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PhD law student SUES Queen’s University Belfast for ‘catalogue of failings’ including disability discrimination

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Exclusive: Law school instructs international law firm, claimant represents himself

A law graduate studying for his PhD in Northern Ireland has taken Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to court alleging, among other things, disability discrimination, Legal Cheek can reveal.

Claimant Christopher Mallon has a masters degree from the university and is researching credit rating agencies in the EU. He was, until April, a teaching associate at the law school.

Mallon — who has an anxiety disorder, arthritis and Crohn’s disease — claims that a “catalogue of failings” at the law school led to his alleged constructive dismissal from his teaching post.

Allegations include that the university denied him the opportunity to move to part-time study to look after his sick mother without losing his course funding. He also alleges disability discrimination and failure to pay minimum wage. He claims this treatment caused “significant mental and physical damage”.

Legal Cheek has been in touch with University of Manchester graduate Mallon; he has declined to comment because the legal proceedings are ongoing.

This case has an Uber-esque element to it, given its consideration of whether Mallon is a worker, an employee or an independent contractor. Mallon is claiming employee status, which would confer on him all the rights associated with this status.

The aspiring legal academic’s case had its first spell in the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal, Belfast, yesterday. A full hearing is expected to take place early next year.

QUB has declined to issue a comment because proceedings are ongoing. Legal representation-wise, City outfit Pinsent Masons has told Legal Cheek:

We can confirm that Pinsent Masons is advising Queen’s University Belfast in relation to the case CMD Mallon v Queen’s University Belfast.

Mallon is representing himself, though he is keen to find a lawyer who might be able to help him out.

UPDATE: 8:18pm — Tuesday 3 October

Mallon has told Legal Cheek that he has now secured legal assistance.

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