Lawyers for an 18-year-old student, who claims she was denied a place in UCD to study veterinary medicine due to an error totting up marks in one of her Leaving Certificate papers, have told the High Court the decision not to rectify the issue immediately is irrational and unfair.

Senior Counsel, Mícheál O'Higgins said there was a question as to why a way could not be found to cut through the bureaucratic tape surrounding the issue.

Rebecca Carter of Castlebridge in Wexford repeated her Leaving Cert this year and was just six marks short of the points needed for veterinary medicine in UCD and just one point short when second round offers were made. 

Her exam results were reviewed and it was found that in her business exam, the examiner had wrongly totted up 17 plus 19 plus 30, to a total of 56 when it should have been 66.

If the correct marks had been given, her final grade would have meant she had more than enough points to get into the course.

The court was told earlier this month that when the error was uncovered, Ms Carter and her family contacted the State Examinations Commission. 

But they were told the SEC could not correct the error until the middle of next month and if her appeal was successful she could take up her place in 2019.

Ms Carter's lawyers described this policy as unduly strict and improper. Lawyers for the SEC told the court that more than 9,000 issues had been appealed relating to more than 5,000 people who sat the examinations. 

If Ms Carter was successful in her legal case, then there could be 5,000 similar applications before the court next year, they said.

UCD has agreed not to complete the allocation of places on the course until the end of this month, pending the outcome of these proceedings.

Mr O'Higgins told Mr Justice Richard Humphreys this morning, that there appeared to be only a number of days between the parties.

He said if the normal appeal timescale was applied to Ms Carter then her case could be resolved by 10 October.

But this would mean she would not be able to take up her place until next year.  Mr O'Higgins said this was despite the fact that she had made no error and it was very clearly a totting up error that had taken place.

He said this took no account of Ms Carter's circumstances as a student who had already repeated her Leaving Certificate and it was unfair to expect her to simply wait around another year. 

He said it appeared the SEC and UCD were each blaming each other, leaving Ms Carter falling between two stools.

Mr O'Higgins said the SEC appeared to be saying that if the totting up error had appeared on the front cover of the exam script, something could have been done outside the normal appeals process, but that this was not possible because the error was inside the paper. 

This was profoundly unfair he said, and it was unreasonable that an obvious computational error in the script was incapable of immediate rectification.

The case is continuing.