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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Siddiq v Kings College London [2001] EWCA Civ 159 (6 February 2001)
Cite as: [2001] EWCA Civ 159

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Neutral Citation Number: [2001] EWCA Civ 159

(His Honour Judge Knight)

The Royal Courts of Justice
The Strand
London WC2A
Tuesday 6 February 2001

B e f o r e :




The Applicant appeared on her own behalf
The Respondent did not appear and was not represented



Crown Copyright ©

    Tuesday 6th February 2001

  1. LORD JUSTICE MUMMERY: This is an application for permission to appeal, made by Miss Siddiq in person. Her opening submission was that I should adjourn the hearing so that she can continue with negotiations for legal representation. In order to put that application into context, it is necessary to say more about the nature of this case.
  2. Miss Siddiq enrolled at Kings College, London in 1992. Unfortunately, in 1995 she failed her Roman Drama course and so was not awarded a degree. She was informed that she could resit the paper, but did not do so. There was an internal appeal. Miss Siddiq was informed by Kings College on 10 July 1998 that all the internal procedures in relation to her complaints had been completed, and that any further appeal in relation to the refusal to award her a degree should be to the Visitor to the College, the Archbishop of Canterbury. An appeal to him is limited to the matter of awarding degrees, and does not include matters of sex and race discrimination.
  3. Miss Siddiq brought an action in the County Court against Kings College. She alleged race discrimination under sections 17 and 57 of the Race Relations Act 1976 and sex discrimination under sections 22 and 66 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The claims are made against staff and students at the College. Each of those Acts contains time limits for the bringing of cases, in section 68 of the Race Relations Act and in section 76 of the Race Relations Act.
  4. Claims to the County Court under either of those Acts must be instituted within six months of the act complained of. There is, however, under both provisions a discretion in the court to extend the time if it considers it is in all the circumstances of the case just and equitable to do so.
  5. The claims in the County Court under each of these Acts were instituted by Miss Siddiq on 18 August 1999. The College made an application to strike out the claims on the basis that they had been brought too late. That was first dealt with by District Judge Haselgrove on 13 April 2000. He held, in a reserved judgment, that the claims were time barred because the last act complained of was the exhaustion of the internal procedures of the College in relation to Miss Siddiq's complaint. That occurred on 10 July 1998, and over a year passed before proceedings were brought in the County Court. As for the exercise of the discretion to extend time, he decided that it was not just and equitable to do so. He referred to the fact that at an earlier date Miss Siddiq had sought help from the Commission for Racial Equality.
  6. Miss Siddiq appealed against the district judge's order. On 1 September 2000 His Honour Judge Knight dismissed the appeal.
  7. Miss Siddiq filed an application for permission to appeal to this court on 13 September. There are special provisions which apply to proposed second appeals to the Court of Appeal. They are contained in Part 52.13 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998:
  8. "(1) Permission is required from the Court of Appeal for any appeal to that court from a decision of a county court. . . which was itself made on appeal".
  9. This is an application for permission to appeal against the decision of His Honour Judge Knight sitting in the County Court, and his decision was on appeal from the order of the district judge.
  10. 52.13 continues:
  11. "(2) The Court of Appeal will not give permission unless it considers that -
    (a) the appeal would raise an important point of principle or practice; or
    (b) there is some other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear it."
  12. That is a stiffer test than that applied to cases which do not involve a second appeal. The test in those cases is whether the appeal has a real prospect of success.
  13. So I must ask myself whether Miss Siddiq's appeal raises an important point of principle or practice, or whether there is some other compelling reason for the court to hear her case. Miss Siddiq says that there is. She submits that it is important that she is legally represented in order to make submissions. She says that she is in negotiation with the National Union of Journalists for representation.
  14. This matter was originally put before me on paper. I then notified Miss Siddiq that it was not appropriate to grant an adjournment, although she could renew the application at the oral hearing. She has done so this morning.
  15. As far as the involvement of the National Union of Journalists is concerned, the only letter which I have been provided with is a copy of one dated 24 January 2001, written to Miss Siddiq from the General Secretary of the NUJ. The letter thanks her for a letter of 22 January tabling all the complaints against the NUJ's Legal Officer, Claire Kirby and states:
  16. "I will make enquiries into this complaint and reply to you once these have been completed."
  17. That is not sufficient to justify an adjournment on the basis of a hope of representation. Miss Siddiq has had ample time since the hearing before His Honour Judge Knight to make arrangements for representation.
  18. The other factor I must consider in deciding whether or not to grant an adjournment is what would be the case likely to be submitted on the adjourned hearing. I am in a good position to assess that, as Miss Siddiq has filed with the court a huge number of papers relating to her complaint. She has told me this morning that she wishes to bring forward new evidence of harassment and discrimination against her, connecting her treatment at Kings College with incidents at "The City Lit" in 1998 and 1999 involving Dr Anne Ward. Miss Siddiq said that she is still suffering from discrimination, which has made her life a complete misery. She explained that the sources of the discrimination are neighbours, public transport and health services and that all these are connected, and have been connected over the years, with the grant awarded by her local authority for her to go to Kings College. She described all these matters as "networking" against her.
  19. She showed me a book on Greek art containing what she submitted were objectionable visual representations of the treatment of women. She has also submitted this morning a paper in which she explains how she wishes to make numerous complaints in proceedings under the Human Rights Act 1998 under practically every article of the Convention, ranging from the right to life in article 2 to the right to property and the right to education in articles 1 and 2 of the First Protocol.
  20. She says that she should be given permission to appeal. There should be a rehearing with a complete disclosure of evidence which this court should examine in the greater public interest. She explains that she is not interested in compensation: what she wants is justice and for all those who are responsible for what she has suffered to be made accountable.
  21. I have considered all those matters, as well as the voluminous papers which have been filed. I must not lose sight of the fact that Miss Siddiq's claim against Kings College, London is that set out in her claim form of 18 August 1999. That claim is of race and sex discrimination against the College during her undergraduate studies from 1992 to 1995, culminating in the refusal to redress the issues set out in her letter of 24 November 1998. She seeks a complete assessment of her undergraduate examination papers and dissertations, and determination of her postgraduate degree in the classics. She wants all these matters to be fully investigated on the evidence. That is the claim.
  22. In my view the district judge was right on the material before him in deciding that the claim should be struck out because it was out of time. It was not started until 18 August 1999. On the material which I have seen, the last act of discrimination which could have been alleged against the College was committed on 10 July 1998, when it was explained to Miss Siddiq that all the internal procedures of the college concerning her complaints had been completed. She was well outside the six months' time limit for bringing these proceedings. In the exercise of his discretion the district judge was entitled to refuse to extend the time if he considered, as he did, that it was not just and equitable to do so. In those circumstances, His Honour Judge Knight was right to dismiss the appeal.
  23. I have no option but to refuse the application for permission when the test I must apply is whether this proposed appeal raises an important point of principle or practice. In my view it does not. There is no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear the case. I take account of the Human Rights points.
  24. I emphasise that I am dealing at this hearing only with the proceedings against Kings College based on the complaints made in the claim form of 18 August 1999. I am not concerned at this hearing with the numerous other complaints that Miss Siddiq has against many others who may or may not be connected with Kings College.
  25. For all those reasons I refuse the applications for an adjournment and for permission to bring forward new evidence of harassment and discrimination. This proposed appeal raises no matter which could be called important as a matter of principle or practice. The application for permission to appeal is refused.
  26. ORDER: Application refused

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