Win for Connie Dickinson against Mälardalen University in court of appeal

From the left: Fredrik Bergman, Connie Dickinson and Clarence Crafoord outside of Svea hovrätt (Court of Appeal). Photo: Centrum för rättvisa

From the left: Fredrik Bergman, Connie Dickinson and Clarence Crafoord outside of Svea hovrätt (Court of appeal). Photo: Centrum för rättvisa

Today, Svea hovrätt (Court of appeal) obliged Mälardalen University to reimburse Connie Dickinson 85 460 SEK plus interest, which constitutes half of the tuition fee she paid for a deficient mathematics program at Mälardalen University. This ruling means that the Court of appeal agrees with the district court´s conclusion that a university can be obliged to refund the tuition fee if the educational program it provides doesn’t live up to sufficient standards.

 – This is wonderful news and the judgement is very reasonable. The Court of appeal has now clarified that individuals, who pay for services provided by the government, not are without legal rights. Moreover it’s important that universities receive a clear message that the educational programs they provide and charge for, need to live up to sufficient standards in accordance with the law, Clarence Crafoord states, CEO of Centrum för rättvisa, who, alongside Fredrik Bergman, chief legal officer at Centrum för rättvisa, represents Connie Dickinson.

– It feels great, Connie Dickinson says. It´s an important relief, now I can finally continue my studies as I initially planned.

Connie Dickinson, originally from the USA, is one of thousands of students outside the EU and EES who comes to Sweden to study. She paid more than 170 000 SEK for a mathematics program at Mälardalen University which turned out to be so poor it failed four out of five criteria in an inspection carried out by the government agency UKÄ, and the university´s entitlement to issue the degree was subsequently questioned. Connie Dickinson therefore asked for a full refund of the tuition fee, though her requirement was rejected by the university claiming that such a refund lack legal basis.

With the assistance of Centrum för rättvisa Connie Dickinson issued a law suit at Västmanlands district court and demanded a full refund. On the 14th of June 2016 the court issued its ruling stating that Connie Dickinson and the university had entered into an agreement, which the university had violated by providing a program of insufficient quality. The district court obliged the university to refund the tuition fee in full as a consequence of providing an educational program lacking any practical value.

Mälardalen University appealed and Svea Court of appeal tried the case on the 9th of March 2017. Today the court delivered its ruling. The Court of appeal concur with the district court´s conclusion that Connie Dickinson and Mälardalen University entered into an agreement, which obliged the university to provide an education of sufficient quality in accordance with the law. As the university didn´t fulfil its obligation it has to reimburse Connie Dickinson for the tuition fee. As opposed to Västmanland district court, the Court of appeal didn´t consider the program completely worthless, and subsequently held that Connie Dickinson was entitled to a 50 per cent refund. Though in regards to the main and fundamental issue of the litigation, the Court of appeal did concur concerning the contractual circumstances; thus considering an agreement between Connie Dickinson and the university to be at hand. Furthermore the Court concurred that the program was of insufficient quality. Since Connie Dickinson won the core queries of the case, she will be fully reimbursed for her litigation costs, meaning that she significantly won the case.

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If you have any questions, please contact Clarence Crafoord: 073-679 16 89.