New Judgment: Isle of Wight Council v Platt  UKSC 28
06 Thursday Apr 2017
On appeal from:  EWHC 1283 (Admin)
This appeal considered whether, on an information alleging a failure by a parent over a specified period to secure that his child attends school regularly contrary to the Education Act 1996, s 444(1), the child’s attendance outside the specified period is relevant to the question whether the offence has been committed. The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the Claimant’s appeal, and declared that the word ‘regularly’ means ‘in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school’. This rejected the interpretations of ‘regularly’ as being ‘sufficiently frequently’ or ‘at regular intervals’, as the Supreme Court held that Parliament must have intended the meaning of ‘in accordance with the rules’ in order to fall in line with reasons including school attendance being compulsory; defences to non-attendance have been reduced in legislation; and the need for certainty within the criminal law as to when removing a child from school is a criminal offence, and any other reading of ‘regularly’ would create uncertainty.