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Latest guidance

IAP judgements

In another case involving an exclusion appeal of a primary school pupil (B, R v Independent Appeal Panel of London Borough of Brent), the High Court has made the point that if it is a matter of the judgement of the independent appeals panel (IAP) on the evidence, courts will be very reluctant indeed to intervene.

This was despite a school presenting evidence that had been sketchily collected and confusingly presented. The court took the view that the IAP had the pupil in front of them and were able to interrogate the key witnesses and that they had the experience and judgement to make a proper decision.

The judge also made the point that the guidance which says that schools should be very reluctant to exclude children with special needs was always subject to exceptional circumstances. In this case the pupil was 'stalking' another pupil and had twice threatened to rape her. The school had the right to proceed in these circumstances.

Sound advice

In health and safety matters it is the employer's duty to identify any particular hazards and to do what is reasonably practicable to remedy them. The appeal court has taken the view that despite there being standards for ear protection, a claim may succeed where companies failed to protect hearing at a lower number of decibels.

The leading judgement in the case (Baker v Quantum Clothing Group & Ors [2009]) essentially said anyone would have realised that the workplace was noisy. The company should have considered offering protection regardless of whether the noise was below the prohibited level.

This may have implications in schools and colleges that deal with hazards far wider than noise, though if there is noise it should be considered.

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