Legal firm expands public law division

Law firm Simpson Millar has announced the expansion of its public law division.

Solicitors Bethany Parr and Ffion Davies have joined the firm’s national education law team.

Joining with immediate effect and based in Bristol, Bethany brings more than eight years of legal expertise to the role, specialising in matters relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

She is able to offer legal advice on a range of matters including EHC needs assessments, and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), as well as Statements of SEN and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) in Wales.

Bethany also has a wealth of experience acting in First-Tier Tribunal appeals – the courts which deal with matters relating to education – to secure placements in special schools, independent schools and residential placements, and in judicial review challenges to the decisions of public authorities.

Her practice is complemented by her understanding of complex issues concerning discrimination, mental capacity law, human rights and community care which often arise in the education context.

Also based in the Bristol Office, Ffion also joins Simpson Millar’s national Public Law division as part of the firm’s continued investment in the practice area.

She brings four years of experience to her role as an education solicitor, representing parents of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to challenge decisions made by their Local Authority across England and Wales.

This includes bringing appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal, as well as supporting families with their annual education reviews, person centred reviews and admissions appeals.

Ffion also brings particular experience in assisting families in Wales with the new Additional Learning Needs system following the passing of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 to the role. This includes support families in securing Individual Development Plans and representing parents and young people in the Education Tribunal for Wales.

The latest appointments follow a period of increased demand for Simpson Millar’s Legal 500 acclaimed Education Team, which has an unrivalled reputation for dealing with cases involving children with special educational needs and EHCPs, as well as helping parents and carers with exclusions, children out of education, bullying, discrimination, judicial reviews and other types of disputes with schools.

Welcoming both Bethany and Ffion to the team Sarah Woosey, a Partner and Head of Education Law at the firm, said that their ‘expertise and understanding of their clients’ needs’ would further enhance the experience of the wider team.

She added that the expansion of the department would allow the firm to take on more cases and support more families with ‘urgent and often distressing’ matters relating to accessing education.

“It is an honour to welcome Bethany and Ffion to the team,” Sarah said. “Both of them demonstrate a real passion and commitment to supporting families to ensure that children and young people with special needs have access to the right educational support.”

“Given the nature of what we do, our clients are often in distress when they reach out to us. They are looking for transparent and straight forward legal advice that can help get results, and the team’s extensive legal experience and understanding of education law means we are perfectly placed to help.

“Sadly, due to funding issues across the education sector, we have seen a real increase in parents and carers struggling to secure suitable provision in recent years. We are committed to the continued growth of our team to ensure that we have the right people in place to help families when they need us.”

Bethany Parr added: “Simpson Millar’s Education Department has an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond when it comes to helping children and young people with special educational needs and their families to understand their rights and access the support and provision, they are legally entitled to, which is sadly so often denied to them.

“I am delighted to be joining the firm and continuing to help families both locally and across the country in my new role.”