PYJ v NKS (Child: Schooling) [2021] 5 HKLRD 1, [2021] HKFC 187

Eric Leung appeared for the successful petitioning mother at the Family Court in PYJ v NKS (Child: Schooling) [2021] 5 HKLRD 1, [2021] HKFC 187.

His divorced parents being in disagreement thereon, the issue for decision by the Family Court was which primary school this boy aged 5 years and 10 months should attend for his upcoming primary 1 school year 2021/2022. The mother, for reasons which she gave, proposed Canossa School Hong Kong (Canossa) while the father, for reasons which he gave, proposed Shrewsbury International School (Shrewsbury).

Held, ordering that the child attend Canossa for the academic year 2021/2022, that:

  • (1) The paramount consideration was the welfare of the child. (See para.20.)
  • (2) Past cases illustrated the sort of factors to be considered in such applications. However, there was no exhaustive list of such factors. Each case depended, and the weight of each relevant factor depended, on the circumstances (W v F (FCMC 809/2004, [2005] HKEC 91), CCMJ v SSM (FCMP 67/2010, [2013] HKEC 2574), A v B (FCMC 9824/2015, [2016] HKEC 2003), STY v LMSC [2018] HKFC 170, MT v HYC[2020] HKFC 55 referred to). (See para.21.)
  • (3) The question for the Court was the specific one of which of the schools in question would best suit this child and his needs both in the short term and in the long term. It was not the Court’s role to compare the schools and make a finding as to which one was better generally. (See paras.25 – 26.)
  • (4) As to relevant factors, the Court considered: the background of each school; the background of the family; the convenience of commute/transportation; and the future schooling plans for the child (A v B (FCMC 9824/2015, [2016] HKEC 2003) applied). (See paras.26 – 38.)
  • (5) The mother being the primary carer of the child even though the father was a hands-on father, more weight was given to her views than his on which school would provide a better education for their child at this point in his life (W v F (FCMC 809/2004, [2005] HKEC 91) applied). (See para.40.)
  • (6) While Shrewsbury was a good school in and of itself, the overall welfare of this particular child pointed to Canossa as the choice which suited his needs more. (See para.43.)

[The above is excerpted from the headnote to the report in HKLRD.]

 

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