(a) If either party to a due process hearing intends to be represented by an attorney in the state hearing, notice of that intent shall be given to the other party at least 10 days prior to the hearing. The failure to provide that notice shall constitute good cause for a continuance.
(b) (1) An award of reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing parent, guardian, or pupil, as the case may be, may only be made either with the agreement of the parties following the conclusion of the administrative hearing process or by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to Section 1415(i)(3) of Title 20 of the United States Code.
(2) In accordance with Section 1415(i)(3) of Title 20 of the United States Code, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable attorney's fees as part of the costs to a prevailing party who is a state educational agency or local educational agency in the following circumstances:
(A) Against the attorney of a parent who files a due process hearing request or subsequent cause of action that is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation, or against the attorney of a parent who continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.
(B) Against the attorney of a parent, or against the parent, if the parent's due process hearing request or subsequent cause of action was presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay, or to needlessly increase the cost of litigation.
(c) Public agencies shall not use federal funds distributed under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.), or other federal special education funds, for the agency's own legal counsel or other advocacy costs, that may include, but are not limited to, a private attorney or employee of an attorney, legal paraprofessional, or other paid advocate, related to a due process hearing or the appeal of a hearing decision to the courts. Funds shall not be used to reimburse parents who prevail and are awarded attorney's fees, pursuant to subdivision (b), as part of the judgment. Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude public agencies from using these funds for attorney services related to the establishment of policy and programs, or responsibilities, under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.) and the program administration of these programs. This subdivision does not apply to attorneys and others hired under contract to conduct administrative hearings pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 56505.
(d) The hearing decision shall indicate the extent to which each party has prevailed on each issue heard and decided, including issues involving other public agencies named as parties to the hearing.
(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 56, Sec. 87.)
20 USC 1415
20 USC 1400 et seq.
Education Code 56505