Murtagh v Board of Management of St. Emer's National School

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeHEDERMAN J.,McCarthy J.,O'FLAHERTY J.
Judgment Date07 March 1991
Neutral Citation1991 WJSC-SC 1028
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number(421/89),[1988 No. 327 J.R.]
Date07 March 1991
MURTAGH v. ST EMER'S SCHOOL
JUDICIAL REVIEW NO. 327 OF 1988

BETWEEN

CATHERINE MURTAGH AND THOMAS MURTAGH
Applicants/
Appellants
v.
THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF ST. EMER'S NATIONALSCHOOL
Respondents

1991 WJSC-SC 1028

Hederman J.

McCarthy J.

O'Flaherty J.

(421/89)

THE SUPREME COURT

Synopsis:

EDUCATION

School

Pupil - Discipline - Management - Powers - Source - Parents" authority - National school - Board of management - Suspension of pupil - Judicial review not available - (421/89 - Supreme Court - 7/3/91) - [1991] 1 I.R. 482 - [1991] ILRM 549

|Murtagh v. St. Emer's National School|

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Remedy

Scope - Restriction - Public domain - School - Pupil - Indiscipline - Punishment - Suspension for three days - Powers of board of management of national school - Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986, order 84, rr. 22, 26 - (421/89 - Supreme Court - 7/3/91) - [1991] 1 I.R. 482 - [1991] ILRM 549

|Murtagh v. St. Emer's National School|

Citations:

RSC O.84

1

JUDGMENT delivered on the 7th day of March 1991by HEDERMAN J.

2

Judicial review is a legal remedy available on application to the High Court, when any body or tribunal having legal authority to determine rights or impose liabilities and having a duty to act judicially in accordance with the law and the Constitution acts in excess of legal authority or contrary to its duty.

3

A three day suspension of a pupil from a national school either by the principal or the Board of Management of that school is not a matter for judicial review. It is not an adjudication on, or determining of any rights, or the imposing of any liability. It is simply theapplication of ordinary disciplinary procedures inherent in the school authorities and granted to them by the parents who have entrusted the pupil to the school.

4

A three day suspension for an admitted breach of discipline would be no more reviewable by the High Court, than for example, the ordering of a pupil as a sanction to stay in school for an extra half hour to write out lines, or to write out lines while he is at home.

5

If, however, a child had been physically punished in a manner which is in breach of the law, the matter might lie in the sphere of private law or in the criminal law or in both, and the parents could exercise these rights on behalf of the child.

6

If, the parents themselves feel they have a complaint against the principal or the Board of Management of the school as for example, for defamation or the disturbance oftheir family life that claim lies in private law.

7

In my view judicial review has no application to the facts in this case. I would dismiss this appeal.

8

JH1

9

Judgment of McCarthy J.delivered the 7th day of March, 1991.

10

On the 1st March 1988 Alan Murtagh, then aged 11, offended against school discipline. He refused to apologise to the teacher whom he had insulted; the principal teacher, who could lawfully have suspended him for three days, notified the school board and the boy's parents, the present Appellants. The school board met on the 25th April and agreed that the boy should be suspended for three days. His parents were told; they met the chairperson of the board and sought a meeting of the full board which took place on the 9th May, when the parents made their case. After further correspondence, the board met on the 16th May and decidedtosuspend the boy for three days - the 19th, 20th and 23rd of May1988.

11

The parents sought leave to apply for judicial review upon the grounds that the board had acted in breach of the principles of natural and constitutional justice in

12

(a) failing to afford an adequate opportunity to them to be heard or defend their son.

13

(b) acting in a biased and unfair manner because of the personal bias of the chairperson of the board.

14

Leave to apply for judicial review was granted on these grounds and the matter was heard in the...

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  • Habte v The Minister for Justice and Equality ; Habte v The Minister for Justice and Equality
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    • February 4, 2019
    ...of the procedure. As noted in Ryanair Ltd v. Flynn [2000] 3 I.R. 240 and Murtagh v. Board of Management of St. Emer's National School [1991] 1 I.R. 482, judicial review is directed to an act that must affect some legally enforceable right of the applicant. A mere decision to initiate a pr......
  • Shatter v Guerin
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    ...has been referred to on a number of occasions as an authority on accessing judicial review. 46 . Having cited Murtagh v. Board of Management of St. Emer's National School [1991] 1 I.R. 482 (Hederman J. at p. 488) as an example of where decisions, even with adverse consequences, are not ame......
  • Shatter v Guerin
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    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • November 10, 2016
    ...the long-standing situation identified by inter alia Hederman J. in Murtagh v. Board of Management of St. Emer's National School [1991] 1 I.R. 482 at p. 488:- 'Judicial review is a legal remedy available on application to the High Court, when any body or tribunal having legal authority to ......
  • O'Byrne v DPP, Neville v DPP
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    • High Court
    • October 30, 2019
    ...in a difference between a €60 fine and €120 fine (referring, for example, to Murtagh v Board of Management of St. Emer's National School [1991] 1 IR 482, and Dillon v Board of Management of CUS [2018] IECA 292). As regards the equality claim, the respondents characterised the factual subs......
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