Seeking legal advice

Contact a Family offers advice on any aspect of caring for a disabled child. In most cases it isn't necessary to seek legal advice to find the help you need. However, we recognise that in a few situations it may be necessary to take legal action to put things right.

How Contact a Family can help

Our helpline advisers can explain your rights to local services, education, benefits and entitlements and tell you how you can challenge decisions you're not happy with. We may be able to tell you about local organisations that can support you to resolve your problem.

If you're looking for advice about housing, employment, medical negligence or setting up a trust, call our helpline for information about national organisations that specialise in those areas. 

Getting free legal aid

Legal support can be costly. You may be entitled to free legal aid to help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in court. Whether you are eligible for legal aid depends on your personal circumstances. Visit the government's legal aid webpage for more information.

When you might seek legal support

Social Care

You may experience difficulties accessing services, such as short breaks or direct payments, or the local authority may try to withdraw or reduce a service. These decisions can normally be challenged using the local authority's complaints procedure or complaining to the Ombudsmen, your local councillor or your MP. 

If you're still unhappy with the outcome of your complaint then you may feel the only option available is legal action. It is important to note that some solicitors will not take on a case until you have gone through the complaints procedure first. Exceptions might be made if the removal of the service would put you or your child at risk.


Some families experience difficulty getting the right support for their child's special educational needs. Other issues include school and college transport, exclusions and disability discrimination.

Contact a Family aims to give families the advice and information they need to help their disabled child get the education they are entitled to. However, we recognise that in a minority of cases it may be necessary to seek legal advice. For example, if other complaints or appeal routes are unavailable or have not been successful.

The Education Law association has a list of law firms who offer specialist education advice.

Clinical negligence

Clinical negligence is the legal term used to describe a medical accident where the patient has been harmed because a doctor or other healthcare professional hasn't given the proper standard of care.

It is important to remember that taking legal action is only about getting compensation, and other things like an apology may be more important to you. Find out more about clinical negligence.

List of solicitors

This is a list of solicitors who are known to have worked on cases involving disabled children. This list is not meant as a recommendation, and we cannot guarantee the quality of the services provided by these firms.

Related information