Prior to the pandemic, the SEND system was already in crisis with many local authorities failing to meet their legal obligations to children with SEND. In response to the pandemic, the government legislated to downgrade the legal duties owed to these children. In this seminar, Alice will explain the legal changes, what we know about the effect of those changes, and the strategic judicial review which was brought to challenge these changes. She will also address the dilemma faced by many families of children with SEND at the present time: whether to return their children to school and the government guidance which makes it very difficult to get support if parents decide to keep their children at home.
Alice Irving is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. Her practice spans housing and social welfare law, community care, education law and related public law. Alice has been instructed on a number of cases concerning the rights of disabled individuals and carers. These include judicial reviews challenging local authorities (for example, R (L) v Devon County Council  EWHC 2054 (Admin)) and central government (for example, R (Shaw) v Secretary of State for Education  EWHC 2216 (Admin)). Alice also represents families in the First-tier Tribunal in appeals of Education Health and Care Plans and disability discrimination claims. Alice has contributed to advice for local authorities in relation to data protection in the children’s social care context. She has advised individuals on personal data breaches by local authorities.
Before coming to the bar, Alice completed a Bachelor of Arts in Community and Family Studies, which is the academic portion of a social work training. She also holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Law and was a lecturer at the University of Oxford. Alongside lecturing, she worked as a research assistant for academics, barristers and the Law Commission.
Alice has a particular interest in women’s rights and preventing violence against women. At Oxford, she co-founded the Student Union’s anti-sexual violence campaign, It Happens Here. She worked as a Legal Intern at the Women’s Legal Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. Alice collaborated with Universities UK to promote their ‘Report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students’ (2016). She also organised and chaired a panel on sexual violence and the criminal justice system at the inaugural RebLaw UK conference.