Student fails in legal bid to overturn grade
A graduate failed today in a landmark legal challenge against a refusal to reclassify his 2:2 degree.
Andrew Croskery was seeking leave to judicially review decisions by the Board of Examiners at Queen's University, Belfast.
A High Court judge ruled that the case should remain exclusively within the jurisdiction of the University's own appeals body.
Mr Croskery, from Co Down, launched proceedings after missing out on a 2:1 classification in electrical engineering by half a percent.
His lawyers claimed that if he had received better supervision he would have achieved a higher degree.
During the hearing procedural flaws in the decisions were acknowledged by the university.
It intends to convene a further hearing of the Board of Examiners to study the case.
Even if this confirms the existing classification two further rights of appeal are open to Mr Croskery, the judge pointed out.
He can challenge the outcome to the University Central Student's Appeals Committee and to a Board of Visitors.
Despite these potential avenues, Mr Croskery pressed ahead with a judicial review case by claiming his right to a fair hearing by a tribunal under European law was at stake.
A second argument on his right to education was also advanced.
During the hearing it was claimed Mr Croskery's job prospects have been jeopardised because of the degree awarded.
But lawyers for Queen's contended that a judicial review application was not the proper forum for the challenge.
It was pointed out that a Board of Visitors has been established to consider student appeals and complaints.
Refusing leave to apply for a judicial review, Mr Justice Treacy said there was nothing in the jurisprudence to support a proposition that assessments and procedures for determining disputed degree classifications fall within the article dealing with rights to a fair hearing.”
The judge also rejected arguments on the right to education, stressing that the legislation said nothing about rights to degrees or other academic qualifications.
Adam Brett, a partner in the Belfast office of law firm McGrigors, which advised Queen’s, said: “This really is a victory for common sense and a vindication of our client’s stance on this issue.”