Parents' fees case collapses in court

March 24, 2000

A High Court judge dealt a serious blow to a bankrupt couple when he refused to intervene in their case against the Department for Education and Employment over their children's tuition fees.

Lawyers for Lucy Knight, 20, and her brother Christopher, 19, argued that their higher education funding should not have to suffer just because of their parents' bankruptcy.

But Mr Justice Dyson said that rather than coming to the High Court, Lynda and Denis Knight should ask their trustee in bankruptcy to reduce their payments to creditors so that they can meet their "regular domestic needs", including education costs.

The Knights, who were declared bankrupt after Mr Knight's sports shop in Eastleigh, Hampshire, failed, said they simply could not afford the cost of their children's university education.

Refusing to open the way for a judicial review of the siblings' case, the judge said: "I am quite unable to say on the material before the court that the regulations are in any way perverse."

Although Mrs Knight has a well-paid job as a barrister's clerk, the couple have pledged to pay all their surplus income to their trustee in bankruptcy so their creditors will be paid.

This week Mrs Knight told The THES she was considering re-applying for a full court hearing. "The judge has drawn a fine line, and we have to think about whether there are any other strings to our bow," she said.

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