With primary school offers being sent out on 16 April, parents may be concerned about what to do if their child doesn’t get offered a place at their preferred school. 

Louise Tunstall
Louise Tunstall
Associate Solicitor - Civil Litigation Division

Louise Tunstall, an Associate Solicitor at McMillan Williams, explains what parents can do if they are disappointed with the place offered.  

When Can You Appeal?

Parents have the right to appeal if their child is not offered a place at their chosen school. The offer letter should set out the right to appeal and will generally give parents 20 school days to submit any appeal.

Often a place if refused due to oversubscription of that particular school. Each school must have an oversubscription policy which sets out the criteria against which places will be allocated. Parents can request a copy of this from the school or relevant admission authority. Common oversubscription criteria will include, but not be limited to, a policy where priority is given to :

  • Children with siblings at the school
  • Children who live closest to the school
  • Children who are looked after
  • Faith schools where the pupil is of the same faith

Appeal Hearing

The relevant Admission Authority will set a hearing date to consider the appeal which must take place within 40 school days of the deadline for submitting the appeal, which will happen in 2 stages:

Stage 1

The panel will consider whether or not the school complied with the relevant admission policies and procedure and whether those policies comply with all the relevant legislation. The panel will then consider whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of education or the efficient use of resources.  This involves a thorough review of a number of factors including:

  • The capacity of each year group
  • The actual pupil number in each year group
  • Average class room capacity
  • School size in relation to safety of certain numbers of pupils
  • Whether staff levels are at full capacity

Where the school receives a number of appeals and individually, the school could accommodate one additional child but collectively it would cause a prejudice if all were admitted, the panel must proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2

The school will seek to balance the prejudice to the school against your case for admitting your child. This will involve consideration of why you feel that particular school is better suited than others. This could include evidence from independent parties such as doctors and youth workers.

Parents can attend the appeal hearing although decisions will be sent out in writing in any event. There are very limited rights to appeal the decision of the panel.

We Can Help

McMillan Williams can draft the appeal on your behalf, making all appropriate representations including locating the relevant school data regarding capacity and can guide you through the whole process through to the final hearing.

Should anyone have any queries relating to school admissions or appeals, contact us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Slater & Gordon, the heavily bankrolled new entrant to the UK legal services market who bought Quindell’s professional services arm in the UK for $1.3bnAUD one year ago, has now lost its newly appointed in-house counsel, Moana Weir, after two months.

The departure comes as Slater & Gordon have until the end of the week to assure its bankers that it has found a way to service its $741mAUD net-debt position.  This comes on the back of a $958mAUD 6 month loss reported in February, a 95% decrease in share price over 12 months, a write-down of the Quindell acquisition to almost nothing, and a glut of class-action lawsuits from investors related to bad acquisitions.

If Slater & Gordon are unable to find a way to reassure their financiers, their loans will fall payable within twelve months.

Slater & Gordon's high profile UK acquisitions include: Quindell Legal Services, Claims Direct, Fentons, Goodmans, Pannone, Pickering & Partners, Russell Jones & Walker, Taylor Vintners.

Read more from Jonathan Shapiro at the Sydney Morning Herald

Slater & Gordon Share Price: From $8 to $0.23 in 12 months (Yahoo Finance)

MW will be representing the family of Mark Seward at the inquest today.  Mr Seward was tragically killed in a workplace accident on 27 May 2015 whilst working for AGD Equipment Limited at their premises in Stratford-upon-Avon.  He was airlifted to University Hospital Coventry but was pronounced dead soon after arrival. 

Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner and Head of Personal Injury

Mr Seward’s widow, Tracey, has been supported throughout by hers and Mark’s families and in particular by her brother, Michael Lancaster of the GMB.

Tracey’s solicitor, Helen Clifford, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at McMillan Williams Solicitors, comments

“We are attending the Inquest today to ascertain the events surrounding Mark’s death. We are working closely with the police and HSE who have carried out a very thorough investigation, for which the family is grateful. Mark’s death is a tremendous loss to his family. They would like lessons to be learned to prevent another family going through the same trauma.”

