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Boy in the corner

The notion that the Supreme Court’s ruling on a severely disabled boy’s right to education has opened the floodgates could not be further from the truth, argues Yvonne Spencer

6 September 2010

The recent Supreme Court decision in A v Essex County Council [2010] UKSC 33 was heralded by some commentators as representing an opportunity for many parents of children with disabilities to pursue alternative remedies under the Human Rights Act.

In fact the judgment affords no such avenue as the Supreme Court has all but barred the stable door by maintaining an extremely limited interpretation of the right to education, thereby following the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

To many lawyers, that this case made its way to the higher courts at all was surprising, no less so the fact that the appellant was in receipt of public funding. Previous domestic case law had exhaustively concluded that the right to education is a weak one, affording individuals no more than the right to non-discriminatory access to state-funded education. In Ali v The Head Teachers and Governors of Lord Grey School [2006] UKHL 14, the House of Lords decided ...

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