Refusal of Student Loan due to immigration status was discriminatory

Our client successfully challenged her refusal of a student loan by way of judicial review.

After being granted humanitarian protection (a form of leave to remain in the UK) in recognition that returning to her country of origin would breach her human rights, our client was finally able to pursue her career. Her application for a student loan was rejected, however, because the law requires her to wait a further 3 years to build up sufficient lawful residence to be eligible for a loan. Had she been granted refugee status she would not have had to wait, and there was no significant difference between her situation and that of a refugee.

This difference in treatment left our client unable to study, so she instructed DPG to challenge the discriminatory impact of the Student Finance Regulations. A High Court judge accepted the case was arguable and granted permission for the case to proceed to a final hearing, which was due to take place on 18 December 2019. However, shortly before the hearing, the Secretary of State for Education accepted that the Regulations were discriminatory and agreed to pay our client compensation to enable her to fund and finally begin her studies, which she will start next year.

The Claimant was represented by partner Adam Hundt, solicitor Ugo Hayter and trainee solicitor Althia Stephens. Counsels instructed in this matter was Helen Mountfield QC and Raj Desai of Matrix Chambers.