The timetable for the appeal process

  • After you send in your appeal, the SEND Tribunal aims to reply within 10 working days (working days do not include Saturdays, Sundays, bank holidays, any day between 25 December to 1 January, or any day in August) of registering your appeal. This can take longer when the SEND Tribunal receives a high number of appeals around the same time.
  • In this registration letter, the SEND Tribunal will tell you about important dates. It will tell you when the LA are required to respond to your appeal, give you a deadline to send further evidence and tell you when the hearing date will be. You should now also expect to receive a Case Review Form with initial directions, as per our update here.
  • The SEND Tribunal formerly aimed to set a hearing date approximately 12 weeks from the date your appeal was registered, but the Tribunal is now prioritising urgent cases and many will be adjourned until September/October 2022. Please see our update here for more information. Please note, for refusal to assess appeals, there will often be no physical hearing – see the section on refusal to assess appeals for more information).
  • At the same time, the SEND Tribunal will write to the LA, sending them a copy of your appeal documents.
  • The LA will need to submit its response to the SEND Tribunal by the deadline in the registration letter you receive which is usually within 30 working days of receiving your appeal documents from the SEND Tribunal. The LA must state whether it opposes your appeal and why. The LA must send you a copy of its response at the same time: tell the SEND Tribunal if you are not sent this.
  • Ensure that any evidence you didn’t send in with your appeal form is sent to the SEND Tribunal by the deadline set. Always send a copy to the LA at the same time. The Case Review Form will also be due by this date.
  • At least 10 working days before the hearing, the LA will send you and the SEND Tribunal the ‘bundle’, a page-numbered set of the documents the SEND Tribunal has been sent in the case.

Some appeals will be considered for Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”). ENE is a provisional indication by a judge or a judge and specialist member about the merits of an appeal. If this arises in your appeal and you require advice, you can book an appointment to speak with us.

Registration letter

When you are sent the SEND Tribunal’s registration letter it will contain details of the timetable for your appeal.

The registration letter should inform you of:

  • the hearing date (or in the case of a refusal to assess appeal, the date the appeal will be considered);
  • directions for when you and the LA need to submit your evidence and other important steps, such as the deadline for sending out the appeal bundle (described further below);
  • the fact you have a right to request the appeal be actively case managed by a member of the judicial team.

You should read these very carefully and note the important dates.

The SEND Tribunal should also send the parent or young person copies of:

  •  an Attendance Form or, from April 2022, the new Case Review Form to return to Tribunal;
  •  a Request for Changes Form.

There is more information about both of these forms in the section about preparing the case before the hearing.

What if I can’t make the hearing date?

  • It may be possible to seek a change to the hearing date. It’s not likely that a long delay will be in the interests of justice so the SEND Tribunal is unlikely to agree to this. Similarly, it may be possible in cases where a child/young person has been permanently excluded or it is a phase transfer to expedite the hearing.
  • A date change is more likely to be agreed if you can demonstrate that it is in the interests of justice and the LA has agreed in advance.

See the section on preparing the case for more information on what you should be doing in the run-up to the hearing.