ACT News

Too much homework no reason to sue ANU College: magistrate

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit from an international student who claimed the ANU College mismanaged his academic course, gave him ''lots of homework'' and left him with poor grades.

Hong Kong student Tak On Yee took the college to the Federal Magistrates Court, claiming mismanagement in 2009 cost him a place in a degree program at the Australian National University.

ANU College, which is part of the university, offers English-language and pre-tertiary courses to help students gain entry to degrees at the ANU. Mr Yee alleged the mismanagement and unexpected changes to the course left him with ''lots of homework'', unable to complete assignments or finish his courses. As a result, his final results were not good enough to enrol in the university for a degree course. He claimed the college had ''conducted courses illegally'' in breach of trade practices legislation and had misled him about the course components, which were different to what was provided.

Lawyers for the college argued for the case to be thrown out, saying Mr Yee had suffered no loss or damage.

They said there was no breach of trade practice laws, saying two independent bodies - the ACT Accreditation and Registration Council and the Overseas Students Ombudsman - found no cause to investigate Mr Yee's complaints. It was argued Mr Yee's complaints were addressed in July 2010, when he was offered a scholarship, granted a passing grade for a course he failed to complete and offered a spot in another program.

The court heard Mr Yee rejected the scholarship and failed to attend a semester that was offered to him.

Federal Magistrate Warwick Neville said Mr Yee was ''clearly somewhat disgruntled'' with the courses he took at the college but found there was no legal base for his claims. In his judgment, he said it was not uncommon for education courses to change and at times they were not delivered to the absolute, highest quality. ''Such is the reality of most human endeavour,'' he wrote.

The judge said Mr Yee was probably not the only student enrolled in his courses and others would presumably have also been affected by any mismanagement. ''But there are no other applications before this court from any other student who was in the same or a similar position as Mr Yee,'' he said. ''While Mr Yee obviously has a grievance with the college, in my view, that grievance is insufficient, as a matter of law, to provide any foundation for the claims he has set out.''

Mr Neville dismissed the matter and ordered Mr Yee to pay the college's costs.