Medical student faces £90k legal bill after trying to sue Newcastle University for failing his degree

A medical student who failed his final year exams TWICE could be hit with enormous legal bill after losing court battle

A student who took Newcastle Uni to court after he failed his degree by one mark has lost the case – and now he’ll have to foot a £90k legal bill.


In the embarrassing debacle, aspiring doctor Paul Crawford, 32, claimed that Newcastle University staff wrongly marked his exam papers.

And as if that wasn’t enough, it now looks like he’ll have to shell out a massive £90,000 to take care of the legal bill after the case was thrown out by the High Court.

Crawford’s legal team claimed that university staff had failed to adequately take an average of his marks and that had they done so correctly, he would have passed his final year of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree.

Crawford failed his final year in 2010 and was forced to resit the year – but in October 2011 he achieved a borderline fail B grade in one module and was told that he had, once again, failed the year.

Victory: Newcastle Uni won the case

The keen sportsman, originally from Kilburn, London, was told that he would be unable to register with the General Medical Council due to him having not achieved high enough grades.

In a statement, Crawford’s barrister Antony Speaight QC, said:

“It is an unfortunate outcome for a young man who had spent six years training to be a doctor and at one time or another passed every element in the medical examinations.”

Newcastle medical school

A Newcastle University spokesman declined to comment until the conclusion of a hearing to determine costs which is due to take place later this month.

But what do you think? Is a fail a fail?

Psychology student Ellie Isaacs told The Tab:

“The fact that whole degrees, and as a result careers, are based on the difference between just one or two marks is ridiculous to me. Yes, students’ intelligence and understanding of the material taught to them needs to be systematically measured, but we also have to account for the individual differences between students and the fact that not everyone performs to their full ability in exam situations. Even though the student failed twice in this case, I fail to see how he can be judged unworthy to be a doctor compared to someone who scored a single mark higher than him.

“Also, £90,000 in legal fees is ludicrously high, especially taking into account that his future career in medicine has now been taken away from him.”