These terms and conditions apply each time Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) provides free and independent legal information, advice and casework support via IPSEA’s Tribunal Support Service (TSS). By continuing to use our services you are agreeing to these terms. 

1. Our services 

1.1 We shall endeavour to ensure that we always act in your and the child or young person’s best interests in offering advice and case work support. Our services will always be provided to you free of charge. 

1.2 Consistent with our internal policies and procedures, we shall not discriminate on the grounds of colour, race, religion or belief, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, physical or mental ability or marital/civil partnership status, in the way we provide our services. 

1.3 The service we provide via the TSS is case work support on appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal, including representation at Tribunal hearings. 

1.4 We do not advise or provide case work support to local authorities or educational institutions via our TSS. 

1.5 We advise on English law only. 

1.6 All IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteers undergo the same legal and practical training. Their advice is supervised and monitored. IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteers and their supervisors may or may not have legal qualifications or be qualified solicitors.  A Tribunal Casework Volunteer will be assigned to your case based on their availability and experience. 

1.7 You should notify us if you regard any or all communications to or from us as particularly confidential. If you require us to make any such confidential communications via a particular method, do let us know. 

1.8 We may monitor or record any communications and/or calls between you and the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer for quality assurance and training purposes. We will not disclose or share such recordings except where required to do so by law, to comply with our obligations, or on your instructions. 

1.9 Please let IPSEA know immediately if you are in receipt of legal aid or receiving support from another advocate.  

1.10 If you are receiving assistance with your SEND Tribunal case under the legal aid scheme and the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer has been allocated to assist you with your Tribunal hearing only, you should continue to seek advice from the legal aid provider who is helping you. The IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer’s role is to represent you at the Tribunal hearing only - all the preparation of the case will be completed by the legal aid provider. 

2. Working with IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteers

2.1 Please remember that the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer is an unpaid volunteer and giving up their time to assist you with your Tribunal case free of charge. 

2.2 It is important that our volunteers are treated courteously and with respect. Please do not contact your volunteer outside of agreed times. Behaviour that is abusive (in any form) will not be tolerated and may lead to the withdrawal of support with your case.

2.3 Please let IPSEA know promptly if your contact details change or if you will be unavailable for a period of time.

2.4 Please keep to any agreed deadlines and appointments. If you need to rearrange an appointment, or are running late, please contact the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer as soon as possible or ask the IPSEA office to do so on your behalf.

2.5 You are responsible for organising the documents in your case. This may include
making copies of documents and providing a copy of the Tribunal bundle for your IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer.

2.6 IPSEA accepts all client documents in good faith as authentic. You are reminded that the implications of submitting false documentation are extremely serious and will not be condoned under any circumstance by this service.  

2.7 Your IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer is not able to attend any face to face meeting (i.e. in person) with you and a third party. There is no obligation on your IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer to attend any other third party meetings with you (e.g. over Zoom or Teams) and their attendance cannot be guaranteed. In any event, their attendance will only be for meetings that have the potential to reduce or resolve the issues in dispute in your appeal.

2.8 You will remain responsible for making sure all deadlines in your case are met. You will also be responsible for keeping your volunteer informed about all developments in your case.

2.9 The IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer’s involvement ends after you have received the decision in your Tribunal hearing. If you need further support then please contact our helplines rather than contacting your IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer.

2.10 Please remember to send us a copy of your tribunal decision. Having accurate data about outcomes helps us monitor our services and can help with our fundraising, enabling us to continue to deliver free services to other families.

2.11 We appreciate that families who have achieved a successful outcome in their case may wish to thank their Tribunal Casework Volunteers. Our volunteers are not able to accept any monetary gifts but can accept small non-monetary gifts such as chocolates or flowers. However, donations to IPSEA are the best way to ensure we can continue to help more families.

2.12 Throughout the duration, and following the conclusion of your case, IPSEA will contact you (by email or telephone) for feedback on your experience of our service and, where necessary, for confirmation on the outcome of your case.

