No, we are pleased to say! These group claims are being organised by teams of well-regarded lawyers with decades of experience successfully running complex court claims. Just have a look at the Legal Team page to see more about the fantastic legal team behind these group claims. The lawyers conducting the claims are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA, the body which regulates all solicitors in England and Wales. You can see Asserson’s SRA registration page here and Harcus Parker’s page here.
“The fact that we are still paying full fees for the service we are receiving is ridiculous.” Psychology undergraduate, University of Nottingham
In our view, yes. There is typically a substantial difference between the price of a traditional university course and an equivalent online course. In our view, under English law, you are entitled to compensation to make up that difference for the period when your course moved online.
In our view, yes. Under English law, if a university promised you a certain number of weeks of teaching and provided a smaller number of weeks, for example due to strike action by lecturers, you are entitled to compensation for the cancelled teaching weeks.
No. We will not ask you to pay anything out of your pocket at any stage. All our legal fees will be met out of the compensation if your group wins its claim, with your contribution capped at 35% of the compensation.
That is likely to depend on which course you are on, what fees your university charges for that course and how your university experience was affected by strikes and Covid-19. By our current estimate students will be able to claim on average £5,000 or more in compensation.
These group claims are real and are being organised by two well-regarded, experienced law firms. Group claims like this are becoming a fairly common occurrence and often succeed. We are running these claims on a no win, no fee basis because we believe there is a good chance of the claims succeeding and claimants receiving material sums of compensation. It will not be a quick or easy process recovering compensation, but the hard work will be done by the legal team, with the claimants able to sit back and watch as the claims progress. The claims are not ‘free’ – if you win compensation, you pay 35% of that compensation to the lawyers to cover the cost of their work on the claim.
If your group claim fails, you don’t need to pay us anything. Also, we will make sure that suitable insurance or other cover is in place to protect you should your university seek its legal costs from you.
You can still seek compensation even if your tuition fees were paid by someone else, such as the Student Loans Company, a parent or a friend. If you are entitled to compensation, it should be paid to you, not to the Student Loans Company, since the claim is for compensation for breach of contract, not for a tuition fee refund.
We do not think so. The universities in respect of which we are building group claims are amongst the largest, wealthiest universities in the UK. In our view, these universities can afford to pay students compensation for the upheaval they have endured over the last few years.
Yes, in our view. Covid-19 and to some degree the strikes were not universities’ fault, but the question is who should bear the risk of the damage they caused to students. In our opinion, universities are better able to bear that risk, for example by taking out insurance, and it is therefore fairer for universities to pay compensation than it is for students to be left paying for services which they do not receive.
Yes, the claims are open to all students at the relevant universities, whether from the UK, EU or outside the EU.
These group claims are ‘No Win, No Fee’ claims. You keep at least 65% of whatever compensation you receive, with 35% of the compensation being used to cover your legal fees. You do not pay us anything unless and until you win compensation.
We will not pursue a group claim unless we have suitable insurance or other protection in place to protect all claimants from relevant financial risks.
Obviously it would be totally improper for a university to treat any student differently just because they have joined a group claim; we think this is very unlikely to happen.
It will depend on when each claim gathers enough students to be brought, and after that on how quickly it is dealt with by the courts. If the claim succeeds and you are awarded compensation, your university would normally be ordered to add interest to the compensation for the period up to payment, so you should not lose out if there is a delay.
Students can seek compensation directly from their university via its formal complaints procedure. If the university does not grant compensation, students can complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). However:
- From what we have seen and heard, universities do not generally pay students any compensation other than very limited sums.
- The OIA says: “an assessment of the quality of what has been delivered is likely to involve academic judgment, which we can’t look at . . . This means that we can’t look at a complaint . . . that an online teaching session was just not as good as it would have been face to face”. This is reflected in the OIA’s decisions to date from students whose teaching moved online.
- There are strict time limits and you would need to carry out all work dealing with your university and then the OIA by yourself, without the benefit of legal assistance. By joining the group claim you have the benefit of a legal team representing you and effectively no time limit (the limit is 6 years) within which to start your claim.
We are building group claims for students at:
- Cardiff University
- City, University of London
- Coventry University
- Imperial College London
- King’s College London
- London School of Economics
- Newcastle University
- Queen Mary University of London
- University College London
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- University of Leeds
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of Sheffield
- University of the Arts London
- University of Warwick
If your university is not listed, but you think that a substantial proportion of the students at your university would join a group claim, please email us.