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First university Covid compensation battle heads to the High Court

A legal battle between University College London (UCL) and a group of students seeking tuition fee compensation will soon be heard at the High Court after attempts to reach an out-of-court settlement failed.

The dispute centres around allegations from current and former UCL students. They claim the university breached their contracts due to Covid-19 restrictions and strike actions.

Key allegations

  • From 2018 to 2022, UCL did not fulfil its contractual obligations.
  • The university failed to provide in-person tuition and denied access to crucial campus facilities such as libraries, study spaces, and laboratories.
  • The breach of contract created a substantial discrepancy between what students paid for and what they actually received.

The original group of 924 claimants has now grown to approximately 5,000, all of whom will have their case heard in a London High Court. If successful, current and former UK-resident undergraduates could be awarded around £5,000 each. Postgraduate and international students might receive even more as they paid higher tuition fees.

Why this case matters to students across the UK

The outcome of this trial could set a precedent for similar claims against other UK universities. Around 80 universities could face legal action, with claims already launched against the following institutions:

  • Cardiff University
  • City University of London
  • Coventry University
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Newcastle University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • University of the Arts London (UAL)
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Warwick


For affected students, the UCL case represents a significant step towards justice and compensation for their disrupted education experience. These students will be closely monitoring the developments, as a favourable outcome for UCL students could pave the way for similar actions nationwide.

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