An example of one such case that Sinnott Solicitors has taken to the High Court concerns the issue of estrangement. In that particular case, the Applicant’s Grant Application was refused on the basis that the Appeals Board were not satisfied that the Applicant was estranged from his parents and thereby unable to obtain the financial assistance of his parents in pursuit of the Applicant’s education. Upon examination of the Board’s decision, it became apparent that the guidelines set out in respect of estrangement were potentially ultra vires the scheme as those guidelines appeared to equate “estrangement” with criminality, abuse, dysfunctionality, anti-social activity etc. The ordinary meaning of estrangement is one of separation or distance and by requiring documentation from professionals such as a social worker or a Garda ignored the fact that an Applicant could be estranged without being the victim of crime, neglect or domestic abuse. Sinnott Solicitors considered that it would be very compelling evidence of estrangement but that those matters of themselves should not be the only acceptable evidence.
In that particular case, Sinnott Solicitors requested leave of the Student Grants Appeals Board to appeal the matter to the High Court on a point of law. The case resulted in a successful outcome for the Applicant. The decision of the Appeals Board was quashed. The Applicant re-appealed the decision to the Student Grants Appeals Board successfully.
The above is just an example of a case where the Applicant successfully appealed the refusal of SUSI and the Student Grants Appeals Board to deem the Applicant eligible for a student grant.
Many students are not aware that they can appeal the matter to the High Court on a specified point of law and indeed many students cannot afford to take such measures. It is our advice to any student that is refused a student grant that that student should appeal any refusal if they are of the opinion that SUSI have not made the correct decision. If the Applicant appeals that decision to the Student Grants Appels Board and if that appeal is subsequently refused, then the Applicant should take advice from a Solicitor as to whether there are sufficient grounds to seek leave of the Board in order to appeal the matter to the High Court on a specified point of law.
Sinnott Solicitors provide such a service and with the assistance with specialist Counsel, we can examine whether an Applicant could potentially appeal a refusal decision to the High Court on a specified point of law. If you have been refused by SUSI and subsequently by the Student Grants Appeals Board, then you may wish to obtain further legal advice as to whether your case could be worthy of a High Court challenge.