SMART OTExpert Witness
Qualified to provide evidence for the court or tribunal
What is an expert witness?
An expert witness is someone who has a level of specialist knowledge, skill and expertise to give an opinion on the facts of a legal case.
How I can help
I qualified as an occupational therapist in 1996 and have worked with children and young people since 1999. I have expertise working with children and young adults with a range of difficulties, including complex needs, developmental delay, learning difficulties, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination disorder, trauma, challenging behaviour, and social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
I trained as an expert witness with Bond Solon and prepare occupational therapy reports for Special Educational Needs tribunals. My role and duty is to provide evidence for the court or tribunal. Disputes can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Refusal to assess for or issue an Education, Health and Care Plan
- Disputes on the content of an Education, Health and Care Plan
- Description of the child or young person’s needs
- Outcomes and provision in the plan
- Occupational therapy support and provision
- Placement named in the plan
- Maintaining or ceasing an Education, Health and Care Plan.
My reports follow the guidance for experts and are CPR part 35 compliant. They are impartial, independent and unbiased.
What to expect
I am instructed by a lawyer to assess a child or young adult. I receive copies of previous reports and documents from the lawyer (known as a bundle). The occupational therapy assessment is completed in the home, school, college or care environment. I talk to parents and carers about the child or young person’s needs. I write the report, which includes my opinion, from all the information that I have gathered during the assessment. The report is sent to the lawyer then shared with you. I may be asked to provide evidence at the court or tribunal.
Links for further advice and information
The following may be useful for parents or carers of children and young adults with special educational needs.
Special Educational Needs Code of Practice
HM Courts and Tribunal Service – First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)
Independent Provider of Special Educational Advice (IPSEA)
Contact a Family