Leaving Cert calculated grades memo deemed confidential, High Court hears

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on November 24th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A memorandum considered by Cabinet before approving the exclusion of historical school data from the Leaving Cert calculated grades process cannot be disclosed on grounds of Cabinet confidentiality, the State has told the High Court …” (more)

[Mary Carolan, Irish Times, 24 November]

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Draft standardisation model would see private school’s grades drop, court told

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on November 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A draft grade standardisation model showed a fee-paying Dublin school would see a substantial reduction in its traditionally high Leaving Cert grades, the High Court has been told. The model showed Mount Anville would see a reduction in some subjects by up to 70%, the court heard …” (more)

[Independent, 21 November]

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UCD employee sues college over injuries from lifting box of brochures

Posted in Legal issues on October 2nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A Corporate Relations Manager who claims she injured her neck as she attempted to pick up a box of information leaflets at an event in Budapest to promote UCD has sued the university in the High Court …” (more)

[Ann O’Loughlin, BreakingNews.ie, 1 October]

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High Court case challenging UCC and CAO dropped

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on October 1st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“As calculated grades were released by the Department of Education, offers from the Central Applications Office (CAO) were made on Friday September 11th 2020. There was a mixed reaction to these results and subsequent offers, which was exacerbated by a media frenzy, as it was the first ever year of the ‘calculated grades’ process …” (more)

[Maebh McCarthy, University Express, 30 September]

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Second student wins calculated grades exclusion case

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on September 25th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A second home-schooled Leaving Certificate student who was excluded from this year’s Calculated Grades process has won their case in the High Court. In his ruling Mr Justice Charles Meenan said the Department of Education’s failure to provide a system for the unnamed student was irrational, arbitrary, unfair and unlawful …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 24 September]

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The college year will be well under way by time grades case is decided

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 24th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Even if students legally challenging the calculated grades system win their cases, they may not get their chosen place in college this year. The wheels of justice turn slowly and it will be the end of October, at the earliest, before a ‘lead’ case gets under way in the High Court …” (more)

[Shane Phelan, Independent, 24 September]

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Leaving Cert students at fee-paying south Dublin school launch High Court case against Government

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on September 23rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Students at a fee-paying south Dublin school who received their Leaving Certificate results earlier this month have initiated legal proceedings against the Government. Papers were filed on behalf of the students and the board of management at St Kilian’s German School in Clonskeagh in the High Court on Tuesday …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 23 September]

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2019 student withdraws case after securing college choice

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on September 23rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A student who sat the Leaving Certificate in 2019 has withdrawn her High Court challenge to the 2020 calculated grades system after securing a place on her course of choice …” (more)

[Vivienne Traynor, RTÉ News, 23 September]

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Leaving Cert is a total mess that could have been easily avoided

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on September 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The skies are darkening with the chickens coming home to roost. The High Court cases are the big test of a Leaving Cert which may have seemed two weeks ago to have been a success. In reality, it was always nothing short of a shambles. If the courts rule in favour of the students, then the whole house of cards will come tumbling down as a disorderly queue forms for those with similar claims …” (more)

[Colm O’Rourke, Independent, 20 September]

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2019 Leaving Cert student brings challenge over grades

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on September 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A student who sat the Leaving Certificate in 2019 has brought a High Court challenge after missing out on her first choice of university course …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 17 September]

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Leaving Cert student takes High Court case over calculated grading system

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on September 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A Leaving Cert student who narrowly missed out on the points to study medicine has mounted a High Court challenge to the Leaving Cert calculated grades system. This is the first of what may be several High Court challenges against the system used to calculate Leaving Certificate results during Covid 19 …” (more)

[Ann O’Loughlin, BreakingNews.ie, 16 September]

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Up to 3,000 calculated Leaving Cert grades may not be awarded

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on August 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Up to 3,000 grades may not be awarded to Leaving Cert students this year on the basis that ‘satisfactory’ evidence was not available on which to base an estimated percentage mark. Department of Education legal documents submitted to the High Court show that it estimates it has been unable to award up to 1,500 grades to out-of-school students …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 August]

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Student home-schooled by mother wins challenge against Leaving cert predictive grade system

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on August 19th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A Leaving Cert student who was home-schooled by his mother has won his High Court challenge against the Minister for Education’s decision to exclude him from the calculated grades process …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh, Independent, 19 August]

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‘Highly gifted’ student’s challenge against ‘discriminatory’ Leaving Cert calculated grades system opens before the High Court

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on August 13th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A decision not to consider a home-schooled Leaving Cert student’s application for calculated grades is ‘unjust and discriminatory’, the High Court has heard. Elijah Burke claims the exclusion of home school students from the calculated grades process breaches his rights under the Article 42 of the Constitution and the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh, Independent, 12 August]

