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

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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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