Changes to SEND procedure during coronavirus (COVID-19) response
Changes to SEND procedure during coronavirus (COVID-19) response

The following Local Government practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Changes to SEND procedure during coronavirus (COVID-19) response
  • What amendments to the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber tribunal are introduced by the Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/416?
  • Temporary provision allowing disposal decisions without a hearing
  • Hearings in private
  • Recording proceedings
  • When does this legislation come into force ?
  • How long do these changes remain in force for?
  • What guidance has been issued by the tribunal in relation to the new regulations?

This Practice Note explains the changes to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal based on the impact of the Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/416 on the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008, SI 2008/2699 (HESC Rules 2008). It should be read in conjunction with the Practice Note: Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)for the underlying procedural rules.

These temporary measures have been taken to protect public health and to ensure the continued administration of justice during the pandemic.

What amendments to the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber tribunal are introduced by the Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/416?

The Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/416 makes a number of changes to the HESC Rules 2008 that grant the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) new powers that will enable to the tribunal to function during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the government, these temporary measures have been taken to protect public health and to ensure the continued administration of justice.

Under these new temporary rules, the FTT:

  1. is able to dispose of proceedings without a hearing (without party consent) in urgent matters

  2. is able to direct a hearing to be held in private

  3. has a duty to direct hearings to be recorded if practicable as outlined below

  4. is able to

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