Teacher loses challenge to UCD course ruling

 

A DUBLIN teacher has failed in the European Court of Justice to overturn a High Court ruling that he was not entitled to confidential information on other applicants to a course in UCD.

In a dispute with the university that has gone on for nine years, Patrick Kelly claims he was refused admission to a master’s course in social science due to discrimination on sex grounds.

He made a claim of sex discrimination to the Equality Tribunal in April 2002. In November 2006 it delivered a ruling he had failed to establish a prima facie case.

He appealed this to the Circuit Court, where he sought the applications of the other candidates. In April 2007 the Circuit Court refused this. Mr Kelly appealed the refusal to the High Court.

UCD opposed the disclosure application on grounds including that they contained personal information given in confidence.

During the High Court proceedings, one of the witnesses for UCD, Suzanne Quin, head of the school of applied social science, said the personal statements sought in the application process elicited in many cases private details about applicants and their families.

At the outset of the High Court proceedings, Mr Kelly asked for the matter to go to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on the meaning of EU law, but this was deferred until the court decided whether the matter could be decided under national law. In March Mr Justice Liam McKechnie upheld the Circuit Court decision.

He asked the European court to rule on four questions, all relating to whether EU anti-discrimination law entitled a person who thought he or she had been discriminated against in access to vocational training to information on other applicants. The court found the relevant directive did not entitle a dissatisfied applicant to such data.