A student who claims she was unable to launch her legal career because she was underprepared for crucial examinations has begun a £100,000 High Court compensation bid.
According to the Oxford Mail, Abramova claims that staff at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXLIP) did not coach her properly for crucial exams, causing her to fail them in May 2005.
Maria Abramova graduated in July 2004 with a 2:1 degree in law from Oriel College, Oxford.
Later that year she commenced her legal practitioner’s course at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXILP), an institute forming part of Oxford Brookes University, with the ambition of becoming a solicitor.
She claims that failing the exams left her with a ‘blind spot’ when it came to taking future tests and eventually contributed to failing her New York bar examination three years ago.
On Monday Abramova told the court that she has since decided not re-sit the American examinations, as the process of taking legal tests causes her to become psychologically distressed.
Ms Abramova retook the English law exams later and was successful in the majority of the components, but failed the Property Law and Practice (PLP) element, hence remaining unqualified as a solicitor.
Although she has now established a career as a paralegal with a UK firm, she said she still felt undermined by her failure to qualify as a solicitor.
As a result of this Ms Abramova is claiming more than £100,000 compensation from OXILP.
Oxford Brookes denies the claims. Edward Reed, Communications Officer for the University, offered the following statement: “The Oxford Institute of Legal Practice’s service to students is rigorously scrutinised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and a system of external examiners. At all times since 2004, the year Maria began her course, it has consistently been graded “very good” or as is the case now “commendable” – the top grade. Of the 357 other students that studied that year more than 99% went on to pass the paper at the heart of the litigation.”