The College of Law - leading provider of legal education and distinguished charity - is threatening legal action against a student for non-payment of fees. Despite the student not actually studying there.

Student X - now at a rival institution - accepted a CoL LPC place on 13 August (after the 31 July deadline before which any course can be cancelled) and paid a £350 deposit (now accepted as lost). On 27 August - the day after receiving a training contract offer - said student cancelled that place, as his new employer insisted he study elsewhere. So that's a gap of 14 days. Sadly, just a touch over the CoL's 11 day cooling-off period - during which the contract between college and student can lapse without penalty.

Those three days mean that the LPCer is now on the hook for £5,770 in fees. He's received two letters from Nelsons solicitors of Nottingham threatening dire legal action. Although - generously - the saintly CoL has offered by email to waive the second instalment of course fees. A second instalment which - under its own terms and conditions - it's not entitled to anyway.

    Nigel Savage collecting some bad debts yesterday

RollOnFriday spoke to the main man, Nigel Savage. Who said that although he couldn't comment on individual cases, firms had recruited later this year which was causing previously unknown difficulties. But once the CoL had made its financial commitments for the year, it couldn't start letting people get away with not paying their fees. Apparently this has everything to do with making sure it can make charidee payments to the Sutton Trust and avoid fee increases for other students. And nothing to do with Savage maintaining his £440,000 a year salary. Or trying to recover the £450,000 lost when Halliwells went under.

Savage added that firms might want to be more flexible with their providers (as has happened in the past) and that this was an "interesting lesson in contract". Unfailingly sensitive, as usual.

Legally, the CoL probably has the student by the balls. But threatening students who've had the temerity to succeed in getting a training contract smells pretty bad.

Any readers in a similar situation should email RollOnFriday here.

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