2.13 We reserve the right to withdraw the help of the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer at any time. Unless referred to us by a legal aid provider for representation at the hearing, we will withdraw help if you are getting support with your appeal or claim from another source. Our resources are limited and we assist families who have no other means of help. 

3. Regulation of services 

3.1 As outlined above, the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer or supervisor assigned to your case may or may not be a solicitor. If the adviser or supervisor is a practising solicitor then they are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). The SRA dictates the standards of professionalism that are expected of solicitors. 

4. Data protection and security 

4.1 IPSEA collects personal data about you and the child or young person we are contacted about. Where relevant, or where provided by you, we may also collect data about other family members such as your partner or your child or young person’s siblings. Where the information provided does not relate to you, we shall presume that you have the consent of the person whom you are supplying the data about, to provide that information to us.  

4.2 We collect your personal data when you contact us for assistance, when you fill in a request form for an IPSEA service, when you are being advised by IPSEA and when you provide data to IPSEA in correspondence.  

4.3 If you are referred to us by a third party, or an IPSEA partner, we will store and use the data provided to us at the time of referral together with any additional information provided by you. 

4.4 IPSEA collects and uses your personal data to pursue our legitimate interests such as ensuring you can access our services to receive relevant advice on SEND law and to record, manage, supervise and quality assure the advice given, to request donations towards our services, and to comply with our legal and safeguarding obligations. 

4.5 We implement various technical and organisational security measures to ensure your data is kept secure. You and/or the child or young person can ask us to see a copy of the personal data we hold about you or the child or young person. 

4.6 We will not disclose any information relating to you or your case except where required to do so by law, to comply with our obligations (for example, in line with our safeguarding policy), or on your instructions. 

4.7 For further information on IPSEA’s data and privacy policy, please see our website: For further information on your data protection rights, and your right to complain if you are unhappy about the way we manage your personal information, please see the Information Commissioner’s Office website at

5. Complaints handling 

5.1 IPSEA aims to provide a consistently high quality service to everyone who contacts us for advice and support. However, we understand that things don’t always go to plan and there may be occasions when the service we provide fails to meet someone’s expectations. When this happens, we want to be told and we will do our best to put things right if we are at fault, as quickly as possible and to the satisfaction of the person(s) affected. 

5.2 If you have any problems with the service provided you should contact the member of staff or adviser who has been advising you and they will try to resolve your complaint informally in the first instance.  If you feel unable to do this, or remain dissatisfied, please contact [email protected] and a member of IPSEA’s Management Team will investigate and deal with the complaint. If we are unable to deal with your complaint satisfactorily at that time, we will direct you to IPSEA’s Chief Executive or a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees. Full details of our complaints handling policy is available on our website:

5.3 We expect to resolve any problem to your satisfaction. If we fail to do so, you may be able to refer your complaint to a Legal Ombudsman if the IPSEA Tribunal Casework Volunteer (or their supervisor) is a solicitor. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first.  (If you have, then the time limit for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman will be not later than one year from the date:

  • of the act or omission being complained about, or
  • when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them. Contact details:  


                        Call: 0300 555 0333 between 10.00 – 16.00.

                        Email: [email protected]  

                        Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH  

5.4 The SRA could also help you if you are concerned about the behaviour of our Tribunal Casework Volunteers or supervisors if they are authorised and regulated by the SRA. The SRA could be contacted for issues such as dishonesty or unfair treatment. You can raise your concerns with the SRA via the website at or by calling 0370 606 2555. 

6. Duty of care 

6.1 We shall use reasonable skill and care in the provision of our TSS services. 

7. Insurance 

7.1 IPSEA has sufficient professional indemnity and other insurance to cover potential liabilities under this agreement in the event that we make an error in providing you with a service, where that error results in you suffering a financial loss 

8. Governing law and jurisdiction 

8.1 All disputes between you and us shall be determined exclusively by the English courts in accordance with English law.