Helen is a staunch campaigner for Health and Safety in the construction industry and adds

“I was contacted by Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) very soon after Mark’s death and have been involved in every aspect of the Inquest process. It is of considerable importance that families are represented from as early a stage as possible. I work closely with FACK and the Hazards Campaign. I support their campaign for strong laws and strong enforcement. In 2016 no one should lose their life at work”


At the Inquest held on the 29th March 2016, the Jury’s conclusion was accidental death.  However, the Jury pointed out that there were a number of additional relevant features to the case.  Namely:

•    No specific Risk Assessment or method statement for the task being completed by Mr. Seward.
•    No clear labels on the controls of the pump being used
•    No instruction manual for the pumb being used
•    The pump was capable of delivering pressures greater than 800 Bar, more than 3 times greater than the normal operating pressure of the cylinder.
•    Additional pressure guages to understand the residual pressure of the cylinder had not been used.  The pressure relief valve was set to maximum pressure.
•    Pilot operated check valves on the cylinder maintained the test pressure applied.

Mr David Clark, Assistant Coroner for the coroner area of Warwickshire, listed a number of concerns in his report to AGD Equipment Ltd and to the Construction Plant-Hire Association. The purpose of those reports is to prevent future deaths.

MW Can Help

If you need representation or legal advice on attending an inquest call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

MW Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, is interviewed in Issue 71 of Lawyer Monthly magazine and they have kindly given us permission to include an excerpt for our clients.

Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner and Head of Personal Injury


Beginning our feature looking into catastrophic injury claims, and particularly the revised Rehabilitation Code, Lawyer Monthly speaks to Helen Clifford, partner, Head of Personal Injury and Joanna Bailey, partner, from McMillan Williams Solicitors in London. Helen, who qualified in 1996, is a catastrophic injury solicitor, construction industry expert and health and safety campaigner. Joanna qualified in 1995 and is also a catastrophic injury solicitor, Law Society Personal Injury Panel member and assessor and a road safety campaigner.

Helen is supported by a handpicked team of committed and respected solicitors of which Joanna is only one. Other team members include Justina Molloy, the co-founder of the Cambridge Medico-Legal Forum which meets to solidify links between the legal and medical community. Amy Hillgrove, a Member of the Association of Personal Lawyers’ (APIL) which has been fighting for the rights of injured people for over 25 years and Rachel Glover, the Head of the Fast Track Unit.

Lawyer Monthly (LM): The revised Rehabilitation Code became operational on 1 December 2015.  What are some of the key amendments and how do you feel they will benefit serious and catastrophic injury claimants

Helen Clifford (HC): The last Rehabilitation Code was 8 years ago; the latest 2015 version expands upon rather than amends the previous one.

The 2015 code emphasises the need for collaboration between Claimant solicitor and compensator when assessing and providing rehabilitation. The code encourages all parties to adopt this collaborative approach throughout the whole of the case, not just at the initial stages whilst the 2007 code concentrated more on what happened at the outset of the case.

At McMillan Williams we recognise the need to assess every case whether it is of high or low value individually on its merits as every client’s circumstances are different.  The Code specifies that the health and economic benefits of early rehabilitation, regardless of agreement on liability, are particularly strong for a catastrophic injury. The 2015 code then sets out the separate assessment processes, reports and recommendations for lower-value injuries and medium, severe and catastrophic injuries. The code recommends a formal Immediate Needs Assessment by a Case Manager who can also support the establishment of a multi-disciplinary team across both the NHS/private sector.  It is the Case Manager who works to set up effective communication between these different professionals enabling everyone involved in the treatment, care and rehabilitation to take a systematic approach.

If the recommendations cannot be agreed, the 2015 code suggests that general interim payments should be made which would allow the continuity of treatment. In our experience, the free flow of interim payments is essential in all catastrophic and severe cases as it allows a care package to be established and eases any financial worries the Claimant and their family may have.

LM: How has the new Guide to the Conduct of Cases Involving Serious Injury impacted catastrophic injury claims in the UK so far? Do you feel that the improvements will result in a more quick and efficient settling of claims?

