Old school fees battle starts again

SINCE the new school year begins tomorrow the issue of paying school fees - and who pays them - will once again become a bone of contention between many parents and schools.

SINCE the new school year begins tomorrow the issue of paying school fees - and who pays them - will once again become a bone of contention between many parents and schools.

A father in Western Cape was ordered by the supreme court of appeal to pay his child's fees on November 26 last year.

Fish Hoek Primary School sued the father for his child's school fees after he argued that he was not liable since he was not the custodian parent.

"The case makes it clear that non-custodian dads are also responsible for paying their child's school fees if they can afford them," said Joelene Nel family law specialist at Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys.

The case was first argued in the Bellville magistrate's court on March 31 2006. Judgment was handed down on June 14 2007, which upheld the father's argument, relying on the Education Affairs Act's definition of a parent being the person in whose custody the child has been lawfully placed.

On appeal on September 7 2008 two Cape high court judges held that the word "parent" meant custodian parent.

Nel said: "The disappointing aspect of this case is the substantial legal costs.

"For the relatively nominal sum of R1 610 a father decided to rather become embroiled in protracted and costly litigation."

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