STATEMENT REGARDING BAKER SMALL FROM Anna Kennedy Online
Anna Kennedy Online has received many contacts from its supporters regarding messages posted on social media by law firm Baker Small, a firm who is notorious for the approach it uses when representing Local Authorities in parental appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunal and Upper Tribunal.
Many of the complaints we have heard about this firm relate to the outright hostility of adopted by its practitioners along with a reluctance to adopt the “cards on the table” approach the law requires as this is seen as being in the best interests of the child.
What seems to have annoyed people is Baker Small’s conduct on social media over a tribunal “win” where they deemed it appropriate to openly gloat about a disabled child being deprived of the essential provision it was believed they needed. Whilst this attitude is deplorable, it should be remembered that this firm was presumably always acting in accordance with the instructions they had been given Local Authorities who were paying for their services – using the money contributed by the taxes of the people who had, to use Bakers Smalls language, been “defeated” in their attempts to procure what was right for their children. Parents are perhaps also justified in asking why the Local Authorities who use Baker Small are “surprised” by the attitudes that have recently come to light. This astonishment on behalf of some Local Authorities is even more difficult to understand given some parents have told Anna Kennedy Online that they have made their Local Authority aware of Baker Smalls behaviour and their concerns were ignored or dismissed. It is also astonishing why the special educational needs and disability tribunal allowed Baker Small to employ their tactics for so long without choosing to admonish them.
Many people who have contacted Anna Kennedy Online have expressed the view that they hope Baker Small and its lawyers will not be allowed to practice in the future. This is a matter for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but should any parents have any complaints about Baker Small they are entitled to raise them with the regulator who can be contacted here: https://www.sra.org.uk/contact-us/ Anna Kennedy Online is also in the process of reporting this.
One thing Anna Kennedy Online would encourage is for parents to find out the fees paid by any Local Authority in relation to an appeal i.e. to external solicitors or barristers, or even the internal costs incurred. This can be done using the Freedom of Information Act and an article will be posted on this subject in the near future.
It is clear from this shameful situation, the current education system needs change and the child’s needs are the primary concern after all. Therefore we urge you to sign the following petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/132715 which may be a start.