England

Oxford exam-fail law student loses compensation bid

An Oxford graduate who sued a law college after failing her exams has lost a bid for damages and was told her own lack of aptitude was to blame.

Russian-born Maria Abramova, 28, wanted £100,000 for what she claimed was "clearly negligent" tuition at Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.

The Oxford University law graduate took the course to qualify as a solicitor.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Burnett she had failed to prove her exam coaching was inadequate or negligent.

'No realistic chance'

He said despite her academic ability, there was "no realistic chance" of her passing the exams.

Ms Abramova, of Aldgate, east London, came to the UK 11 years ago when she was 17 to take A-levels, and won entry to Oxford University where she graduated from Oriel College in 2004 with a 2:1 in law.

Her barrister, Oliver Hyams, claimed the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice failed her by neglecting to provide "appropriate tuition in examination techniques" until she failed her first set of tests in May 2005.

She re-took the exams but still failed the Property Law and Practice element. She finished the nine-month long course unqualified as a solicitor.

'Haunted'

She told the hearing she still felt haunted by her failure to pass the course, at the time run jointly by Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University.

Defence lawyers argued she was given every possible assistance throughout her course.

But Mr Justice Burnett said that, for whatever reason, Ms Abramova did not display the aptitude necessary to succeed on the Legal Practice course.

Ms Abramova has since started a career as a paralegal with a UK firm specialising in aviation law.

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