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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Oxford graduate loses £1m lawsuit over failed first-class degree

Faiz Siddiqui had claimed that “negligently inadequate teaching” had led to him obtaining a 2:1

Oxford University's Radcliffe Camera, one of the city's famous 'dreaming spires'. Noor Nanji / The National
Oxford University's Radcliffe Camera, one of the city's famous 'dreaming spires'. Noor Nanji / The National

Britain’s High Court has dismissed a claim by an Oxford graduate that substandard teaching resulted in him missing out on a first-class honours degree.

Faiz Siddiqui, who graduated from the leading UK university in 2000, claimed that “negligently inadequate teaching” during the final year of his History degree had led to him obtaining a 2:1, which had a “marked deleterious effect” on his career.

Mr Siddiqui said the result meant he could not attend a top US law college, which cost him his dream of becoming an international commercial lawyer. He was seeking £1million (Dh5m) in damages.

Oxford University denied the teaching had been “inadequate”, although admitted that there had been fewer teaching staff available in the first term of Mr Siddiqui’s final year.

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Mr Justice Foskett rejected the claim and took the opportunity to warn today’s students in the UK against filing similar lawsuits in the hope of financial compensation.

The judge said that litigation for students, who are currently paying the highest levels of tuition fees ever recorded, was “costly, time and emotion-consuming and runs the significant risk of failure”.

"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,” Mr Justice Foskett said.

He added: "That said, in the present climate, some 17 years on from the material events in this case, when students are incurring substantial debts to pursue their university education, the quality of the education delivered will undoubtedly come under even greater scrutiny than it did in the past.

"There may be some rare cases where some claim for compensation for the inadequacy of the tuition provided may succeed, but it is hardly the ideal way of achieving redress.

Mr Siddiqui, 39, trained at top law firm Clifford Chance but was not kept on at the end of his training. He later worked at three other law firms and as a tax advisor, although has been unemployed since 2011.