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Governor General to intervene in dispute between UTech, law student

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2016 | 2:17 PMBarbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Sir Patrick Allen has been advised by UTech that an approach to him in his capacity as the visitor of the university is currently being formulated and will be submitted soon.

The Governor General Sir Patrick Allen is to intervene in the dispute between the University of Technology (UTech) and law student Duke St John-Paul Foote.

On January 16, Foote wrote to the Governor General complaining about problems he was having with the university and the hefty legal fees he was being ordered to pay arising from a court battle.

READ: Duke writes to Governor General

In his response dated February 2, the Sir Patrick said he is awaiting a response from UTech.

"His Excellency has been advised by the university that an approach to him in his capacity as the visitor of UTech is currently being formulated and will be submitted soon," read the GG’s letter from his secretary.

"Once the submission is received and the matter reviewed by the GG you will be further advised," the letter further read.

Foote came to national attention in November 2014 when he sued UTech over its decision to de-register him because he did not pay 80 per cent of the tuition fee at the specified time.

READ: De-listed law student secures Supreme Court injunction against UTech

Foote, who was a first year law student at the time, represented himself in the suit and obtained a seven-day injunction barring UTech from de-registering him for the December 2014 examinations.

Following the expiration of the injunction, Foote was informed by the university that he could not sit the examinations because the injunction was no longer in effect.

Foote took the matter back to the Supreme Court and in January 2015, lawyers representing UTech opposed the application on the grounds that it was only the Governor General as the visitor of the university who had the legal authority to deal with the issue.

Justice Audrey Lindo, in dismissing Foote's claim, said the court was reluctant to intervene in such cases where the issues concerned the domestic affairs of a corporation which is governed by internal rules and statutes.  

Foote appealed the ruling in the Court of Appeal but was not successful.

One of  Foote's concerns is the hefty legal costs of $855,013 which UTech has obtained against him.

He has beseeched the Governor General to deal with the matter quickly as UTech has already served an order on him and he now runs the risk of incurring draconian consequences for disobedience of the court order to pay.