Student not entitled to copy of examination script


An accountancy student who failed an exam is not entitled to be provided with a copy of the script submitted by him for the exam, the High Court ruled yesterday.

The script submitted by Peter Nowak was not personal data and he was not entitled to it under data protection legislation.

The case arose after Mr Nowak, a student with the Chartered Accountants of Ireland (CAI), sat the exam in October 2009, but was unsuccessful. In May 2010, he asked the CAI to release to him all personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Acts, in particular a copy of his exam script.

The CAI gave him considerable material, but said the exam script would not be included on the basis of legal advice that data protection law did not extend to scripts.

Mr Nowak complained to the Data Protection Commissioner, who said no substantive breach of the legislation had occurred. Mr Nowak appealed to the Circuit Court, which said it had no jurisdiction to hear an appeal where the commissioner declined to investigate. That decision was appealed to the High Court.