Student Brings Legal Claim For Compensation Against Her University !
Consumer and Human Rights law firm Leigh Day has informed Lancaster University they intend to bring a claim for lost tuition time on behalf of student Cathy Olphin; a case that the firm predicts could grow into one of the UK’s largest group action cases.
Ms Olphin’s claim arises out of the University’s alleged breach of her contractual rights, as a result of its failure to provide the lecturer contract time, to which she argues was contractually entitled and for which she is required to pay annual tuition fees of £9,250. Ms Olphin has set-up a ‘CrowdJustice’ page to fund the case. She and other students claim they have lost up to 14 days of teaching time when lecturers refused to work in a row over their pensions.
A letter before action has been served on Lancaster University and gives the Vice Chancellor three weeks to respond, before Ms Olphin and Leigh Day consider issuing legal proceedings.
Sarah Moore on behalf of Leigh Day, Commented: “This is an important first step in holding not only Lancaster University to account but also the other 64 universities across the country who failed to provide students with the tuition time for which they are now expected to pay more than ever before. In such a time of economic uncertainty it is vital that students have the security of knowing that no matter what the job market it doing, or the wider British economy, they will at least have had the full benefit of the education for which they are paying. Leigh Day believe that legal action is now the best way to ensure that student’s voices are heard on this issue”.
“This is not about undermining the lecturer’s right to strike, at Leigh Day we well understand the importance of standing up for all Human Rights, including Employment Rights, indeed we are hopeful that by enforcing their rights as consumers students can reinforce the fact that their lecturer’s time and skills are hugely valuable and that their current pension rights should be safeguarded”.
Ms Olphin and students at other universities across the UK felt compelled to take action, after requests for help and information were ignored by officials. Many had written directly to their Vice Chancellors and thousands signed petitions through Change.org.
To date, Ms Olphin’s Crowd Justice page has raised £490, but, with meetings organised across the UK to raise awareness, the campaign is on its way to reach the £10,000 target. On her page, Ms Olphin states: “This case is about more than just pocket money for students. It is setting a precedent that if student’s are to charged high fees for education, we deserve the same consumer rights given to anyone else”.