Charlotte Hadfield and Matthew Wyard successful in the Court of Appeal in the first case to consider section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014

Charlotte Hadfield and Matthew Wyard, instructed by Sinclairslaw, acted for the parents in the decision, handed down today, of Nottinghamshire County Council v SF and GD.

The case concerned an appeal brought by Nottinghamshire County Council against the earlier Upper Tribunal decision of the same name ([2019] UKUT 243 (AAC)) which itself was an appeal against a decision of the First Tier Tribunal requiring the local authority to issue an EHC Plan to HD.

The decision provides a helpful summary on the law as it applies to refusal to issue appeals and confirms that the law as previously understood is correct clarifying that:

“[20] Although this is the first time that this question of law has been raised in the Court of Appeal, it has been addressed repeatedly by the Upper Tribunal whose precedent decisions are binding on the FtT.  The essence of the UT’s case law is that what is necessary is an evaluative judgment based upon the specific facts of the particular case which are for the specialist tribunal to deduce from the evidence in each case.  It is not a concept that is to be over-defined.  With respect, and for the reasons I shall give, I agree.”

Additionally, whilst it will not come as a surprise to those who practise in this area of law, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the comparator pursuant to section 37 is mainstream schools in England generally as opposed to the local authority’s area.

Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been sought.