Law firm to pursue legal action against University
The firm Leigh Day is to fight for reimbursement
Students of the university have been in contact with the law firm Leigh Day regarding wasted tuition fees and, as such, legal action will be pushed forward against Southampton University.
We spoke to Boz Michalowska, one of the firm's solicitors. The following is the correspondence we had:
Firstly, what is the current situation with the case of possible reimbursement?
The launch of the first legal action is imminent.
What are the grounds for legal challenge against the universities?
Breach of students’ statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act.
What are your aims in the case?
To get the wasted tuition fees refunded. It is important to remember this group claim is not in opposition to striking lecturers. It is in support of students who have borne the brunt of a dispute that could have been resolved
Why have you taken the decision to involve yourself in this issue?
Our firm specialises in large scale, David and Goliath group actions,(always acting on behalf of David). We feel very strongly about this case, students leave university burdened with a heavy debt, at the very least they should be getting what they have paid for. Consumers who are not provided the services they were promised under a contract are protected by the law. The current generation of undergraduates are more aware of their consumer rights than any of their, predecessors. In increasing the amount of money that students must pay for their degrees – the government has accidentally created a generation of consumer activists who are more aware of their contractual entitlements and are willing to enforce them.
Who will you meet with at the university?
Students who were impacted by the strike and who had lectures and tutorials cancelled.
What do you think the result will be?
So far the University authorities have completely ignored letters of complaints from students and calls for compensation. It looks like they will only take notice when students get legal. I would urge universities to settle this dispute quickly as they could be liable for a vast number of claims from students who have paid many thousands of pounds but who have, quite simply, not got what they paid for.
But for this case to really have traction, as many students as possible need to join in , particularly if the University authorities do not come to the negotiating table and we have to take this matter all the way to trial.
Lastly, what can students do to get involved/help the case?
They can join the group claim here and let their friends who have been similarly affected know about the case.
They can also come along to our meeting on the 21st at the Mitre at 6.30 to find out more about the group action and what is involved.
Our client Cathy Olphin has also set up a crowd funding page here.
So this is what it has come too. It is strange because students, including myself, have largely given up on the hope of reimbursement. But this is undoubtedly a resurgence of the issue, so let's see where it goes.
Universities! Pay us like the customers we are.