Leaving Cert student sues State Examinations Commission over recheck wait

By Ray Managh

An 18-year-old Wexford student, whose Leaving Certificate marks were wrongly totted up by an examiner, could lose her chance of a place in a college veterinary medicine course, the High Court was told yesterday.

Rebecca Carter is suing the State Examinations Commission, legally challenging its decision not to recheck her results before mid-October, effectively costing her a place at University College Dublin, which decides its student allocation by the end of September.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys was told UCD had agreed not to allocate Ms Carter’s potential placing until September 30, allowing the court to deal with her judicial review of decisions to date relating to her exam results.

Ms Carter, of Ardcolm Drive, Rectory Hall, Castlebridge, is also suing the Central Applications Office, which processes applications for undergraduate courses in third-level colleges, and UCD seeking to restrain the college from refusing her a place on the course.

Micheal P O’Higgins SC told Mr Justice Humphreys that Ms Carter had repeated her Leaving Certificate exams this year and received 554 points, six points short of the required number for veterinary medicine in UCD.

“The points required for the course dropped to 555 in the second-round offers and she was then only a point short,” said Mr O’Higgins. “She was not satisfied that her results accurately reflected her exam performance and took part in a review in the presence of two teachers.”

Mr O’Higgins said the review revealed that, in Ms Carter’s business exam script, the examiner had given her 17 plus 19 plus 30 but had then wrongly totted up the marks to 56 instead of 66.

He told Mr Justice Humphreys, in papers submitted to the court, that when the error was uncovered, she and her family contacted the commission to have matters put right so she could take up her place.

She was told the commission could not correct the error until mid-October, by which time she would have to wait until 2019 to commence the course.

He said Ms Carter and her family had made exhaustive efforts to resolve the matter but to no avail, despite it involving no more than a correction of a clear and obvious administrative error.

Aoife Carroll, for the commission, told the court there had been more than 9,000 issues to be determined by the commission on appeal relating to more than 5,000 examination candidates.

She told the judge that if this occurred they could find that next year there could be 5,000 applications for judicial review before the court. Ms Carroll asked for an adjournment for a week to allow her file opposition papers to Ms Carter’s application.

The judge told both the commission and UCD that by 11am on Monday, they should file opposition papers to Ms Carter’s proceedings. He suggested there could be a full hearing of the application by next Monday or Tuesday.

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