Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirteenth Report


APPENDIX 3

Memorandum by the Department for Education and Employment

Special Educational Needs Tribunal Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/600)

1. The Committee have requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  As the definitions in regulation 2(1) apply unless the context otherwise requires, explain where in the Regulations, apart from in regulations 7, 30(2) and (8) and 39(6), "parent" has a different meaning from that given in regulation 2(1).

2. Apart from in regulations 7, 30(2) and (8) and 39(6), "parent" does not have a meaning different from that given in regulation 2(1). The reference at the beginning to "unless the context otherwise requires" governs all the definitions that then follow and is therefore not otiose. We thought that it would be helpful to the reader to set out those cases where the definition of "parent" in regulation 2(1) did not apply.

    (2)  Explain the purpose and effect of regulation 2(2).

3. The purpose of regulation 2(2) is to make clear that, for example, the Local Education Authority Officer who attends the hearing is a representative of the Authority and is not, so to speak, the Authority itself. This is important for the purposes of regulation 16(1), where the Authority may only be represented by one person unless the President gives permission. This means that both a Local Education Authority Officer and, say, a solicitor cannot attend the hearing on behalf of the Authority unless the President gives permission.

    (3)  Should the reference in regulation 30(2)(b) to paragraph (8) be a reference to paragraph (9)?

4. The Committee are correct. I can confirm that the reference should have been to paragraph (9). The Department apologises for the error. The Department is discussing with the President of the Tribunal amendments to the Regulations in view of this error.

    (4)  Given the effect of section 11 of the Interpretation Act 1978, explain the purpose and effect of regulation 30(10).

5. The definition of "parent" in section 576 of the Education Act 1996 would have applied, by virtue of section 11 of the Interpretation Act 1978, without regulation 30(1) but in view of the separate definitions of "parent" in the regulations 2(1) and 7(4) we thought it helpful to the reader to state it in terms.

    (5)  Should the reference in regulation 46(2)(b) to regulation 44(3) be a reference to Regulation 45(3)?

6. The Committee are correct I can confirm that the reference should have been to Regulation 45(3). The Department apologises for this error. The Department is discussing with the President of the Tribunal amendments to the Regulations in view of this error.

    (6)  With regard to regulation 48(3)(a), explain:

      (a)  where a party has not delivered his statement of case, why the Regulations do not automatically extend the time for doing so (as opposed to requiring resort to regulation 51), given that the appeal is struck out until the order striking it out is set aside and no provision is made to interrupt the case statement period; and

7. The effect of this regulation is that regulation 18(1) applies afresh i.e. "Both parties shall be allowed the same period of 30 working days, from the date on which the notification [in this case, the notification under regulation 48(3)(a)] is taken to have been delivered in accordance with regulation 50(6), to send a statement of their respective cases and written evidence to the Secretary of the Tribunal."

      (b)  where a party has delivered his statement of case, why no provision is made for the submission of a supplementary statement or further written evidence, except in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the President under regulation 9(2) (contrast regulation 48(3)(b)).

8. The effect of regulation 18(1) is that both parties have 30 working days in which to submit their statement of respective cases and written evidence. Accordingly, the Department took the view that supplementary or further evidence would not be necessary since both parties would have a fresh opportunity to submit full statements.

27 March 2001


 
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