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Anglia Ruskin business grad who studied GDL and LPC to pursue ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree claim receives £61,000 payout

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Pok Wong sued uni for false advertising and disputed ‘high-quality’ teaching

Pok Wong

An Anglia Ruskin University business grad who went on to study law in a bid to fight what she describes were the “injustices” she experienced during her undergraduate degree has received a £61,000 out-of-court settlement.

As reported by Legal Cheek, Pok Wong hit national headlines last year after launching legal action against her former uni. Despite graduating with a first in international business, Wong claimed Anglia Ruskin “exaggerated the prospects of a career” and “fraudulently misrepresented” its business course when she enrolled in 2011.

Moreover, Wong, who also goes by Fiona, disputed Anglia Ruskin’s claim to offer “high-quality” teaching and alleged that contact time was cut midway through her “Mickey Mouse” degree.

At the time, we revealed that she studied both the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP University in preparation for the case. She also studied a paralegal course online in between.

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

It has emerged that Wong, who now works as a paralegal in Hong Kong, recently secured an out-of-court settlement worth £61,000. Commenting on her legal win, Wong told The Telegraph (£):

“The payout means this is a victory for me, despite the university strenuously fighting my case and denying any responsibility. In light of this settlement I think universities should be careful about what they say in prospectuses. I think they often make promises which they know will never materialise or are simply not true.”

Last year, Central London County Court ruled in Anglia Ruskin’s favour and ordered Wong to pay £13,700 of the uni’s legal costs. Despite this, the uni’s insurers then reportedly reached out to Wong and offered to settle her claim for £15,000 and a further £46,000 to cover her legal costs. She had been seeking £60,000 in damages plus her legal fees.

A spokesman for Anglia Ruskin said:

“Ms Wong’s longstanding litigation… has been settled at the instruction of our insurers to draw a line under these matters and to prevent a further escalation of their legal costs. The claims were wholly without merit and resulted in cost orders made against Ms Wong by the Central London County Court on two occasions.”

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43 Comments

Anonymous

“The payout means this is a victory for me.”

So the form of justice she was looking for was money. Quelle surprise…

(16)(34)

Anonymous

No other type of justice available in a civil claim for damages.

(101)(1)

Anonymous

Yes. It is an equaitable remedy only generally available in relation to land. Time travel to re-run the course better is generally regarded as beyond the ability of Defendants in civil actions, hence specific performance is not available as a remedy.

(27)(1)

Anonymous

Tip of the iceberg …

A bit like Jimmy Saville though in that we all knew this at the time

(14)(0)

Anonymous

savile symphasier alert

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Accuracy sympathiser actually, arsehole

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Jim fixed it for him….

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I wonder what the insurers seem to know then that the court doesn’t, otherwise seems rather odd

(42)(0)

Kaiser Wilhelm I

I suppose the insurers were aware of the risk of the court order being appealed and being subject to pay the cost of the appellant. This would’ve been dangerous for them if they are in the business of insuring other institutions who also makes bogus claims about job prospects and the like.

(19)(1)

Fiona

Yes. I disclosed evidence to the defendant legal team which the judge yet had seen and was contemplating an appeal at the time being.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

About £15k in damages seems to be almost nothing for a damaged career.

(8)(6)

Anonymous

What career?

(20)(1)

Anonymous

Exactly.

(7)(3)

Anonymous

Maybe she should have done a little more research into the University beforehand

(16)(7)

Anonymous

Could a claim be brought against BPP for fraudulent misrepresentation? I.e. guaranteeing that LPC students will find employment within six months of graduating? Employment could mean cleaning toilets at McDonalds and I don’t believe one needs an LPC qualification for that.

(41)(0)

JDP

With a few minor modifications, that sign could get her a TC with us

(6)(2)

Ciaran Goggins

Wong verdict

(0)(13)

Anonymous

Not a verdict.

(9)(0)

Mammy Briscoe

DASS RAYSISS!!!!!!!!

(2)(6)

Anonymous

I’d even say top 30 is generous. Some very silly degrees being offered at supposedly half-decent places these days

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What is an Anglia Ruskin?

(17)(0)

Viva Forever

Something doesn’t quite add up with the insurer’s decision to settle this case (based on the facts above anyway).

Why agree to settle with her if they got a judgment in their favour when she brought the matter to the County Court? It couldn’t be for PR reasons because the judgment would go some way to proving her case was meritless. There must be more to this story than the insurer is letting on or it’s just a rather poor decision on their part to settle.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

I bet she was a nightmare at uni. I’ve met quite a few people who studied law simply to exact revenge upon some person or body who they blamed for some misfortune they had suffered and my god, were they ever a pain in the neck.

(17)(4)

Anonymous

£61k says it was worth it mind you

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It might have been that, merits aside, she had a strong procedural/sunstantive appeal ground which went to the manner in which the Circuit Judge gave his/her decision.

Even if, eventually, the Uni would go on to win again at a re-trial, it might still be ordered to pay the appeal costs in any event and further lose the costs order.

As I understand it, she also had a CRA 2015 price reduction claim which may have carried costs consequences even if she had only succeeded in getting a refund of, say, £1000 (perhaps reflecting cut teaching time or something).

Taking into account the appeal costs plus costs of a second trial, it might be that commercially they decided to settle. Even if this is what happened, it is still a very very high settlement. She should have been lucky to get a drop hands offer/waiver of the costs.

