Irish High Court quashes decision to refuse school transport to child with autism

The Irish High Court has found that the decision by the School Transport Appeals Board to refuse a young child with autism school transport was unsatisfactory and must be reconsidered in light of the Court’s finding.

Judicial review proceedings were brought on behalf of the young child after being refused school transport under the Special Education Needs Scheme by the Board by virtue of the fact that the school in which he was to attend was not the closest school to his home. It was the opinion of various healthcare and educational professionals, the Court heard, that the school in question was best suited to the child’s needs.

The child’s family first brought the application to the Minister of Education who refused it because the school was not the closest school to the child’s home. They then appealed to an independent body called the School Transport Appeals Board who refused it without any reason specified.

Ms. Justice Niamh Hyland in the High Court was not satisfied with the Board’s decision; she held that the Board had failed to engage properly with the evidence presented and had a duty to set out its reasons for the decision as an body independent to the Department of Education. As a result, she held the decision of the Board was “set at nought”.

Ms. Justice Hyland quashed the refusal and remitted it back to the Board for fresh consideration. She also ruled that the respondents should pay the child’s legal costs.



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