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Ex-Clifford Chance trainee LOSES bid to sue Oxford University over ‘inadequate’ teaching

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Faiz Siddiqui was seeking £1 million for lost legal dream

An Oxford University graduate who claimed “inadequate” teaching cost him a lucrative career as a high-flying lawyer has had his case dismissed by the High Court.

Faiz Siddiqui, who studied modern history at the prestigious university’s Brasenose College, had argued that his failure to bag a first class degree prevented him pursuing a career as a solicitor at a US law firm or as a high-earning tax barrister. The 39-year-old, who was eventually awarded a 2:1, also claimed he was suffering from “insomnia, depression and anxiety”.

In a judgment handed down yesterday afternoon Mr Justice Foskett said he was not convinced the teaching was “negligently inadequate”. He continued:

“Now that it has been shown that the litigation has not had this effect, it is to be hoped that he [Siddiqui] can re-focus, perhaps lower his expectations at least for the time being and start using his undoubted intelligence to create a worthwhile future for himself.”

Despite claiming loss of earnings of at least £1 million against his former uni, Siddiqui’s legal career got off to a flying start — with the Oxford grad doing his training contract at elite magic circle player Clifford Chance.

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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.

In his conclusion, Foskett said that he recognised that his decision “will come as a great disappointment to the claimant given the investment of time and effort he has made to pursue it.” He also heaped praise on both parties’ legal teams, adding:

“This case has been exceptionally well argued, both on paper and orally, by Mr Mallalieu [4 New Square] and Mr Milford [11KBW] and I am extremely grateful to them for their assistance.”

Read the judgment in full below:

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33 Comments

Anonymous

lets go cry together. I would have won the lotto, if the store staff was active and picked out the best tickets. Instead he picked random ones. 🙁

(32)(3)

Washed, worn, shat-in and washed again

Agreed. Another lazy bugger who wanted something for nothing.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Pity, I did law at Oxford, teaching was uniformly shite. Though I became a Barrister despite it. Helped with making connections though.

(0)(0)

Elz

SURely the right decision

(7)(1)

Anonymous

the fact is that the teaching WAS inadequate. the university ran a course with a tutor that was not qualified in the subject area because the normal tutor was on sabbatical. They should have just scrapped the course for that year instead of limping on with no tutor and pointless tutorials.

the problem is – the losses that he is claiming flowed from this are totally extravagant, lost career, etc etc……….

I dont understand why his legal team did not advise him to focus on vindicating the legitimate and objective principle involved (the unqualified tutor, the inadequate tutorials, the previous student (now a barrister) who successfully argued defective teaching that was accepted by the university), and seek a refund of that part of the years course fee……. (i.e. 1/4 of £3,000 as tuition fees were back then…..) this would have been more reasonable and would have laid down a useful and much needed precedent for universities to pay attention to….

(19)(15)

Anonymous

Where’s the evidence that the tutor wasn’t qualified in the subject area?

(7)(2)

Anonymous

Unlike me, I’m very qualified but I still earn a pitiful academic salary

(5)(0)

An unelected senile horse

Me too! And I’m in my 70s and a Lady!

(2)(0)

Emily Howard

I’m a lady! A real lady, who likes doing ladies’ things!

(3)(0)

Anonymous

As we say in Ireland a Gobshite

(1)(0)

Anonymous

You must be a delight to sit next to at dinner.

(2)(7)

Anonymous

Agree. He did bag a top training contract with a 2.1 from Oxford, but according to the report is now unemployed. There is more to developing a practise than your degree class. A first may well make it easier to get a pupillage in a top set or US firm (but no its no sure thing as many of the other applicants will also have firsts). But once you are through the door, clients do not care or ask what your degree was. Since he is unemployed with a 2.1 and a magic circle training contract completed, it seems likely he would have been in the same position now even if he had got a first.

(44)(1)

Anonymous

Completely agree.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

He wouldn’t have paid tuition fees as he started university the year before the fees system kicked in btw. I actually know him from years gone by (school and mutual friends afterwards) and he is very arrrogant and has a deluded sense of self- entitlement. The result was correct.

(20)(2)

Anonymous

Even in the days when university tuition fees did not exist – Oxford and Cambridge were the only two universities that reserved the right to charge £3,000 per year and always have done. Then other normal universities followed suit and then within 18 years the cost jumped up to 10K per year….. so yes, even back in his old days, he would have paid tuition fees…….

(3)(15)

Anonymous

Um, what? No they didn’t.

