Edinburgh Napier LLB-er petitions Scottish parliament to end ‘extreme discrimination’ against English students

Rebecca Jeynes wants to train to be a lawyer in Scotland, but she can’t get any funding because she’s from North Yorkshire

Debating Chamber, Scottish Parliament Building

A law student from the North East of England has urged the Scottish parliament to change its funding system so she can train to be a solicitor in Scotland.

Rebecca Jeynes is originally from Redcar, North Yorkshire, but moved to Scotland to study the LLB at Edinburgh Napier University. She is due to graduate this summer.

Jeynes (pictured below) wants become a lawyer in Scotland, and to do so she must study for a one-year legal practice diploma. However, she says she’s being denied up to £10,000 in loans because she’s from England.

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) funding she is after is not available to English people, but is available to Scots and aspiring solicitors from other EU countries. This is because it’s not possible to offer differential fees or loans to students from different Member States, but it is possible to offer them to students within the same Member States. A Scottish institution can therefore charge English students more than Scottish students.

This, 21-year-old Jeynes says, “is not an encouraging position for the future of English students wanting to study in Scotland” and is in fact “extremely discriminatory against English students.”

She is now petitioning the Scottish parliament in the hopes of changing what she describes as an “obscene” situation. She told Legal Cheek:

I have set this [petition] up to support the future of English students who wish to pursue a career in Scottish law and to raise awareness on the issue.

At the time of writing, Jeynes has garnered nearly 80 signatures. SAAS has informed us its aware of the petition, but “can’t comment on the particulars of the petitioner’s case.”

Though it remains to be seen whether Holyrood bigwigs will sympathise with Jeynes’ student loan plight, when we got in touch with the Law Society of Scotland it had some advice for students in similar positions. Rob Marrs, head of education, said:

We would advise anyone considering a legal career in Scotland to consider the funding requirements prior to commencing their studies. We would encourage Scottish LLB providers who are offering places to English-domiciled students to provide information on the post-graduate funding situation prior to them accepting a place on the LLB and updating them on any changes to funding throughout the degree.

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31 Comments

Anonymous

If she wants to train and practice law in the wilderness, why not apply for a TC at Shoosmiths or DWF?

(13)(1)
Anonymous

Or Eversheds. They even have an office in a place called Ipswich. Apparently it’s in England.

(7)(0)
Adam Deen

Why’s everyone saying negative things about those Magic Circle firms?

(2)(0)
Anonymous

If those firms at Magic Circle Irwin Mitchell is a Citizens Advice Bureau.

(2)(3)
Citizens' Advice Bureau legal department

How dare you! That’s libel.

(3)(0)
Tim

Wow, I didn’t realise Irwin Mitchell achieve the same lofty standards as CAB. Good going.

It’s a good job CAB are not snobs, because unlike some of these firms, they have little to be modest about.

(0)(1)
Anonymous

She studied at Edinburgh Napier… so she has roughly 0% chance of ever paying back any loans. Sounds like a shrewd financial move by the Scottish government to me.

(14)(9)
Anonymous

A lot of law graduates working in the legal sector in Scotland would be hard pushed to pay back all their fees.

(1)(1)
Anonymous

Apparently the NQ salary at Maclay Murray and Spens is 29 peanuts an hour.

(5)(1)
Irwin Mitchell NQ

Can’t believe they get in an hour what I get in a year!

(3)(1)
High Street Solicitor

What? So they don’t even have to busk at the weekends?!

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Why not just set up a crowd funding page? Works for others being “discriminated” against.

(11)(1)
Anonymous

Seriously, Scotland just needs to go independent already. It’s clear they hate they English, so why stay in the Union?

(6)(5)
Harleyesque

I suppose this must have honestly never been a problem before because no English graduate would want to become a Scottish lawyer…?

(3)(1)
Anonymous

Diploma funding in Scotland changed last year and the course qualified for a postgraduate Tuition Fee loan.

Prior to this, the only funding available to students studying on the Diploma was a Living Cost loan (which most students would use to pay their fees). This would cover roughly half of the Diploma fee and the rest would have to be self funded, even for Scottish students (unless the Firm they were due to train with paid the rest for them).

Last year, the Tuition Fee loans for postgraduate courses in Scotland was extended to include the Diploma. This meant that if Scottish students applied for both the tution fee and living cost loan, combined they would cover the full cost of the Diploma.

However, from my understanding (Irish student on my course) only Scottish students are eligible for the Tuition Fee Loan part.

She could apply for a Career Development Loan to cover the cost of the course but she would need to start paying this back after the course finishes – compared to the above which she would only pay back if she started earning over a certain amount of money.

(2)(2)
Anonymous

Your Irish pal is talking nonsense. Non-UK EU nationals can get SAAS funding.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Scotland has always had a crazy system like this.

Take universities there.

There are no fees for EU-domiciled students as they have the right to the same condition as home (ie Scottish) students, but because EU law does not prevent discrimination on the grounds of being from a different part of the same member-state, the Scots can (and do) charge full fees for English, Welsh and Northern Irish students.

(5)(1)
Anonymous

Crazy but also… as fees don’t exist here perhaps necessary.

If English-domiciled didn’t pay fees in scotland: hmmm I could go and rack up £27k worth of debt at Southampton Solent getting my LLB or I could go to Edinburgh or Glasgow for free? No brainer. Two or three unis do dual-qualifying degrees. Equally a no brainer.

I’m no fan of the Nats. But they’ve said they wouldn’t charge English students if English students could access uni for free.

(1)(0)
Robert the Bruce

Bollochs 514. You dinnae ken wha you’re slobberin about.
Nae sassenachs in Scotland!

(2)(1)
Scot

It is not unfair because​ there is no reciprocity. If a Scottish student goes to an English university they have to pay £9000 per year. Why should an English student get free education in Scotland? I know that the same could be said of some EU states but in many of those University is Free.

Anyway it is based on residence so just come live here for six months prior to starting a undergraduate degree and you would qualify…

(5)(3)
Anonymous

Why is it fair? Because ultimately the UK (read England) is paying for your ‘free’ education.

(0)(3)
Anonymous

Its not hard to get it, you can live here a few years and become eligible for it so don’t whine like its apartheid. Also, the English love to complain about these issues and then end up voting for tories again and wondering why we don’t want to help them out for their mistakes!

(4)(2)
Scouser of Counsel

Nearly ended up studying for Scots Law, got out at the last minute when I realised how much longer it would take to qualify and how much extra it would cost.

All English/Welsh/N Irish prospectives should do thorough research before embarking on a career in Scots law. The journey is full of traps for the unwary, not to mention being a very “closed shop” for the unconnected.

(0)(1)
Wendy scanlon

One of these bright young things need to take the Scottish Government and the English Governemt to task on this one. It is the most appalling case of discrimination I have ever heard of and both, the First MInister and Priminister should be ashamed of themselves.

I am from Irish parentage and both my daughter and I have Irish citizenship. My daughter’s father is Scottish, she wanted to go to a Scottish University, however was deemed to be an English student and therefore was required to pay £9000 per year. Disgusted with this discrimination she opted to attend an English University and still is deemed to be an English student. My daughter will graduate next year with student debt of £35.000.00 her relatives in Scotland and those in Ireland that have studied at Scottish Universities as European student will leave university with zero debt. How can that be a fair system. My English child is and will be subsidising Scottish and European student for years to come.

Someone needs to legally challenge this as it is a completely unfair system.

(0)(0)

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