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High Court confirms liquidators appointed to USIT companies

Posted in Legal issues on April 27th, 2020 by steve

“The High Court has confirmed the appointment of liquidators to companies in the USIT student travel group. The firms, which employed some 149 people, say their collapse was entirely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday, Mr Justice Michael Quinn confirmed the appointments of Kieran Wallace and Andrew O’Leary of KPMG as liquidators to the companies, with addresses at Aston Quay, O’Connell Bridge …” (more)

[Tim Healy, Independent, 27 April]

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New £45m Armagh college campus ‘threat to otters’

Posted in Legal issues on January 27th, 2020 by steve

“Otter activity at a Co Armagh lake could be harmed by building a new £45 million college campus on its shoreline, the High Court was told. Lawyers for a grandmother who lives close to the parkland site claimed it is currently used by the aquatic mammals with European protected species …” (more)

[Alan Erwin, Belfast Telegraph, 27 January]

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UCC gives update on Khan family deportation

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on January 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“University College Cork’s Students’ Union and Sanctuary Working Group have issued a joint statement in relation to the Khan family’s deportation order. Four brothers Hamza, Zubair, Umair and Mutjuba Khan, along with their sister Shazadi and parents Mubeen and Hina Mubeen, were facing deportation from Ireland after being refused international protection …” (more)

[Áine Kenny, EchoLive, 17 January]

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Poaching of university staff – a brief note

Posted in Legal issues on August 29th, 2019 by steve

IrelandMaynooth University have sued University College Dublin, saying that one of their professors was persuaded by UCD to move to that institution. MU are not trying to prevent the move, but they insist that UCD have acted illegally, and want the High Court to issue a declaration to that effect. Certainly persuading academic staff to change their employer is not as such illegal, but legally speaking there is more to this.

First, MU point to an agreement of 2006, between the chief officers of the seven universities, designed to cool down any developing transfer market. Each undertook to ensure that recruitment would be ‘open and transparent and on the basis of international best practice’, to be mindful of each other’s areas of strategic importance, and to look for possibilities for collaboration.

Second, Irish legislation requires that university appointments procedures be set out ‘in a statute or regulation’ (Universities Act 1997, s 25(1)); and UCD’s statutes and regulations, at least as published online, don’t seem to allow for simply approaching some likely lad/lass and offering a professorship – appointments must usually either be by internal promotion or by open competition (see here, here and here). Having said that, the circumstances aren’t entirely clear – if this case falls into some exception in the current regulations, then no doubt UCD will point this out in short order.

Both arguments are serious, though neither seems absolutely watertight. The 2006 wording is in many respects vague, which makes it hard to demonstrate breach of the agreement, and may even suggest that it doesn’t constitute a legal contract. Its duration is vague too – and it certainly doesn’t say it binds in perpetuity. Non-compliance with the 1997 Act may be easier to demonstrate, though some may wonder about MU’s standing to complain of this – Why should they have a legal interest in UCD’s employment strategy? And if the problem is the lack of a regulation to cover this situation, UCD could resolve that for the future very easily, by writing one. So as a matter of strict law, UCD may have relatively little to worry about.

But winning the legal battle may lose them the war. If UCD are under no legal restraint in poaching staff from other Irish institutions, and can shrug off any obligation to respect ‘international best practice’ as non-binding, then yet another front opens up in the struggles each Irish university must engage in. It is hard to see how the DES will be happy with that. Quite unlike policy in a certain neighbouring jurisdiction, Irish national policy tends to stress the need for third level institutions to complement and support one another; Ireland competes with the world, but not so much with itself.

The DES have already signaled that they do not want this matter before the courts. With the ministers openly calling for ideas to include in revised university legislation, and ostentatiously planning to beef up the powers of the regulator, this is not the time to be trumpeting a current freedom to act in a way that might be considered uncollegial. So universities must settle their quarrels between themselves, or have them settled by others – peace has to break out.

But on what terms?

The Blogmeister

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Universities set for High Court battle over alleged ‘poaching’ of staff member

Posted in Legal issues on August 27th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“One of Ireland’s universities is suing another third-level institution over the alleged ‘poaching’ of one of its academic staff. The National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) has brought High Court proceedings against University College Dublin (UCD) …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh, BreakingNews.ie, 27 August]

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November date in Cork for Judge McDonnell recusal appeal

Posted in Legal issues on August 13th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Burkes’ request for a new judge to hear their religious discrimination case against NUI Galway will be heard by the High Court sitting in Cork on a date in November. The Burkes appealed to the High Court in June this year after Judge Petria McDonnell refused to recuse herself from hearing their case …” (more)

[Isaac Burke, Burke Broadcast, 12 August]

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