Judicial Review in Disciplinary Matters

State school boarding establishments are not part of the school, and the provisions of the Education Act 1989 as to suspension and expulsion do not apply to them. Residence at a school hostel is instead a separate contractual matter.

The High Court is not likely to grant judicial review remedies unless the status or educational options of a student are involved or specific rights or duties are statutorily recognised. Even then, the Court may be cautious of doing so in such matters, and may take the view that educational issues are matters of educational policy for school boards operating against the broad backdrop of national educational guidelines. The view has been expressed that school managerial or administrative matters are negotiated, mediated, and resolved on a local level.

There is a presumption of regularity in respect of school rules and in the absence of evidence of unreasonableness they will be upheld. A student's deliberate challenging of the rules may amount to continual disobedience or gross misconduct.

School rules may not, however, provide for automatic punishment or suspension. Individual situations and circumstances always have to be considered. Damages can be awarded against boards that fail to observe proper procedures and the rules of natural justice, even where a student has broken a school rule and the decision to suspend is made in good faith.