University gets 8 months to settle COVID disruption claims

University College London has been given eight months by the High Court to end a dispute with students who want to sue over disruption to teaching during the pandemic and strikes, writes Alice Porter for Sky News.

Some 5,000 current and former UCL students are seeking compensation, alleging the university breached their tuition contracts after teaching went online during COVID with restricted access to facilities. UCL argued against the students’ cases going to court, asking the High Court to pause proceedings so that students could first complete the university's own internal complaints procedure and, if that failed, going through the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), who received record complaints in 2022.

But Senior Master at the High Court, Barbara Fontaine, questioned the effectiveness of this process in a judgement on Monday 17 July, noting that “some of the claimants’ concerns about the OIA scheme are valid”. Fontaine has paused the case for eight months to give the parties time to settle the claims through mediation or other means before going to trial.
Full report on the Sky News site