Judgment reserved: Ex-Clifford Chance trainee suing Oxford Uni faces wait over £1 million ‘inadequate’ teaching claim

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By Thomas Connelly on

High Court success could pave the way for further claims

Image credit: Instagram (@_piezaini_)

An Oxford graduate who claims that “inadequate” teaching cost him a lucrative career as a high-flying lawyer faces a wait to find out if he has been successful in his High Court challenge against his former university.

Faiz Siddiqui, who studied modern history at the University of Oxford’s Brasenose College, argues that his failure to obtain a first class result in his undergraduate degree stopped him landing a job as a high-earning tax barrister or solicitor at a top US firm.

Legal Cheek can now confirm that judgment in Siddiqui’s case has been reserved, with a spokesperson for the Judicial Office telling us that a decision is “not expected before Christmas”.

If successful, Siddiqui’s damages — for which he is seeking an eye-watering £1 million — will be assessed at a future hearing. Oxford denies any wrongdoing and claims the case has been brought “massively” outside the legal time limit.

One factor that is set to be crucial is the impressive start that the 39-year-old’s legal career got off to. As news broke of Siddiqui’s unusual challenge earlier this year, Legal Cheek confirmed that the disgruntled Oxford grad had secured a highly sought after training contract at global giant Clifford Chance.

Post-magic circle, Legal Cheek understands that Siddiqui worked in the tax departments of a number of law firms and completed his masters in taxation at London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

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Siddiqui, who graduated in June 2000, alleges that a number of staff in Oxford’s Asian history department were absent and did not provide adequate teaching cover. He also claims that a tutor failed to file medical information about him to examiners, and that his clinical depression and insomnia have been significantly exacerbated by his “inexplicable failure” at this earlier stage of his life.

Representing Siddiqui, 4 New Square’s Roger Mallalieu told the court that “whilst a 2:1 degree from Oxford might rightly seem like a tremendous achievement to most, it fell significantly short of Mr Siddiqui’s expectations and was, to him, a huge disappointment.” He continued:

“He [Siddiqui] and others became the victims of poor teaching provision by the university in what was anticipated to be his favoured special subject, and he, uniquely among his peers, was further disadvantaged by his personal tutor not conveying his knowledge of his illnesses to those responsible for making reasonable adjustments and for moderating his examinations.”

If successful, the case could pave the way for similar legal claims — jobless law grads stand by.

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