University of Derby law student uses 1870s case law to show student loan T&Cs do NOT apply

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By Thomas Connelly on

David secures victory over Goliath thanks to contract law classic Parker v South Eastern Railway Co


A University of Derby law student has used a classic piece of contract case law to win an eleven-month legal battle against the Student Loans Company (SLC).

David Gale (pictured below), who is a mature law student, started his LLB in 2015. Just a few months into his legal studies, the SLC refused to cough up the full amount of his loan.

Withholding around 30% of its financial support, and putting his law degree in jeopardy, the SLC claimed it was acting in accordance with its terms and conditions.


Speaking exclusively to Legal Cheek, Gale explained:

[The] SLC repeatedly claimed that its position was backed up by its terms and conditions and that I had agreed to those terms and conditions because a link was provided to them on the Student Declaration Form.

Unwilling to back down, Gale — going into full lawyer mode — called upon the famous 1877 English contract law case of Parker v South Eastern Railway, to show that the SLC’s terms and conditions did not apply.

Explaining how a case involving a missing bag at Charing Cross railway station supported his argument, Gale said:

One of the first areas that my law degree covered was that of contract law where studies included the impact of case law on the validity of contracts. There is an old case, Parker v South Eastern Railway Co, which has been referenced in many modern cases, which states that any terms and conditions must be readily accessible at the point at which the contract is agreed.

Gale — a former police officer — then produced a YouTube video to show that the link provided on the Student Declaration Form did not take him to the SLC’s terms and conditions page.

Having been presented with the evidence and supporting case law, the independent assessor — who handles student loan disputes — eventually found in favour of Gale.

But despite the David v Goliath style victory, the law student — who also operates a charity called Kids for Cash UK — still hasn’t received the remainder of his loan.

After multiple missed deadlines, an SLC director recently assured me by email that the matter would be resolved by 2 August 2016. It wasn’t and now the SLC is trying to backtrack and come up with other reasons not to pay the outstanding amounts.

A spokesperson for SLC said:

Before an application can be submitted, every applicant is required to agree to the Terms and Conditions, which are presented as a downloadable PDF. Their application cannot be submitted without confirming that they have read and understood them before continuing with the application. The terms and conditions are also made publicly available online.