Student whose points were incorrectly counted wins case

Rebecca Carter from Wexford allowed take up a place in veterinary medicine at UCD

Wexford student Rebecca Carter, whose Leaving Cert exam points were wrongly totted up by State Examinations Commission markers, has been allowed take up a place in veterinary medicine at UCD.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys told Ms Carter in the High Court on Wednesday had her points been correctly added up, she would have achieved an extremely high mark that would easily have qualified her for a place at the UCD course.

Ms Carter (18) of Ardcolm Drive, Rectory Hall, Castlebridge, Wexford, had sued the commission, challenging its decision not to re-check her points score in time to allow her obtain a place at UCD.

She had spent four days in the High Court listening to legal teams present evidence and argue legal points with regard to her case and today hugged family and friends in the courtroom after hearing the judge rule in her favour.


Mr Justice Humphreys told Micheal P O’Higgins SC, who appeared with barrister Brendan Hennessy for Ms Carter, that he would direct the commission to carry out the necessary corrections to her exam paper by noon on Friday and notify UCD two hours later of the result.

Highly unfair

The Central Applications Office, which processes applications for undergraduate courses in colleges, would inform Ms Carter by 5pm on Friday of its decision to award her a placement.

Mr Justice Humphreys said the situation faced by Ms Carter had been highly unfair and described the process engaged in by the commission as manifestly unfit for purpose, and a situation which should not repeat itself next year. He said the delay in dealing with her request for a recount had caused her distress.

Conor Power SC, who appeared with Aoife Carroll for the commission, asked the court to consider a stay on its decision but the judge said that to grant a stay would nullify his decision and allow Ms Carter no benefit from her successful legal challenge.

Following the decision, Ms Carter hugged her parents and said she was delighted with the outcome.

Mr Justice Humphreys had initially been told that UCD had agreed to reserve Rebecca’s potential placing until September 30th.

The court heard Ms Carter had repeated her leaving certificate exams and had received 554 points, just six short of the required number for veterinary medicine at UCD. The points required for the course had dropped to 555 in the second round offer, which had left her only a point short.

Mr O’Higgins, who was instructed by Dublin solicitor Eileen McCabe, said Ms Carter had not been satisfied that the result fairly reflected her exam performance and took part in a review in the presence of two teachers.

It had been discovered that her points total had been wrongly totted up and had the error not have occurred she would have surpassed the level required for the veterinary course.

Mr Justice Humphreys said that one important factor in reaching his decision was that had the exam paper been correctly marked Ms Carter would have had a prima facie case in winning a place at UCD. He said he would hand down a written judgment later and adjourned the proceedings for mention on Tuesday afternoon.