Serial victim

October 14, 2005

Your article "Serial litigant hit £100K mark", (News, July 29) purported to cover the outcome of tribunal claims of discrimination and victimisation against Nottingham University and Ian Gow by Suresh Deman.

Instead, it appeared both from what we regard as the misleading title and the tone of the report to be a castigation of Mr Deman. The article does not say that the costs of the litigation far exceeded the total amount of compensation.

Apart from his two successful claims against Nottingham and Professor Gow, Mr Deman has been successful in five claims (including those against the University of Greenwich, Ross Geddes and Russell Brocket, director of personnel, in 2002 and a case in 1995 against the University of Pittsburgh and its economics head, Kevin Sontheimer) and has settled 25 claims with other institutions. We believe these cases demonstrate that Mr Deman is a serial victim, not a serial litigant.

The tribunal's decision amounted in our view to a damning indictment of Nottingham's recruitment practices, and it was also critical of the evidence of a number of its senior academics including Mike Wright and Alistair Bruce. Conversely, the tribunal found that there was "nothing vexatious" about Mr Deman's claims to have been a victim of racial discrimination. We do not accept that the tribunal's decision should be viewed "only as a technicality" as Nottingham would have it. Nor do we believe that, as the university claimed, its procedures had been shown to be sound and effective. No objective person reading the findings of the tribunal could, in our view, have come to this conclusion.

C. Kumar, A. J. Graham, S. Mahadevan and Claudius D'Silva
Council for Ethnic Minority

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