Briefing For MPs
Be on the right side of the debate on 5th June and channel the collective voice of 128,000 petitioners for a statutory duty of care in Higher Education. Here is your briefing for the debate.
Petitions Committee Survey
The Petitions Committee ran an online survey to inform the debate on Monday, 5 June 2023. The survey asked petitioners about their experiences of mental health support at university and their views on introducing a statutory duty of care for higher education students:
“Duty of care is about taking student's mental and physical health into account at crucial points of their journey through university (assessments, exams, dismissal, etc.) and not acting in a careless and cruel manner - a privilege afforded to academics but not to the fee-paying young adults.”
"It's not enough for universities to be advised on what they should do. A statutory duty... is a bare minimum for... large businesses.”
This note covers a potential duty of care owed by universities to students. The authors (Jamie Burton KC, Sarah Steinhardt Doughty Street Chambers and Gus Silverman, Irwin Mitchell LLP) are the lawyers instructed by the parents of Natasha Abrahart, who took her own life in April 2018 at 20 years of age whilst an undergraduate student at the University of Bristol. The note is intended to help Parliamentarians ahead of the debate scheduled for the 5th of June:
“The judge concluded that had there been a duty of care, it would have been breached by the actions of the University”.
HofC Library Brief
This House of Commons Library document was shared with us by our partners at #forthe100. The information therein is provided to Members of Parliament in support of their parliamentary duties. The document examines the arguments put forward on the existence of a duty of care in higher education:
“On the duty of care argument, the judge said there is “no statute or precedent” concerning a duty of care for a university to take reasonable steps to avoid and not to cause injury, including psychiatric injury, and harm.”