Authoring articles on Duty of Care for Students in Higher Education

A few weeks ago, two pieces of work were published which I co-authored on the issue of Statutory Duty of Care for Students in Higher Education. Both pieces were researched and written together with Robert Abrahart, Lead Campaigner at ForThe100 and father of Natasha Abrahart. As parents of students who had died by suicide at university, we felt compelled to articulate and speak out about the government’s current proposal for a national review of student suicides in higher education and a recent landmark court judgment about duty of care to students in relation to allegations of sexual misconduct (Feder and McCamish v The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama).

Both Kuljit (aka. Kooj) and I are members of ForThe100 which is a national group campaigning for higher education students to be owed a minimum standard of legal protection in a Statutory Duty of Care. The group want a clear legal requirement for higher education institutions to act reasonably and responsibly, so that students are not harmed by things institutions do (acts) and/or things institutions fail to do (omissions). Most importantly this would mean such institutions could then be held legally accountable for any negligence that resulted, in reasonably foreseeable injury to a student, through a more structured and legally enforceable route. 

Families and students struggle to hold higher education providers to account for negligence. The ambiguity which surrounds the current legal position means that most lawyers will not take on such cases and even if they do, then the restricted timescales imposed on representations and the legal costs make it very difficult. In the court case against the Royal Welsh College (mentioned above), it is estimated that the legal costs of the claimants were £350,000.

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