Land mark case regarding taking children on holiday

Have you been fined for taking your child on holiday during term time? A landmark ruling in the Supreme Court could soon determine whether parents will face prosecution for taking their children on holiday during term time.

At Emery Johnson Astills, we have a Criminal Law Team who are able to offer you advice regarding failure to attend school and all education offences.

In April 2015, Mr Platt was charged with an offence of failing to ensure his daughter’s attendance at school after he took his daughter o a family holiday during term time. This is an offence contrary to Section 441 of the Education Act 1996. After refusing to pay the fine for the offence, Mr Platt appeared before the Magistrates’ Court and was successful in persuading the Magistrates there was no case to answer.  The Isle of Wight Council appealed the decision to the High Court but the appeal was refused on the grounds that the Magistrates were correct in taking into account the child’s good attendance of over 90%.

Isle of Wight council and the Department of Education have now appealed the High Court decision to the Supreme Court. Lawyers acting on behalf of the council have submitted that regular attendance meant that pupils had to be in class “at all times when required by the school rules”. Clive Sheldon QC acting on behalf of Mr Platt argued that the authorities’ interpretation of the law was absurd and would “penalise millions of parents”.  Parents all over the country now await the judgement.

Parents prosecuted for failing to ensure attendance at school could face a fine and or a community order but more importantly they will have a conviction for a criminal offence.

At Emery Johnson Astills we will assess you for free legal advice through Legal Aid as in many cases, free legal aid can be obtained.

If you need advice regarding any of the issues discussed within this article, please contact the Criminal Law Team at Emery Johnson Astills by telephoning 01509 610312.