Student gets aid to fight 'false claim' suit

October 15, 1999

An undergraduate has been granted legal aid to seek damages against Northumbria University in a claim for breach of contract and for the "negligent misstatements of facts" in the university's prospectus.

The County Court in Carlisle will hear allegations next week that Sue Finch failed the first year of a 1993 business administration degree as a result of poor-quality teaching, poor facilities, and poor administration.

Ms Finch will also claim that the university mishandled her complaints and could not justify claims made in material advertising the course.

In five years of litigation, the university has twice failed to have the case thrown out on the grounds that the claim is vexatious and without merit.

Ms Finch was part of the first student cohort to enrol on a new business administration BA in 1993.

Her solicitor, Keith Wood, said: "There was a long and detailed contract between the two parties, in a detailed course handbook and students' regulations, which the university is supposed to comply with. We will argue that a new course in a new campus had been rushed through and that policy had been made on the hoof."

A spokesman for the university said: "We believe the case is capricious and that the student simply feels hard done by and has been pursuing it relentlessly. She was one of the first group to attend the Carlisle campus in 1993 and she failed in the first year. Like all students who have failed, we have offered opportunities for redress and our complaints procedure is very clear."

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