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 Post subject: Appeal via Skype denied
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:53 am 
Hi

Has anyone ever attended an appeal hearing via Skype?

Basically an appeal has been lodged but the appellant is a 12 hour very expensive flight away and is unable to return to the UK for the hearing. They are returning to live in the UK this summer, but can't pop over just for the hearing.

We have been told that an appeal via Skype is not allowed and I was wondering if we have any grounds to ask for a review of that decision.

If I attend the hearing on behalf of the appellant is this allowed?

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:00 am 
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there have been posts on the forum about other people attending instead of the parents and this is allowed.

I can understand why they don't allow Skype - most schools have residence requirements of some sort at this staghe of the year and expect people to be able to be present in the area.

I know of a fair few kids who have had to travel quite a way to take exams etc, though allowances are made if the family are abroad with the military etc


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:52 am 
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There is no provision in the Code for using Skype or other technology in this situation - the phrase used is 'the opportunity to appear in person'.
Quote:
2.12 Appeal panels must allow appellants the opportunity to appear in person and make oral representations. Appellants may be represented, or accompanied by a friend. Where an appellant fails, or is unable, to attend and it is impractical to offer an alternative date the appeal may go ahead and be decided on the written information submitted. Appeal panels must comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010 when considering an appellant’s attendance and representation at the appeal.
Although you can represent the parents, it would be prudent for them to notify the appeal administrators in advance (giving written permission for you to act on their behalf), and to make some arrangement whereby you will have access to the appeal papers.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:00 pm 
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I did two primary school appeals on behalf of parents who did not feel they could remain calm enough to do them. You do not even have to have anyone there as I understand, provided you have sent in all the evidence that you wish to have considered. Some people actually pay lawyers to represent them.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Daogroupie wrote:
You do not even have to have anyone there as I understand, provided you have sent in all the evidence that you wish to have considered.
Yes, appeals can be heard 'in absentia' - although the success rate is probably not too good!

Quote:
Some people actually pay lawyers to represent them.
True, although we wouldn't normally recommend it.
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a11

In the absence of the parents, a panel would welcome the opportunity to put questions to someone who knows the family well enough to be able to answer questions about their reasons for appeal and their personal circumstances.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:31 pm 
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My friend was allowed to appeal by the use of conference call when heavy workloads would not allow either her or her husband to attend.

This was Harrogate LEA which allowed it.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Quote:
This was Harrogate LEA which allowed it.
Interesting that they did so - but as far as I'm aware it would be discretionary. There's no entitlement in the Code.

Appeals - especially multiple hearings - are already quite complicated to administer, so I suspect most authorities would be very reluctant to make special arrangements (except where required to do so, e.g. under the Equality Act).

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:49 pm 
Thanks everyone for your replies. Most helpful.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:44 pm 
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I know of two families who have flown a parent to the UK for the appeal and both were successful.

One major problem to consider is that none of the venues I hear grammar appeals in have an Internet connection. One doesn't even have a mobile signal.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:43 pm 
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PS - to answer the rest of the questions:
Quote:
We have been told that an appeal via Skype is not allowed and I was wondering if we have any grounds to ask for a review of that decision.

If I attend the hearing on behalf of the appellant is this allowed?


The only way to 'ask for a review' is if the appeal is conducted not in line with the appeals code, but as Etienne correctly points out, the code only says 'in person, represented or just by paper'.

When we hear appeals that come on paper, we treat the appeal exactly as if the person was there - but we can't ask questions.

To be honest, having a representitive present the case tends to be a second best. I've heard several appeals when it's been a grandparent or uncle presenting the appeal, but invariably they can't answer the questions we ask on the day, as they don't have the intimate knowledge of the child or home circumstances; our questions are not pre-set ones with standard answers that could be put to the remote parents in advance, but ones that come out of listening to the case as presented - which is why appeals just done on paper with no representation are also at a disadvantage.

I would strongly urge a parent to attend the appeal if at all humanly possible.

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