High Court rules that student finance regulations discriminate against domestic violence survivors


Re: OA v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 276 (Admin)

The High Court ruled that a survivor of domestic violence was unlawfully refused a student loan and that the current student finance regulations discriminate against victims of domestic violence. The court ruled there was a breach of her ECHR, article 14 and article 2 of the first protocol.

The claimant’s ex-partner had withheld her immigration documents. This led to her spousal visa not being renewed and led to the claimant remaining unlawfully in the UK for nearly a year through no fault of her own.

She was later granted indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence. But the gap in ‘lawful residency’ caused by her ex-partner’s abuse led to her being precluded by the student loan regulations from obtaining a student loan.

Without student funding, she incurred significant debt with her university and was forced to withdraw from her studies.

Dan Squires QC was involved in this case.

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