Written evidence

After your appeal has been registered with the SEND Tribunal, you will want to make sure the local authority (LA) and SEND Tribunal has a copy of all of the evidence which supports your appeal.

It is a good idea if you send as much evidence as you can when you submit your appeal but you can continue to send in evidence after your appeal has been submitted.

You should make sure that any evidence you didn’t send in with your appeal form is sent to the SEND Tribunal by the deadline set in the registration letter. 

It is important to obtain and send in any written evidence as soon as you can and not wait for the final evidence deadline.

If you decide to obtain independent expert reports, make sure they are compliant with the SEND Tribunal guidance for expert witnesses. It’s best if this type of report complies with this guidance because this is a reason for the SEND Tribunal to give it more weight. However, if you got an independent expert report before you knew you were going to appeal and it remains relevant but doesn’t comply with everything in the guidance, you can still use it as evidence in an appeal.

If you think you will need to send in evidence after the deadline (for example, a report from an assessment not taking place until this time), then you need to let the SEND Tribunal know and seek an extension (using the Request for Changes form). You need to tell the SEND Tribunal what you expect to obtain and when, and submit it by any extended evidence deadline you are given.

It is possible to apply for late evidence to be submitted after the final evidence deadline, including bringing late evidence on the day. It will be up to the SEND Tribunal as to whether or not this should be accepted, not the LA. It is always best to tell the SEND Tribunal in advance.

If you want to submit evidence which is more than the bundle page limit (see ‘the bundle' section below), you must make use the Request for Changes form (having sought the LA’s view first) explaining why the additional pages are necessary.

If you are having difficulty getting information which is relevant to your case from the LA, you can use the Request for Changes form to write to the SEND Tribunal explaining what the document is and ask the SEND Tribunal for a ‘direction’ to make the LA release the document. Unless the LA has a good reason for not providing the document the SEND Tribunal will order the LA to release it. 

If you are eligible for legal aid, this could cover the cost of obtaining independent assessments and reports. Please see our page on where to get help for more information.

Always send a copy of your evidence to the LA at the same time. The LA must send to you a copy of all its evidence too. This is because the parties are meant to be sharing information in order to resolve the dispute. If the LA sends you messages or documents separately to the SEND Tribunal (for example, it does not copy you in to the email), you will not be able to check if the LA sent the SEND Tribunal the same ones and did so on time. If this happens, ask that the LA copies you into its communications.

If the LA writes to or sends documents to the SEND Tribunal using a system which you cannot access, you should tell the LA not to and let the SEND Tribunal know. The SEND Tribunal has confirmed that the party sending communication has to make sure it is copied to the other party in a way that they can access and that LAs can use non-encrypted email to do this.

The Case Review form will also be due by the final evidence deadline.

Giving evidence from abroad

Advance permission from the SEND Tribunal will be needed if you want to participate in an oral SEND Tribunal hearing from abroad or you would like a witness to (here abroad means anywhere other than England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, or British Overseas Territories).

This guidance covers asking for permission (which should be done as soon as possible) and what the SEND Tribunal will consider.

The guidance deals with witnesses who are abroad first. If you (as in the parent or young person bringing the appeal) want to ask for permission to join the hearing from abroad, you need to follow part II of the guidance, called “making submissions from abroad”.

If the country a witness or you will be in is on this list, the SEND Tribunal will use the information in the list to help decide if they can join the hearing.

The guidance says you are “unlikely to be permitted to join a hearing from abroad unless there are genuine and exceptional reasons”. If exceptional circumstances do not apply, other options include asking for the hearing to be moved to a date when you will be in one of the above countries or for the case to be decided "on the papers", in which case the LA would have to agree and there wouldn’t be a hearing for you to attend. It’s a good idea to take advice first if you are considering this. To ask for changes to your appeal use the SEND Tribunal’s Request for Changes form and process.


Both parties will need to notify the SEND Tribunal who will be attending the hearing using the form the SEND Tribunal sends them (usually the Case Review form, unless the SEND Tribunal has asked them to use an attendance form instead).  The SEND Tribunal has indicated that witnesses will only be permitted to attend the hearing if they have previously submitted a report or written witness statement.

You should call witnesses who will be able to give evidence relevant to your case. It will normally be helpful to have someone from the child or young person’s school or college (such as the SENCO or head teacher).

  • If you want a particular school to be named in the EHC plan, you will generally need someone from that school to attend. 
  • If there is a dispute about the level of the child or young person’s needs, it may be helpful to have a professional witness such as, for example, a speech and language therapist who has worked with the child or young person.

All witnesses will be asked by the SEND Tribunal about the facts of the case. They are not meant to be arguing one ‘side’ or the other. You shouldn’t worry if someone from the child or young person’s school or college is asked to attend as a witness by the LA; it does not mean that they are on the LA’s side.

Parties may appoint a representative (whether a legal representative or not), who can act as a representative or otherwise assist in presenting the party’s case at the hearing. This person will not count as a witness, but you should include them on the same form (either the Case Review form or attendance form) and explain they will be representing or assisting you at the hearing.

The SEND Tribunal has indicated that it will not accept parties putting “to be confirmed” on the Case Review form (or attendance form if this applies). If the LA does this, you could bring it to the SEND Tribunal’s attention, although it should pick this up and raise it with the LA.

The bundle

At least 10 working days before the hearing, the LA will send you and the SEND Tribunal the ‘bundle’. This is a page-numbered set of the documents the SEND Tribunal has been sent in the case.

It will include all your evidence and the LA’s evidence together with any forms, SEND Tribunal orders or other relevant documents.

There are limits to how long the bundle can be depending on the type of appeal. This is set out in the SEND Tribunal’s bundle guidance. If you send evidence which goes above the page limit, the LA must still include it in the bundle and the SEND Tribunal will decide whether or not to consider it.

It’s always worth checking the bundle before the hearing in case anything has been left out. If any evidence is missing you should contact the LA promptly and remind the LA it must include all of your evidence, even if it is over the page limit.

You should make sure you have the bundle at the hearing, and you should provide a copy of it to any witnesses attending for you.

For further information on this topic, see our main 'What happens after I submit my appeal?' page.