Ex-student sues Oxford, says his 20-year-old degree failed to give him success

Written by on February 9, 2018

A graduate who tried to sue Oxford University because he just missed out on earning a top degree has had his claim thrown out.

Faiz Siddiqui wanted £1m in damages from the university over what he described as “negligently inadequate teaching” that affected his degree grade 20 years ago.

Siddiqui, of Bayswater, west London, claimed that the 2:1 degree had a “marked deleterious effect” on his subsequent career.

However, High Court judge, Mr. Justice Foskett, ruled against the graduate, who was 39 at the time of the trial, after deciding that the “delivery” of part of a history course in 1999-2000 was not “negligently inadequate.”

Justice Foskett said: “Whilst it cannot be said that some aspect of a person’s education – inadequately delivered – can never be the cause of that person’s failure to achieve some otherwise attainable objective, the hurdles in establishing a claim for compensation based upon that inadequate delivery are great and often insurmountable.

“In this case, I have not been satisfied that the delivery of one particular feature of the claimant’s undergraduate degree course was inadequate or, in any event, that it had the consequences claimed for it.”

In his ruling, the judge explained how Siddiqui, who was 39 at the time of the trial and obtained a 2:1 after studying at Brasenose College, had worked for a number of law firms after leaving university.

Siddiqui said he would have gone on to become an international commercial lawyer if he had obtained a First Class.

The judge went on to warn other students who think university courses were not value for money about the dangers of taking legal action in the hope of getting compensation.

Justice Foskett said the quality of education will undoubtedly come under greater scrutiny as students run up debt.

But the judge says litigation is costly and “fraught with difficulty.”

He said: “There must be a better way of dealing with this kind of issue if it cannot be resolved by the individual concerned simply accepting what has happened and finding a positive way forward.”


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