Northern Ireland

Judge rules no judicial review over disputed degree

A judge refuses leave for a judicial review of decisions made by Queen's University over a graduate's disputed degree classification.

Andrew Croskery, from County Down, was seeking leave for a review of decisions made by the university's Board of Examiners.

But a High Court judge ruled the case should remain exclusively within the jurisdiction of Queen's appeals body.

Mr Croskery launched the case after he missed a 2:1 by 0.5%.

His lawyers claimed he would have achieved a higher electrical engineering degree if he had received better supervision.

They also claimed Mr Croskery's job prospects were jeopardised by his degree classification.

During the hearing the university acknowledged procedural flaws in the decisions, and said it intended to convene a further hearing of the Board of Examiners.

Mr Justice Treacy said that even if this confirmed the existing classification, two further rights of appeal were open to Mr Croskery.

He can take his challenge to the University's Central Students Appeals Committee, and to a Board of Visitors.

Mr Croskery took the case claiming his right to a fair hearing by a tribunal under European law was at stake.

The judge said there was nothing in law to support a proposition that assessments and procedures for determining disputed degree classifications fall within the article dealing with rights to a fair hearing.

He also said 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 University on the case, said it was "a victory for common sense and a vindication of our client's stance on this issue.

"A judicial review would have been costly, disproportionate and - as this decision has shown- ultimately without proper grounds," he added.

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