On 6 February 2014, HHJ Curran (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) allowed a claim for judicial review of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator following a three-day hearing and a 116 page judgment. David Lawson acted as Junior Counsel for the Claimant alongside Clive Newton QC, and Leon Glenister acted for three interested parties.
The Claimant was a medical student at the University of Leicester. She did not pass her end of second year exams and brought an appeal to the university committee based on mitigating circumstances.
The University rejected the appeal and the Claimant complained to the OIA, the organisation which adjudicates on Higher Education complaints. When the OIA rejected her complaint she brought a judicial review of the OIA’s decision.
The Court concluded:
- If a University refuses to re-open a student’s appeal that refusal is a “decision” about which the student can complaint to the OIA.
- Irrationality and procedural unfairness by a University can be determined by the OIA. While the law prevents the OIA from considering matters of "academic judgment" (Higher Education Act 2004, section 12), these fundamental failures of a university are within the OIA scheme.
- The decision by the OIA was made on the basis of an error of fact (applying E v Secretary of State for the Home Department  QB 1044).
The Claimant and student interested parties were represented by Sinclairs Law.
For further information, please refer to the judgment in R (Gopikrishna) v The Office of the Independent Adjudicator  EWHC 207 (Admin)