Specialist Education Law Solicitor and Education Department Manager
Imelda qualified as a Solicitor in 1990 having trained with a Central London firm. She moved to the Cotswolds in 1991 and has specialised in Education Law for over 20 years.
Imelda joined Langley Wellington LLP in January 2004 and deals with appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SEND), appeals to the Upper Tribunal on a point of law, Judicial Review Proceedings against Local Authorities and school admission/exclusion appeals.
Since June 2009, Imelda has been the Head of the Education Department and enjoys managing our enthusiastic team. Imelda is a member of the Education Law Association (ELAS).
Having worked in this area of law for over 20 years Imelda has not only gained invaluable experience and knowledge of the law but also has a sound judgement as to what action is required and how to prepare a case in order to maximise our chances of a successful outcome. Imelda has worked on a number of high profile cases including:-
- R v Secretary of State for Education and Science, ex p E 1993 2 FCR 753, Court of Appeal. In this case, the Court of Appeal described the role of Parts 2 and 3 of a child's Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and put forward an analogy that Part 2 of a Statement of Special Educational Needs should be compared to a medical diagnosis and should therfore set out each and every Special Educational Need that a child has. Part 3 of a Statement of Special Educatonal Needs was compared to a prescription for the needs diagnosed and therefore Part 3 of a Statement of Special Educational Needs should include provision to address each and every Special Educational Need identified in Part 2.
- X (minors) v Bedfordshire County Council, M (a minor) v Newham London Borough Council, E (a minor) v Dorset County Council, Christmas v Hampshire County Council, Keating v London Borough of Bromley 1995 3 All ER 353, House of Lords. This case concerned alleged breaches of duty by the Local Authority and whether an action for negligence could be brought by children affected by the actions of a Local Authority in performing its statutory duties in relation to a child's educational welfare. The House of Lords considered 5 cases relating to the responsbility of Local Authorities to children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) who had been adversely affected by the actions of a Local Authority in performing its statutory duties. The cases considered vicarious and direct responsibility of a Local Authority for the actions of its officers in carrying out their duties and whether an action for negligence could be brought by children.
- Ross v Stanbridge Earls School 2002 EWHC 2255 (Queens Bench Division).
- School Admission Appeals Panel for the London Borough of Hounslow v The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hounslow 2002 EWCA Civ 900. This case concerned the lawfulness of a Local Authority's admissions criteria and whether Judicial Review was a more appropriate forum.
- M v Wiltshire County Council (1) and SENDIST (2) 2006 EWHC 3337 (Admin). This case involved an appeal to the High Court on a point of law challenging a decision of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal for failing to give adequate reasons as to why they felt residential provision was unnecessary. The appeal in the High Court was successful resulting in the appeal being remitted back to the SEND Tribunal for re-consideration.
- L v Clarke and Somerset County Council 1998 ELR 129. This case involved an appeal in the High Court challenging a decision of the Special Educational Needs (SEND) Tribunal. The High Court allowed the appeal and established the principle that a very high level of specificity was required and that a Statement should give details of a child's Special Educational Needs and should also specify the provision to meet them, so that there would be no room for doubt as to what provision was decided as being necessary in an individual case. This appeal was allowed and the case was referred to the SEND Tribunal for an urgent re-hearing.
- S v The City & County of Swansea and Confrey. This appeal in the High Court led to a decision of the SEND Tribunal being quashed and the appeal being referred back to the SEN Tribunal for re-consideration because the High Court held that the SEN Tribunal had not approached the decision making process in the correct way and that the decision of the SEN Tribunal left room for doubt as to what had been determined as being necessary to address the child's needs.
