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I specialise in helping people resolve disputes with local authorities about the education, social care, and other support they are entitled to.
My clients include parents of children with special educational needs, disabled adults, and vulnerable young people.
I regularly represent parents and young people in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. I've had lots of success ensuring that local authorities complete Education and Health Care (EHC) needs assessments and issue lawful EHC plans. I've secured several high-value independent special school placements for my clients.
I also represent people in need of support from social services such as care leavers, children under 18 that are unable to live at home, young people leaving custody and disabled adults that require more support than the council are willing to provide.
I studied law at university and saw how important it was in ensuring that people’s rights were protected.
My interest in special educational needs law was sparked following time working as a teaching assistant supporting children with special educational needs.
Knowing that the outcomes we achieve make a real difference to the lives of our clients.
It is also a really interesting area to work in. The law is changing all the time and no case is the same as the last.
The work is ever more crucial in the current climate in which local authority budgets are being slashed and local authorities are having to make increasing amounts of unlawful decisions. This makes it even more important to challenge decisions with judicial review and Tribunal appeals and make sure that local authorities meet their legal obligations to children and adults in need of support.
Working as part of a team dedicated to getting the best results for their clients.
I have a season ticket at Manchester United but this hasn't been that fun since around the time Alex Ferguson retired.
I love cooking and eating out and, in my younger days, dabbled in music promotion, bringing bands from as far away as the USA, Canada and Sweden to the north of England.
"A client notes: 'James is very pragmatic and it has always been evident that he genuinely cares about achieving the best outcome for the client. I have always found him to be very accessible, easy to work with, and extremely professional at all times.'" - Chambers & Partners, 2018
"Recommended for assisting children with special educational needs" - Legal 500, 2017
“It is really exciting to be joining Irwin Mitchell, with the firm’s recent successes and cases highlighting the hugely important work it undertakes in the field of Education Law.
“I’m already enjoying getting to know the existing team in Manchester and am looking forward to further developing the education law team in our northern offices, as well as ensuring that our clients can get their voices heard on a host of important matters.”
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