‘Occupy Sussex’ eviction: university legal fees revealed

Apologies for an unusual mid-week, single-issue blog post. But I do like being the one to break news, and today Gabrielquotes can reveal – exclusively – the legal fees that the University of Sussex has spent evicting the ‘Occupy Sussex’ occupation and obtaining an injunction which bans “any protest” until late September.

The fees, incurred over just seven days, amount to:

£46,020: forty-six thousand and twenty poundsTo put this figure in some perspective, £46,020 is equivalent to the combined annual income of…

3.32 cleanersemployed at Sussex. It is also equivalent to the total yearly tuition fees of over 5 students.

The former comparison is particularly worthy of note as University management convinced a High Court judge that the occupation was causing them losses so substantial that staff may have to be laid off.

The latter comparison is worthy of note because Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing has threatened to recoup these legal fees “from our teaching and research funds,” these apparently being non-essential functions ancillary to the running of the business that is Sussex University. Not that I’m blaming Prof Farthing, because in a recent interview with The Badger he claimed to know nothing about what was going on on the legal front and said, “I suggest you ask John Duffy.” At least somebody’s in control.

Update: Jermel, a Sussex-law-student colleague of mine, has made the very valid point that the University may have had legal-fees insurance which would cover these costs in exchange for the usual annual premium. The University has not mentioned this which leads me to suspect that it isn’t the case here, but that shouldn’t be relied upon as definitive.

If you want more occasional scoops such as this, sign up for Gabrielquotes email updates by putting your email address into the box at the top of this page. I’ll be back on Thursday with a more substantial post!

Source: Freedom of Information requests.

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