There are often cases of Law students using their newfound legal understanding against the universities which they attend. The danger of teaching students legal information that could be used against them is a risk law professors have long been aware of. With the job market taking a bit of a downturn, however, performing well at university has become all the more important.
With the higher stakes for university students have come a lot more cases of students suing universities. What's more, it is not only a law student's game anymore. Individuals studying everything from midwifery to theatre are bringing lawsuits against universities. They hire west London solicitors or a lawyer from elsewhere, and make their case.
Andrew Croskery, a student at Queen's University Belfast, is in engaged in a much talked about case against the university he attends. His case disputing a grade of 2:2 in electrical engineering is currently being evaluated by the high court. Mr Croskery is arguing that if he had received better supervision from the university his grade would have been higher.
Queen's University Belfast's lawyers are arguing that the judicial system is not the proper forum for the case, and thus it should be thrown out. For the high court to take a case like this would be uncommon but not unheard of. For example, last year a midwifery student at Oxford Brookes made the case that the high court should be able to interfere with the university's claim that she was not cut out to be a housewife because of her performance in a course there. She was successful.
With the job market as fragile as it is, no doubt other student will be motivated by much talked about successes like the aforementioned. Is this development really a good thing for Uk students and universities, however?
Some might assert that holding universities accountable is always a good thing, even if students do it in the judicial system. There is certainly a compelling case to be made that universities cannot police themselves internally with regard to some issues, and thus students should be able to deal with such issues in court.
The other side of the issue is that students are likely to begin taking advantage of the legal system to bring up their grades much more regularly. Some students are already trying to do just this, but the courts have done an excellent job so far of weeding out such people.
The ultimate barometer on whether or not lawsuits against universities are out of hand will be if solicitors in London and elsewhere start specializing in such cases. Law lecturers will really have to be careful then.