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R (on the application of Yonas Kebede and Abiy Kebede) v Newcastle City Council

CitationR (on the application of Yonas Kebede and Abiy Kebede) v Newcastle City Council [2013] EWCA 960 Civ

Shazia Akhtar successfully argued in the Administrative Court (see Kebede v Newcastle City Council [2013] EWHC 355) that s23C (4) (b) combined with s24B of the Children Act 1989 could include the payment of tuition fees and that when carrying out its duty under s23C, a local authority could not consider it resources.

Newcastle appealed to the Court of Appeal on the basis that the phrase ‘expenses connected with his education’ cannot include tuition fees and, even if the phrase were to include tuition fees, Newcastle was entitled to take its resources into account in deciding whether or not to make such payment. The case of  R v Gloucestershire County Council ex p Barry [1997] AC 584 was relied upon by Newcastle to support this contention.

The Court of Appeal agreed that, as a matter of statutory construction, s24B could include payment of tuition fees.

It was also argued by Shazia that as s23C was framed in terms of a duty, resources could not be a relevant factor when deciding to make such  payment. The Court of Appeal agreed and rejected Newcastle’s argument on Barry at paragraphs 17-19 of the judgment.

Newcastle now has to re-consider its decision not to fund the Kebede brothers in light of this judgment.

This case is of great significance for the Kebede brothers who will now, in light of this case, be able to count themselves amongst the 6% of care leavers who go on to higher education.

For further information, please refer to the judgment in R (on the application of Yonas Kebede and Abiy Kebede) v Newcastle City Council [2013] EWCA 960 Civ

Shazia Akhtar acted for the respondents and was instructed by Rosie Fung of NYAS (now at Sinclairs), and Paul Heron of Public Interest Lawyers. Please contact Shazia or a member of her practice team if you wish to discuss the implications of this judgment further.