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A failed lawyer is suing Oxford University for £1 million after it gave him an 'inexplicable' 2:1 degree

Kieran Corcoran
  • Faiz Siddiqui got a 2:1 from Oxford in 2000, which he claims is too low.
  • Siddiqui said the grade amounts to a failure and harmed his career.
  • He is suing Oxford in the High Court for £1 million in damages.

A lawyer who says his career failed to live up to his full potential is suing Oxford University for not giving him a good enough grade.

Faiz Siddiqui, a 39-year-old graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford, is currently fighting the university in Britain's High Court, where he hopes to extract £1 million ($US1.32 million) in damages.

According to The Times newspaper, Siddiqui's lawyer described his client's 2:1 grade (an "upper second-class" degree, one below a first-class) as an "inexplicable failure" which scuppered his career.

At the opening of the trial, he claimed that inadequate teaching, and the university's failure to adjust for his poor health during exam season, led to him missing the first-class degree he would otherwise have achieved.

The court reportedly heard that Siddiqui was offered a training contract with Clifford Chance, one of the top London law firms, after he graduated.

He then worked for three other law firms, and later for EY, before being dismissed "essentially for poor performance" in 2011, since which time he has been unemployed.

Siddiqui's lawyer reportedly said this fell significantly short of the career his client had hoped for: A postgrad degree from an Ivy League university followed by a high-flying legal career either in the UK or US.

A lawyer for Oxford dismissed Siddiqui's alternative career trajectory as "fanciful," The Times said, and maintains that he, not the university, was responsible for his lacklustre career.

The university asked last year for his case to be struck down, but a judge ruled that a trial should take place.

It is not clear how Siddiqui funded his degree, but standard undergraduate tuition in England when he was studying cost £1,000 a year, less than one ninth of current levels.