Claim numbers: AC-2023-LON-002577 / AC-2023-LON-002579
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
25 September 2023
The Honourable Mr Justice Kerr
The King on the application of
VL (both by their litigation friend SO)
Somerset County Council
On the Claimants’ applications for expedition and a rolled up hearing made by application notices dated 1 September 2023
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the claimant
ORDER by the Honourable Mr Justice Kerr
- The applications in each case for expedition and a rolled up hearing are adjourned until receipt of the acknowledgment of service.
- The application for anonymity is granted and the parties will be referred to by the initials above. The two cases will be dealt with together.
- Subject to any further representations received by 4pm on 2 October 2023, the cases are transferred to the Administrative Court in Cardiff.
(1) The claimants are twins with special educational needs. They are adult protected parties aged 24, with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder, severe learning and communication difficulties and sensory issues. They both have Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs).
(2) The EHCPs will cease in July 2024 when they will be aged 25, but the matter could still proceed thereafter as a claim for damages for breach of ECHR article 2, First Protocol and costs. There are also claims for declaratory relief and costs.
(3) The essence of the claim is that despite previous judicial review proceedings (settled last year), the defendant is not providing the education it is required to provide under the EHCPs. The matter is clearly urgent.
(4) However, I do not accept that it would be right to abridge the time for service of the acknowledgement of service (AOS) and any summary grounds of resistance. The case only reached me today and the AOS is, by my reckoning, due in two days (27 September 2023). I think the defendant should be entitled to respond to the claim in the normal way.
(5) The office for the region most closely connected with the claim appears to be Cardiff. The consent order in the last judicial review was stamped “Cardiff” and the claimant’s solicitors have offices in both Cardiff and Bristol – see their email of 14 September 2023, which in apparent breach CPR rule 39.8 was not copied to the defendant.