In the High Court Mr Justice Gerard Hogan has ordered that a child should attend a fee-paying school. The parents of the child could not agree on a choice of school. The father favoured a particular secondary school which was non-fee paying, but highly regarded academically. The mother preferred to send the child to a private school and had appealed the decision of the Circuit Court which had found in favour of the fathers choice.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan was of the view that that the boy had very considerable talents and had a high level of academic and other achievements. The Judge directed that the child be enrolled in this private school, indicating that “given especially his scholastic attitude it seems appropriate that he would go to a school that would seem best suited for his talents”. The Court did however indicate that both parents have the right to apply within reason to have the Order varied in the light of any change of circumstances.

It is also worthwhile to note that the school in question offered a 50% discount in respect of the fees with the child’s maternal grandparents willing to discharge the balance. It appears that the child’s father had an objection in principal to his son’s educational costs being discharged by 3rd parties however as the Court decided the application on the grounds that the welfare of the child is the first and paramount consideration.

It appears from the judgment that the child also wished to attend at the particular fee-paying school. The Court directed that the mother’s appeal should be allowed and that she was entitled to enrol her son at the private fee paying school.

The Court further directed that the Order was predicated on the assumption that the school would waive 50% of the fees and the balance thereafter would be discharged by the child’s maternal grandparents. The Court further directed that, under no circumstances, was the father expected to contribute to any additional costs and furthermore if the financial support was not to materialise then the matter would have to be revisited.

Annette Sheehan is a solicitor in FitzGerald Solicitors specialising in all areas of Family Law and Child Care Law. FitzGerald Solicitors is located at 6 Lapps Quay, Cork.


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