(16)(3)

An unelected senile horse

Bollovks, I went to Cambridge and I earn a pitiful salary

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Unfortunately, this is not a personality test or a likeability test………he does not really sound like a barrel of laughs but thats not the issue or question we are trying to answer here………..OU should have provided an acceptable standard of teaching and it did not….. its a shame he pitched his case and losses so ludicrously high….because there is a valuable principle in all of this that UK universities should take quality teaching and guidance for students seriously…..anything less is negligent and a breach of contract of a module worth a proportion of 10k in fees to us………….

some unis have a cavalier attitude towards teaching…. and there is a power imbalance between an institution and an individual student…..there is nothing wrong with raising teaching standards and making universities more accountable…. this was a missed opportunity to address or draw attention to these issues….

(9)(10)

Rohmer18

As a matter of fact, the judge dealt with that point in the judgment. He noted that, although it was largely irrelevant to the case, there was no reason to suppose that the teaching had been negligent, merely that:
(a) it wasn’t quite as good as usual, but “usual” was really very good indeed, and it hardly seemed fair to penalise a university for being usually exceptional; and
(b) the complaint about the teaching in that year had come from a high-maintenance student who basically wanted the course to be about the things she wanted to talk about.

He also noted an unsurprising correlation between students who got good marks on the paper and students who actually did the reading for it.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Difficult to claim a refund given that the litigant did graduate with a 2.1 degree (and is it worth going to the High Court for £3k nearly 20 years later?)

(7)(2)

Anonymous

The whole point of the Oxbridge system is that it’s primarily an autodidactic course. You do 90% of the work yourself and the tutor just guides or corrects you. If the tutor was lacking, there are plenty of other resources this guy could’ve used like lectures or further texts or even other students. If students in the colleges without Braseonse’s resources can get firsts, there’s no excuse.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What an absolute… Client.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Wonder how he is going to pay his costs now…

£400,000 for a claim of this sort?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

That’s a problem for him (unless his sols were on the world’s most optimistic CFA) and a problem for Oxford, who will probably have pretty significant chunk of unrecoverable costs to think about.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I feel sorry for this man, he clearly has some mental health issues and these should be addressed. The issue for me is how his legal team allowed this to get so far. How will he pay for the legal costs etc. this is a sad story but the outcome is certainly correct.

(17)(1)

Anonymous

Probably his health issues were exacerbated by the high-pressure environment. I sympathise with him. I have good academics but my time at university was so bad in other ways that I have struggled ever since and that has arguably left me unable to fulfil my potential. After a while no one takes you seriously and the chances run out.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Sid dick

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I.Can’t. Trust. No-F**king-bodyyyyyyy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I did a long summary of the judgment in the strike out application in Dec 2016 which proved popular on lc and got copied and pasted into later article threads.

I cannot ‘re paste it now because i am using my phone.

I say in that that Oxford will need a clever High Court judge to stop the floodgates opening.

It is clever to say that the teaching was not negligently inadequate (as per lc report), even though the strike out judge thought it was worth a run.

(1)(0)

No Sympathy

Nothing to do with the tuition. If he had half a brain he could have got a first by working it out himself. Tuition merely points you in a direction. Doesn’t even matter if its the wrong direction ffs. Lazy and Stupid imho

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Comment from the Times website below. I don’t think I can do better!

“I say, Jeeves, have you read about this cove who’s been suing my old alma mater?”

“I have perused the story, sir.”

“I’m wondering if there might be a bit of moolah around for old Bertie to hoover up.”

“I would be very slow to counsel you to embark on the hazardous seas of litigation, sir.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve a little experience of dealing with the beak at Bow Street, as you may recall. Didn’t even engage a lawyer. The Woosters, you know, have the gift of the gab when it comes to a bit of the old legal parleying.”

“Even so, I am not sure that Oxford would aquiesce in your writ. And there’s always the possibility that your academic record might, how shall one put it …”

“Spit it out, Jeeves.”

“Erm, one might say res ipsa loquitor.”

“Perhaps you might. But my idea is to sue them for loss of income for 2 years.”

“Sir?”

“Well, it’s quite simple. In breach of the legal duty they owed to the Woosters, they failed to spot my lack of scholarly sparkle and allowed me to stay on beyond my first year when, as you know I eventually left without a degree. Now, if they had not been so negligent, they would have pitched me out after a term or two, punctured my youthful dreams, and I would have had to go out and get one those, you know, jobs, hence my claim for lost earnings.”

“Most ingenious, sir. Might I suggest you take the precaution of also betting against your winning the case, as a form of insurance?”

“Of course I would Jeeves. You don’t think I learned nothing at Oxford? I think an early G & T might be in order.”

(8)(0)

MistletoeKisses

University education is a commodity rather than whatever else anyone claims.. simply by way of the fact that it is bought.

Although reliance interest isn’t a concept in English law if the service is not up to the standard expected, the loss should certainly be compensated.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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