A graduate of the University of Oxford has been given permission to sue them because he failed to get the top grade in his studies.
Lawyer Faiz Siddiqui, now 38, alleges that the academics who taught him modern history did such a bad job that they stifled his potential.
He is demanding a £1million payment, claiming that the low standard of education meant he was rendered incapable of getting a First Class degree – Oxford’s highest.
Faiz Siddiqui, a modern history graduate from Brasenose College, says he would have enjoyed a career as an inter… https://t.co/SaZwE6Qws4
— Thus Spake (@thus_spake) January 23, 2017
Instead he got a 2.i (Upper Second). Siddiqui, who graduated in 2000, claims the lesser achievement means that his dream of being a criminal barrister was crushed.
Instead he had to settle for a still-lucrative career as a tax law solicitor.
He took his case to the High Court in London, where a judge had to decide whether it was too ridiculous a case to be given a full trial.
In a ruling reported this weekend by the Sunday Times, Mr Justice Kerr decided that he must have his day in court after hearing that how parts of his course were “appallingly badly taught”.
In extensive court documents posted online, he weighed up the arguments between Oxford and Siddiqui’s lawyer. Although he observed that Siddiqui “did not have much to go on, beyond his sense of grievance”, Kerr still decided the case should be heard.
The case is being treated as an important test on the extent to which students can blame universities for bad teaching.
According to the Sunday Times, around 500 students a year are granted compensation by a state regulator after claiming their teaching was sub-standard.
However, were a case to be won in court it could open the way for a large number of cases, and cost far more than the current annual bill.
It would also be a blow to Oxford’s reputation, given that the university is frequently named among the top few institutions in the entire world.