Equally, the insurers may be mindful that even sucess after protracted appeal and retrial proceedings may have only led to a further costs order against Ms Wong who would doubtless have no means of satisfying the judgment.

Insurers are usually loathe to pay out larger sums, especially after succeeding, so there must have been compelling commercial reasons.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

It was basically to get her to shut up and go away.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Amazed the deal wasn’t confidential.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Bloody hell the cocksuckers have deleted a pile of comments.

(15)(2)

Gary

I happen to know a great deal bout this case and so in the hope that it helps I can 100% confirm the following:

Pok did NOT pursue this case for money or a payout but on a point of principle given her shocking experience at ARU. She did most of the legal research and investigation herself and relied on friends and family to support her with legal costs in a case we always felt the UK courts would not let her win;

Clearly the public at large don’t know Pok as a friend like I do and she is a highly moral and principled person and she just would not tolerate firstly the terrible education experience she had and then being totally fobbed off by the pathetic internal ‘governance’ procedures which considered her complaint when she made it. She did it without any thought for money (either what she might get paid or what it would cost her) or her own personal career – and yes she does actually have a career. Her motivation was to try create a precedent which would help stop Universities seeing student (and in particular foreign students) as just a cash cow and to inspire or other students who suffered a similar experience;

At no point did she ever say or think that the world owed her a living and that she should be guaranteed a job on completion of her studies – her point was that ARU totally over stated its ability to help students find a job;

Her case was not a general complaint. It was very specific and included for example details of lecturers not showing up; lectures being cancelled late on; and an exam paper being marked and re-marked 3 or 4 times when Pok queried the result only for it to be discovered (eventually) the marker as using the wrong marking scheme from a different course; and

After Pok’s claim first became public she was inundated by past and present students from ARU who had similar treatment, MORE IMPORTANTLY a number of current and past academics at ARU were prepared to support her case and testify in support of her claim and I personally think this sort of thing is why ARU and the Insurers paid out.

(39)(4)

Thanks

Thanks for the insight. Hopefully your comment will survive the censors, once the Legal Cheek team wake up (i.e. noting the time of day you and I are posting)…

(11)(0)

Anonymous

“and an exam paper being marked and re-marked 3 or 4 times when Pok queried the result only for it to be discovered (eventually) the marker as using the wrong marking scheme from a different course”

This is legitimately f***ing awful. Fair play.

(19)(0)

Anonymous

Brunel University’s law department you’re next

(6)(1)

Anonymous

The thing with Brunel is that their successful alumni (I think I can count myself as one of them as US law firm trainee) are scarce and do most of their hard work themselves, with the law department not giving a tosh about them until the point when they bag a training contract and suddenly are useful tools to lure more students.

This is not a bad university, it is still quite respectable and there are a few lecturers (especially those teaching level 3 subjects) who are brilliant, but the university suffers from mismanagement and lack of investment in students.

If anyone at Brunel reads it – c’mon, mates. Some of your students come here with AAA or even better and they deserve more than what you are offering.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Universities are scams these days. Always promise students that they will have bright futures for getting a degree but there are so many unemployments or ended up doing something different which does not pay off the fees. So there is a real issue here.

There should be a legal requirement for universities to guarantee good jobs for graduates.

(5)(5)

Andon

@Anonymous: Jun 4 2019 6:57am:

You probably had a fair amount of support for your comments right up until “There should be a legal requirement for universities to guarantee good jobs for graduates”

What immature, entitled nonsense.

(7)(0)

Gary

Thanks – you are very welcome. I don’t blame anyone for making general comments about Pok should have done more research or she could work in McDonalds etc. as they don’t know the detail of just how bad her experience I could write about it at length but it included a student advisor (who was actually supposed to help and support students) pressurize her to give up her case against ARU and Pok was actually physically restrained in a room on the day of her graduation by the security staff they employed. This university is now reaping everything it sowed. I think when you have past and present employees of ARU prepared to testify in court on your behalf there is a problem. And who pays out 61,000 GBP for a case ‘wholly without merit’ – who does ARU think they are fooling?

(18)(0)

Anonymous

Apologies, maybe I jumped the gun. There should be a class action suit from all the graduates against the universities so that it will become a legal requirement for universities to guarantee good jobs for graduates.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

That, as Jeremy Bentham might have said, is nonsense on stilts.

Would you also like them to buy you an ice cream and rub your lickle tummy afterwards as well?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Why should it be a legal requirement for any university to guarantee graduates a good job? Jobs are created on the back of the economy and its reasonably fair to suggest that our economy isn’t generating the number of graduate level jobs required to satisfy the number of graduates coming out of university. That’s not any universities fault. Tony Blair suggested twenty-odd years ago that 50% of school leavers should go to university, and that’s fair enough if the economic and industrial policies in place, generate that level of graduate employment opportunity. If they don’t, then inevitably there is going to be disappointment.

(1)(0)

City trainee

Universities can’t possibly ‘guarantee’ jobs for students. What we really need is realistically about half the universities we currently have and certainly half the law graduates we currently have. If universities were a bit more realistic and discerning about who they offered courses to, and instead focused on a more limited range of well-resourced courses, there wouldn’t be such a problem with graduate oversupply and shit courses.

The problem was always turning education into a paid-for commodity, not the fact that universities don’t ‘guarantee’ jobs for their graduates, FFS.

(3)(0)

Comments are closed.

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