It is rated at the best university in Britain in the World University Rankings, but Oxford University is facing a legal battle over claims it provided tuition so boring that a student got a 2:1 instead of the first he would have expected.
Modern history graduate Faiz Siddiqui is launching legal action, claiming that he could have become a leading international commercial lawyer, but that his career has been held back because he did not get a first class degree.
Mr Siddiqui went on to train as a solicitor after graduating in 2000. However, he says that his career has been thwarted because he did not gain a top degree while studying at the establishment’s Brasenose College. Now 38, Mr Siddiqui says that he received tuition which was “negligent,” particularly on a specialist course he took on Indian imperial history in his final year at the college.
Case to answer
Oxford University applied to the High Court to ask that the claim be struck out. They said that the claim was “hopelessly bad” and that it had not been brought in a timely fashion. However, Mr Justice Kerr has agreed with the former student that Oxford University does have a case to answer, and he has demanded that the trial should take place as soon as possible.
In legal documentation, the judge says that he is satisfied the claimant does have a real prospect of succeeding the court to “entertain his claim”. If the case does go ahead, and if Mr Siddiqui does prove successful, then it could be a landmark moment, which could pave the way for legal action from others.
While many universities, including Oxford, charge up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees, education expert Professor Alan Smithers, from Buckingham University said there had been a cavalier attitude to teaching standards at some establishments.