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Family Law

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22 JUL 2013

Decisions, decisions: choice of school and the ‘judicial reasonable parent'

Simon Johnson

Barrister, Stour Chambers, Canterbury

One of the most important decisions parents make is that of which school their children should attend. But what happens when the parents cannot agree on what school is best for their children? When such a disagreement comes before the court the welfare of the child is obviously the court's ‘paramount consideration' but there is relatively little guidance from the higher courts as to how the court should go about deciding which school will do most to advance a particular child's welfare. Some indications as to what the, ‘judicial reasonable parent' will think important when selecting a school when parents turn the decision over to them now appear in the judgment of Munby LJ (as he then was) in the case of Re G (Children) [2012] EWCA 1233. In this article Simon Johnson discusses these comments and explores some of the issues that are likely to arise when the factors specifically identified as being important features of a school to look for when in making these decisions, namely, recognition of the fundamental importance of equality of opportunity, fostering of aspiration and equipping the child to decide what kind of life they want to lead come to be applied in practice.

The full version of this article appears in the August 2013 issue of Family Law.   


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