Bible in Schools – appeal upheld, case continues

The Bible in schools debate goes on. Jeff McClintock, a secular school campaigner will still have his day in court.

The High Court had earlier this year struck the so called Bible in Schools case out but Court of Appeal Judges Rhys Harrison, Forrest Miller and Helen Winkelmann have reinstated the case.

The Court of Appeal judgment said McClintock’s complaint was that the Red Beach Primary School had allowed representatives of the Life in Focus Trust to teach a programme called Values in Action in classrooms.

“Mr McClintock’s essential complaint is that the board has attempted to conceal the true nature of the programme, which he says is one of religious instruction.”

“He accepts that attendance at the LIFT classes is optional. But he complains that his daughter is being treated unfairly as a result of his decision to withdraw her from the classes.”

Despite several orders and trial re-schedules, McClintock missed a final Hight Court deadline to file and the High Court threw out McClintock’s case.

The Court of Appeal said McClintock’s lawyer had been “guilty of continual delays and unexplained breaches of successive orders made in the High Court”. His defaults were “serious and unexplained”, the court said.

However, it said the appeal nevertheless succeeded. The court ruled that the proceeding was not ready for trial when it was struck out, as it still needed McClintock to provide an amended statement of claim that complied with High Court rules.

As part of the ruling, McClintock will file a notice of discontinuance against the school board, in full and final settlement of his claims against the board, while the case will continue against the Attorney-General, with McClintock to file an amended statement of claim.

McClintock was also instructed to pay all outstanding High Court cost orders.


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News category: New Zealand.

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