Oxford graduate’s £1 mil lawsuit against university for ‘appallingly bad’ teaching allowed to continue


A UK high court judge has allowed an Oxford graduate’s case to sue the university for £1 million to proceed.

Faiz Siddiqui, 38, who had graduated from Brasenose College with an upper second degree in modern history back in 2000, claimed “appallingly bad” and “boring” teaching in his final year had cost him a first-class degree and negatively affected his career prospects.

According to Siddiqui, several members of teaching staff were away on sabbatical leave during his studies, which affected his grades in the Indian imperial history course and brought down his overall grade.

Siddiqui, who trained as a solicitor after graduation, alleged that the university was aware of the staff shortage in advance, but failed to remedy the situation.

His barrister, Roger Mallalieu, argued that the standard of teaching for that year was “objectively unacceptable”, as 13 of the 15 students who received the same teaching and sat the same exam as Siddiqui received their “lowest or joint lowest mark” in the subject.

“This is a large percentage who got their lowest mark in the specialist subject papers. There is a statistical anomaly that matches our case that there was a specific problem with the teaching in this year having a knock-on effect on the performance of students,” Mallalieu told the court, as reported by the Guardian.

He added that his client’s lower grade “denied him the chance of becoming a high-flying commercial barrister” and attributed it as the cause behind the anxiety, depression, and insomnia that his client currently suffers.

Oxford University objected to Siddiqui’s allegations and asked for the case to be struck out, saying it had no merit and was brought up past the legal time limit, as he had graduated 16 years ago.

The university added that it had granted him special allowance in some of his final papers when he suffered from hay fever, but admitted that it had experienced “difficulties” in conducting the module in the year Siddiqui graduated, reported the Independent.

Based on this, Justice Kerr said part of Siddiqui’s case had a prospect of success and allowed it to advance.

Image via University of Oxford

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