Oxford history graduate Faiz Siddiqui is currently suing the University for £1 million because he did not leave with a first-class degree.
The 38 year old solicitor, who left Brasenose College in the summer of 2000 with a 2.1 in Modern History, is bringing a loss of earning claim against his chancellor, masters, and scholars of Oxford University.
He told the High Court that “negligent” teaching by members of the faculty during his Indian imperial history module prevented him from achieving a first-class degree and forging a successful career as an international commercial lawyer.
Siddiqui claims that his special interest module was poorly provided for by the University, with four of Oxford’s seven Asian history experts on sabbatical during his final year 1999-2000 and his result pulled down his entire degree.
In court, his lawyer Roger Mallalieu claimed that thirteen of his fifteen contemporaries studying Imperial Indian history scored their worst mark overall in that module.
Mallalieu said, however, that the claim is not a direct attack on any particular member of the faculty, which Siddiqui understands was under pressure at the time due to staff shortages.
Siddiqui now suffers from depression and insomnia, which he has linked to his exam results and which he claims have led to an inability to maintain long-term employment.
Oxford University initially asked for the claim to be dismissed given the length of time since the graduate left the college. The University also pointed out specific instances where Siddiqui received personal attention during his studies, including additional time in examinations after complaints of hay-fever.
A judgement on the case is expected before the new year.
Siddiqui and Oxford University’s History Faculty have been contacted for comment. Oxford University declined to comment on an ongoing case.