Liverpool Law Clinic celebrates further success with school transport support

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Liverpool Law School at the University of Liverpool is celebrating further success from its Law Clinic; a service which provides free and confidential legal advice to members of the public in the Liverpool area. Run by qualified solicitors assisted by Law students, Liverpool Law Clinic provides advice on family, special educational needs (SEN), domestic abuse and immigration cases.

Recently, Liverpool Law Clinic helped a family secure a change to their local authority’s home to school transport policy. The matter was brought to the clinic by the mother of a student who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and qualifies for free transport to and from school.

Until September 2023, the family had received a personal transport budget from the local authority which allowed the child’s family to take them to and from school.

However, they had been advised that from September 2023 onwards, only 80% of the costs would be provided. The final 20% would be paid at the end of the year, if the students have 95% attendance records.

The family were concerned they would not be able to provide the transport support without the full amount of funding, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis. They were also concerned that the policy would disproportionality impact on disabled children who are more likely to have lower attendance.

The students at the Law Clinic assisted by James Betts, a clinic solicitor specialising in Special Educational Needs law and barrister Oliver Persey (of Garden Court Chambers), supported the family to write to the local authority to raise concerns with the policy. Following receipt of the letter, the local authority agreed to remove the requirement for 95% attendance and reimburse all families for the funds they had missed out on.

The family that the Clinic assisted voiced their gratitude for the support provided, stating, “You have not only helped my family but many, many families across the city and I know they will be extremely grateful”.

James Betts, Solicitor and Lecturer in Liverpool Law School said: “I’m really pleased that following our letter, the council agreed to change their policy. This decision will ensure families in Liverpool in receipt of a personal transport budget are provided with all the funds needed to support their children to get and from school. This is all the more important during a cost-of-living crisis.

“I’m really proud of our students who get involved in the Clinic to help others and I look forward to similar future successes.”

Find out more

Liverpool Law Clinic has both online and face-to-face appointments available. If you would like to make an appointment, please contact the Law Clinic by email or phone 0151 794 5782. Our phones are not permanently staffed but calls will be returned within 1 working day.