazette

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Managing Partner, Beverley Watkins, was recently asked to provide comment on the Ministry of Justice's Legal Advice Gateway for an article in the Law Society Gazette. The Legal Advice Gateway is a telephone service which provides advice on...

Legal Advice for Education and Disability Work

Liz Smith
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In 2013 under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, the government decided to fund advice and assistance on special educational needs and discrimination work only through a telephone advice service.  There are currently two providers of this service to cover England and Wales.  However, a decision has been issued this week that the government will cancel the telephone advice service and will not be awarding any contracts for education and discrimination services after 1 September 2018 through the current process...

What can I do to speed up the Conveyancing process?

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The most common question conveyancers are asked is "how long will the process take?"  It varies depending on which conveyancer you speak to although generally, you are looking at around 6-8 weeks if it is straightforward and 8-12 weeks if it...

Joint Local Area SEND Inspection Lancashire

Liz Smith
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Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have conducted a joint inspection of Lancashire Local Authority to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing special educational needs and disability reforms, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. ...

South Gloucestershire Council Ofsted Findings

Lydia Dunford
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A joint inspection of South Gloucestershire Council’s SEN and Disabilities provisions carried out by both Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently published its findings highlighting areas both of strength and need in the Local...

Watkins Solicitors becoming a dementia-friendly law firm

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We are delighted to announce that Watkins Solicitors are in the process of becoming a dementia-friendly law firm, starting in January 2018. We are now members of the South Gloucestershire and Bristol Dementia Action Alliance, and planning to extend this in Bath where we have recently opened a new office...

15 FEBRUARY DEADLINE

Liz Smith
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For those children who are transferring into a new stage of education from September 2018, parents should receive the final EHC plan naming the placement for September 2018 by 15 February 2018...

 

Watkins Solicitors open new office in Bath

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Watkins Solicitors are delighted to announce the opening of our new office in Bath.
The firm has a contract to carry out Legal Aid work from this office, which is situated in the centre of Bath... 

BBC coverage of special educational needs

Liz Smith
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The BBC has recently been featuring a number of articles relating to children with special educational needs.  It has focused on TV presenters David and Carrie Grant, who have four children, each with a separate set of special educational needs. ...

THE 31st MARCH 2018 - WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO KNOW?

Lydia Dunford
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The 31st March 2018 represents the final date by which all Local Authorities in England need to have transferred all Statements of Special Educational Needs into Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans).  This deadline is as a result of a change in...

Employment Autumn update

Tamsin James
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Employment Tribunal fees – refund scheme open to all If you paid Tribunal fees between 2013 and 2017, you can now reclaim these.   There is an “online form” to fill in (...

New measures to tackle parental alienation

Sophie Warner
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From Spring 2018 a new approach will be adopted by CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) to tackle the issue of one parent turning a child against the other following separation. This problem is known as parental alienation and is...

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