On appeal from: [2016] 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.

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 28
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (31 Jan 2017 morning session) (31 Jan 2017 afternoon session)