- R v Dorset County Council and the FEFC Ex Parte Goddard 1995 ELR 109 (QBD). This case involved Judicial Review Proceedings against Dorset County Council and the FEFC in relation to Post 16 provision and the duties upon a Local Authority under the Education Act 1981 after a pupil's 16th birthday. The case considered whether an LA had a primary duty for statemented provision in school and whether the FEFC's duty to 16-18 year old pupils was secondary to the LA's duty where a Local Authority maintained or should maintain a Statement. The case decided that an LA could not divest itself of its responsiblity for a pupils' schooling when they reached 16 by failing to specify the provision or refusing to provide it once the child had reached 16.
- R (South Gloucestershire LEA) v South Gloucestershire Schools Appeal Panel 2001 EWHC Adm 732, 2002 ELR 309. Imelda acted for the Defendents in this case which concerned school admissions and the criteria used by the LA in reaching decisions. The case dealt with issues surrounding admissions on the grounds of residence and the application of Article 14 of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.
Chartered Legal Executive
Katie is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and an Honours Graduate of the University of Wales, Swansea. Having specialised in Education Law throughout her career she joined Langley Wellington in April 2004. During this time her caseload has included Judicial Review proceedings and Appeals to the High Court.
Katie’s particular area of interest is Special Educational Needs (SEN) and appeals to the SEND Tribunal. She advises and represents parents seeking to obtain or challenge a Statement of Special Educational Needs for their child and has acted for many parents across the country. She undertakes a varied caseload of SEND Tribunal work including appeals for children with Dyslexia, Hearing Impairment, Aspergers Syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language Impairment and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.
Katie represents parents at all stages of the statementing process from obtaining a Statutory Assessment of their child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN), securing a Statement of Special Educational Needs, appealing a decision to cease to maintain a Statement and challenging the wording and provision specified in a Statement, including the named school. She has dealt with cases involving children of all ages from under compulsory school age to those entering post 16 provision.
Katie's Article " Statementing and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal" has been published in "Which School? for Special Needs 2012/2013" .
Rukhsana qualified as a Solicitor in 1997 and has previously specialised in Civil Litigation, Education Law, Personal Injury Law and Employment Law.
Rukhsana and Imelda worked together 8 years ago when she specialised in Educational Negligence Cases and in 2002 achieved the highest out of court settlement against a Local Authority for failing to diagnose a client’s Dyslexia.
From 2003 to 2011 Rukhsana worked for Worcestershire County Council as a Diversity Officer advising the Organisation to meet its legal equality duty under the Equality Act 2010, where she gained invaluable experience of how a Local Authority works.
Rukhsana is currently specialising in Special Educational Needs and appeals to the SEND Tribunal. She advises and represents parents seeking to obtain or challenge a Statement of Special Educational Needs. In addition, she advises on school admissions and exclusions and disability discrimination cases. Rukhsana speaks Urdu and Punjabi and is happy to advise clients who speak these languages.
Rukhsana finds it very rewarding helping parents to ensure that Local Authorities meet the Special Educational Needs of their child. She has 2 brothers and a sister with severe learning and physical disabilities (they were diagnosed with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome at birth) and understands, from her own experience, a parent’s desire to ensure the education their child receives is appropriate and meets their particular needs.
Christina joined Langley Wellington LLP in March 2008 and works closely with Imelda as her PA and with other members of the team. Christina is an experienced Legal Secretary previously having worked for 8 years for a local Solicitors firm in the Family Department dealing with child care cases.
Since 2009 Diana has worked in the Education Department and enjoys helping parents achieve a positive outcome for their children. Diana currently works full time assisting Katie Emsley and Rukhsana Koser. Previously, she worked as a Legal Secretary for over 16 years in other areas of law, including conveyancing, litigation, probate and matrimonial.
Monika joined Langley Wellington LLP in September 2007 and is the Education Department’s Administrator and Tribunal Hearing Dates Coordinator. Monika also deals with the registration of appeals and oversees deadlines.
Monika moved to the UK in 2005 from Poland and since joining us has been able to assist our Polish clients who prefer to conduct their business in Polish as she is able to converse in both English and Polish and translate, as necessary.