JR challenge to Oxford University’s Harrassment Policy fails at permission stage


Ramey v University of Oxford

Holly Stout, instructed by Bevan Brittan, successfully represented Oxford University in this challenge to the University’s new Harassment Policy. The Claimant contended that the University’s new policy unlawfully limited the circumstances in which the University would investigate cases of serious sexual assault. However, the Judge held that the Policy (which stipulates that complaints of serious criminal conduct should normally be referred to the police in the first instance and that the University’s Policy may not be applicable in such cases) was on its face unarguably lawful. The Judge further held that the Claimant did not have sufficient standing to bring the claim as her own complaint against the University related to events that occurred in 2011 and there had as yet been no application by the University of its new Policy. The Judge did, however, indicate that – if and to the extent that the University was still following “the Zellick guidelines” – in its application of the policy, the claim might have been arguable. The Zellick guidelines, published following an inquiry in 1993, indicate that Universities should only “in exceptional cases” investigate cases of potentially serious criminal conduct where the CPS has decided not to prosecute, or an individual has been acquitted.

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