A solicitor who failed to convince a court that poor teaching at the University of Oxford cost him a high-flying legal career has been ordered to pay up to £75,000 in costs and denied permission to appeal the ruling.
Faiz Siddiqui’s claim was dismissed last month by High Court judge Mr Justice David Foskett.
Siddiqui, who studied modern history at Brasenose College and graduated in 2000, had argued that his 2.1 degree and failure to obtain a first prevented him from landing a job at a top US firm, or a high-flying career at the bar.
The latest judgment, handed down on 16 March, deals with Siddiqui’s permission to appeal and both parties’ arguments in regard to costs – specifically the qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) rules that apply to personal injury claims.
Siddiqui claimed that an exception to the general rule should apply and that he should be protected from an adverse costs order while the university claimed that costs should be enforceable ‘at least to a significant extent’ if not for the whole amount. Its costs were estimated to be around £300,000.
Foskett ruled that Siddiqui should pay 25% of costs ‘subject to a detailed assessment’.
‘Whether that amounts to £75,000 will depend on that assessment. My initial view was that an order for one-third of the costs would be appropriate, but to ensure that the legitimate QOCS protection is not lost I have reduced that proportion to 25%,’ Foskett wrote.
Foskett added that it was important not to make an order that ’unfairly deprives him [Siddiqui] of the legitimate QOCS protection to which, by virtue of the acknowledged personal injury element of the claim, he is entitled.’
Siddiqui was represented by barrister Roger Mallalieu of 4 New Square.
In the substantive hearing, Mallalieu had argued that Siddiqui’s employment history after Oxford in legal and tax roles was ‘poor’ and he was now unemployed.
Siddiqui’s name appears on the roll as a non-practising solicitor.
Foskett added that permission to appeal both the costs order and the substantive hearing should be refused on the basis that there is no realistic prospect of success.