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Scottish government faces discrimination challenge over university fees

22 August 2011

The Scottish government is facing a judicial review challenging the fees paid by non-Scottish university students.

Scottish students pay nothing, while those from England, Wales and Northern Ireland pay up to £2,895 a year – a figure which could rise to £9,000 next year.

Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), based in Birmingham, already acts for two English sixth form students, Callum Hurley and Katy Moore, who are challenging the government’s decision to raise university fees south of the border to up to £9,000.

PIL will argue that the Scottish system of university fees discriminates against non-Scottish UK students in breach of article 14 of the ECHR.

Lawyers will also claim the system breaches section 91 of the Equality Act 2010, which bans racial discrimination in the admission of students to further and higher education, and the Scottish government is in breach of its general duty not to discriminate under the Act.

Daniel Carey, solicitor at Public Interest Lawyers, said formal steps to commence the action would be taken within the next few weeks. The English judicial review will be heard by the High Court this autumn.

The Scottish government argues that tuition fees are calculated on the basis of domicile not nationality and the government’s priority is to protect opportunities for Scottish students by maintaining free education.

Categorised in:

Discrimination Education