30 Oct 2015

Appeal seeks clarification on law

The Isle of Wight Council has today (Friday) started the formal process of appeal to the High Court, for clarification on a matter of law, concerning an Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court decision that there was ‘no case to answer’ in relation to the non-payment of a fine for an ‘unauthorised absence’ from school.

Council leader and Executive member for children’s services, Councillor Jonathan Bacon, said: “The recent media attention given to this case shows that there is interest, concern and, above all, uncertainty as to what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ for the purposes of the legislation in question. This is not a question that can be resolved by any local authority.
 
“The decision made by the magistrates was made on a point of law. The Isle of Wight Council has received clear advice that the magistrates may have failed to interpret and apply the law correctly in making their decision. Where the law created by Parliament is uncertain, the Appeal Courts have the ability to lay down a binding ruling as to the correct interpretation of the law.
 
"The Isle of Wight Council is of the view that, in light of the advice given, the importance of the issue and the need to obtain clarity, it would be appropriate to appeal the magistrates’ decision in this case in order to obtain a clear binding ruling as to what the law is on this issue. This will benefit parents and local authorities both on the Island and across the country, and may also inspire Parliament to look again at the legislation, which many feel they ought to.”
 
The council will not be commenting further in relation to this case until the appeal has been determined.
 
In the meantime, the council will continue to implement the government’s current statutory guidance around attendance.

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The council is appealing to the High Court
The council is appealing to the High Court
Factfile
  • The council will continue to implement the government’s current statutory guidance around attendance.
 
Isle of Wight, UK