HC: As Claimants are individuals the time in which their personal claim can be concluded differs as the impact of each accident and injury is specific to them. A commitment to prompt disclosure should encourage the early identification of any key issues. If these matters can be identified and addressed promptly, this should avoid unnecessary delay later in the case. Ultimately the medical expert’s recommendations, the ability to follow these and their outcome, determine the pace of the case.

LM: You assist clients with brain injury claims – given that head injury claims can be one of the most complex claims to deal with and require careful consideration, how do you ensure that the full nature and extent of the injury is understood? What are the challenges of dealing with such complex medical conditions?

HC: It is essential to establish a robust relationship with both the Claimant and their family. Claimants can understandably try to downplay their ongoing difficulties as they want to recover and not be considered disabled. In more severe cases Claimants are either unaware or unable to articulate the changes that have taken place. Here their family plays a key role in helping the solicitor to understand the changes in their loved one’s personality, temperament and challenges they face. Building a strong professional but warm relationship with the Claimant and their family is crucial to obtain the right instructions about the impact of the incident on their lives. This helps understand the Claimant’s day to day life so that the correct medical experts are identified, fully instructed and can report all the implications, but critically, to provide recommendations for treatment.

LM: What are the legal options available to clients whose brain injury has been initially overlooked which has caused further problems concerning the health of the Claimant? How common are such medical negligence cases in the UK?

HC: When it comes to emergency treatment, those treating the Claimant will give priority to life threatening injuries. They may not immediately appreciate a brain injury has occurred as the Claimant can present as normal. The family is crucial in helping to establish the extent of any injury and ensuring this is investigated. Where the injury is initially overlooked, the road to rehabilitation can be slower. These cases are uncommon and do not necessarily amount to medical negligence.

The Solicitor must approach these cases with compassion but also tact. A Defendant may argue that a loved one was to blame wholly or partially for an accident, this needs to be handled honestly but with compassion. The Solicitor can advise the family through the process of attending a Coroners’ Court and/or criminal trial and assist with Probate. Simple things such as noting the anniversary of the incident and not sending correspondence around that date can make a difference to the family’s ability to cope with the litigation process.

Unfortunately, an open case often means that the family feels that they are in limbo and cannot move forwards. Therefore, particularly in these cases, the Solicitor should aim for swift resolution to assist the family in coming to terms with their loss.

We Can Help

If you or a family member have been affected by a Catastrophic Injury and wish to talk to one of our experienced Personal Injury Solicitors call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Lawyer Monthly

Thank you to the Lawyer Monthly team for kindly allowing us to feature this excerpt.  You can read the full interview in Issue 71 of Lawyer Monthly.

The shocking headline and nightmare scenario facing one family in Cornwall is not as unusual as you might think.  According to British Geological Survey records, 20 sinkholes formed in February 2014 alone, some of which opened up in densely populated urban areas in and around Greater London.

Sinkholes form for a variety of reasons, but undertaking a geological survey as part of your search package when you buy your home is one way of mitigating the risk.  If you are a homeowner affected this can be a costly oversight.   

Anton Osborne, Partner & Divisional Partner, Property  says:

"At MW we strongly recommend that specific and appropriate searches are taken out in respect of all conveyancing transactions.  Where properties are in certain areas we would always recommend taking out extra searches to associated with specific risks in those areas.  As can clearly be seen in this case trying to save money on searches is a false economy.  Houses are usually the most expensive purchases anyone ever undertakes and therefore we would encourage our clients to be as thorough as possible in respect of their due diligence including taking out searches, full surveys and not simply relying on mortgage lender valuations." 

Maria Christoforou, Partner & Head of Property Law adds:

"It is essential that the right type of searches and a survey are carried out on a property to identify any potential problems or issues.  The cost of carrying out appropriate searches is very low when weighed up against the potential devastating consequences which could have actually cost someone their life in this case."

We Can Help

At MW we offer our clients a comprehensive range of searches to give them piece of mind.  If you are considering a property purchase or would like to talk to one of our specialist solicitors regarding our search packages call us today on 0203 5512 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Contact Us

Telephone 020 3551 8500
email email us
Client Feedback

Translate this page