PPTA wins legal challenge against Teaching Council
Lead counsel for PPTA, Dr James Every-Palmer QC and Evan Jones, a teacher plaintiff.
PPTA Te Wehengarua has succeeded in challenging the Teaching Council’s decisions that raised practising certificate fees and replaced triennial certification with annual certification. The decisions have been in place since 1 February 2021, but have now been quashed.
The PPTA was concerned that the Council had mandated annual certification without consulting the teaching profession. The court overturned the annual certification decision, saying the Council’s duty of fairness required consultation.
The court found further serious errors in the Council’s decisions over basic issues of law and good process, including:
- wrongly representing to teachers that payment by instalment was unlawful
- misleading the Minister on payment by instalment
- not considering the pros and cons of annual certification
- imposing a blanket one-year period of certification inconsistently with the Act
- setting an unlawful fee which bundled together all costs of the Council’s services
The Court rejected explanations offered by the Council’s witnesses that were inconsistent with the documentary record.
The Court quashed the annual certification decision and the fee increase. As a result, the PPTA expects teachers who have been certified from 1 February 2021 will be treated as having obtained a three-year practising certificate.
PPTA Te Wehengarua President Melanie Webber says teachers always knew the Council had acted illegally and this judgment confirms that view.
The PPTA welcomes the Council’s announcement that it will abide by the judgment, it will continue to work with unions, and it will consult the profession on fees and annual certification.