Law grad loses breach of contract case alleging Glasgow Caledonian Uni tuition not up to scratch

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By Alex Aldridge on

Former LLB student — who refused to pay fees after claiming law lecturer was a “joker” — sees overly ambitious case thrown out


A disgruntled law graduate — who refused to cough up his fees because he was unhappy with the teaching he received — has lost a claim against Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

Lihe Liu, who did GCU’s two-year fast-track LLB back in 2009, maintained that the experience was “nothing close to the contents and standards of a degree course”, leaving GCU in breach of contract.

The legal hopeful — whose current employment status is unknown — was particularly unhappy with the behaviour of one lecturer, Tom McDonnell, who he said split his time between cracking jokes and taking the piss out of Liu himself. It was also alleged in court that the lecturer had deliberately marked Liu down in an exam.

Liu’s claim was unsuccessful at first instance, but he appealed to Scotland’s Court of Session. Unhappily for the GCU alumnus, the appeal judges were “not persuaded” that the previous court had erred in its conclusions, and the McConnell and the law school were vindicated.

Refusing the appeal, Lady Paton offered little hope to other students considering suing their universities, as she hinted that they’d have to have really strong cases to be successful:

Allegations about the deliberate marking down of a student, or attempts to prevent (or delays occurring in) that student obtaining his entrance certificate, are very serious matters. These are matters which, in the academic world, would have grave repercussions. Accordingly, careful and full specification would be required in order that fair notice could be given to the university in preparation for the proof. There is no such specification.

To illustrate her point, Paton noted that unhappiness at a lecturer who allegedly spent half his time cracking gags was “insufficient” to found a claim of breach of contract in the delivery of a whole university course.

Read the judgment in full below:

Glasgow Caledonian University v LIHE LIU by Legal Cheek