Regina v Islington Borough Council Ex Parte Rixon 1996


Ratio: The local authority regarded lack of resources or facilities as an insuperable obstacle to any further attempt to make provision under the 1970 Act.
Held: A Local Authority should allow for non-statutory guidance in assessing a disabled person’s education needs. Local authorities may only depart from the Secretary of State’s guidance for good reason.
Sedley J said: ‘In my judgment Parliament in enacting section 7(1) did not intend local authorities to whom ministerial guidance was given to be free, having considered it, to take it or leave it. Such a construction would put this kind of statutory guidance on a par with the many forms of non-statutory guidance issued by departments of state . . Parliament by section 7(1) has required local authorities to follow the path charted by the secretary of state’s guidance, with liberty to deviate from it where the local authority judges on admissible grounds that there is good reason to do so, but without freedom to take a substantially different course.’

Law Report