A medical student who took his university to the High Court after he failed his degree is now facing a £90,000 legal bill.
Aspiring doctor Paul Crawford was locked in a bitter legal battle with Newcastle University after he failed the final year of his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree by a single mark.
His legal team claimed education chiefs had breached their contract by failing to take an average of his marks which would have seen him pass the final year of his degree at the second attempt.
But now the 32-year-old could be held liable for a legal bill totalling £90,000 after his case was thrown out by the UK’s top judges.
Last night Mr Crawford’s barrister, Antony Speaight QC, told The Journal his client had originally been granted a judicial review after judges sympathised with Mr Crawford’s claim that academics had failed to properly mark his work.
In a statement he said: “It is an unfortunate outcome for a young man who had spent six years training to be a doctor and at one time or another passed every element in the medical examinations.”
Mr Crawford, who is originally from Kilburn, London, but now lives in Australia, began his studies on Tyneside in October 2005 and completed the first four stages of his degree with no problems.
But in 2010 he failed the final year and was forced to re-sit the year. In October 2011 he was awarded a B grade, which is a borderline fail, in the “Clinical and Communication Skills” domain and was once again told he had failed.
Instead of making alternative life plans, the talented sportsman - who was a member of the university’s basketball and hockey team - opted to launch legal action against the university and was granted a judicial review in the UK’s top court.
Mr Crawford - whose brother Jack Crawford became one of the first British players to join an NFL American football club in the USA in 2012 - made a string of appeals internally and to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
He was told he could not complete his registration with the General Medical Council because he had not obtained the correct grades.
Deputy High Court Judge Andrew Grubb upheld Newcastle University‘s denial they had strayed from the marking procedures in its published handbook.
A Newcastle University spokesman declined to comment until the conclusion of a hearing to determine costs which is due to take place later this month.
Mr Speaight said: “The judge found that the university had failed to give Mr Crawford a fair hearing under its own internal appeals procedure, the rules of which it had broken.
“However, the ultimately critical question was whether the university had departed from its own published handbook in the manner in which it computed Mr Crawford’s marks.
“At an earlier hearing a different judge was sympathetic to Mr Crawford’s argument that double weighting one of the components of a practical exam was inconsistent with the calculation of an average.
“However, at this hearing the judge held that the handbook gave merely an overview, and that the double weighting was not inconsistent with its text.”