Do you ever cast your mind back to your uni days? Wonder how many hours you lost to that pesky dissertation? But would you consider claiming back your losses if you didn’t think your tuition was up to scratch?
Most of us go through university facing the usual challenges – we study, learn how to live with people who aren’t our family, have fun, feel awkward, write essays and dissertations in the dead of night, sit our exams and finally leave with our shiny new degree classification in tow.
For some, the experience can have a few hiccups along the way – it could be personal, financial constraints, a change of heart about their degree choice or maybe even problems with the standard of teaching.
And some of those students may decide to take further action…
They may decide to notify their university, and look to consult the university’s academic appeals and complaints procedure to find out how the university deals with any extenuating circumstances.
Or they might decide to consult Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) advice published in 2015 which informs providers about their consumer law obligations to undergraduate students.
But, rarely is it the case that a graduate goes to court in a grade dispute, which is why we will be watching with interest an upcoming court case between Oxford University and one its students who graduated in 2000.
Following an initial hearing in November last year, the claim has been allowed to proceed.
There were three issues for the judge to consider at this initial hearing: alleged inadequate teaching by the university, alleged mishandling by the university of Mr Siddiqui’s medical information and the issue of limitation (meaning whether or not the claim falls outside of the legal time limit of when a claim can be brought).
Mr Siddiqui submitted that the claim was not time-barred because he did not possess the requisite knowledge to bring the claim until October 2013.
The university’s application to strike out Mr Siddiqui’s claim was refused by the judge on the grounds that he believed there is a case, both in relation to the teaching quality and medical information, for the university to answer.
The judge also stated that Mr Siddiqui had a real prospect of succeeding in persuading the court that the claim was not out of time, and ordered that the claim proceed to trial.
Well, whether the former student is successful with his upcoming claim or not, the court’s view on this will certainly be interesting.
So, should expect more from university education? Or do you think you get what you pay for? Were you aware of the complaints procedures at your university?