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Education Law Case Study: Disability Discrimination Claim Against University

Education Law Case Study: Disability Discrimination Claim Against University

Who did we act for?

IBB Law solicitors acted on behalf Joseph, a final year student at University with dyslexia and dyspraxia.

What was the case about?

Joseph was studying a vocational course, which entailed a requirement to fulfil a prerequisite number of hours conducting face-to-face consultations.

As a result of the COVID pandemic, the organisation and arrangement of face-to-face consultations was unpredictably difficult.  The University failed to provide adequate support arranging the consultations. Despite this, the University decided and informed Joseph he had not passed the course because the consultations were incomplete.

What did IBB do to help?

Joseph came to us because we have a depth of experience acting for students who wish to dispute the classification of their degree.

We wrote to the University, on behalf of Joseph, seeking an extension of up to 2 terms, to accrue sufficient hours to complete the case study component of his course. On behalf of Joseph, we directed the University to regulations, which gave authority to grant a student a break in studies during their programme of study. We argued the University had made an error in their decision and, furthermore, failed to meet their obligations under the Equality Act, to make adjustments, to accommodate Joseph’s dyslexia and dyspraxia.

We made further submissions, pointing to the unprecedented impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, such an event constituting exceptional circumstances and unforeseen circumstances, which merited Joseph being allowed more time to complete his programme of study.

On behalf Joseph it was also argued that the investigating team at the University had failed to comprehend the impact of dyslexia and particularly the impact of dyslexia upon Joseph. We stated the effect of his disability had not been properly considered. It was pointed out to the University that the process of having to make this appeal to them was making Joseph physically ill and that the appeal process, to the University, was adding to his ongoing stress, both physically and mentally.

What was the outcome?

The University were persuaded by the numerous arguments we presented on behalf of Joseph. They relented and extended Joseph’s period of study, to afford him the opportunity to complete face-to-face consultations and submit his portfolio, with a view to completing the course with higher classification of degree. Joseph and his parents were delighted by this excellent outcome. Joseph’s parents wrote to thank us for our support in achieving the outcome during a deeply difficult and stressful time.