Freedom of infomation request, the cost of the protest ban

by Ben Aylott

In December the University of Birmingham decided it would be a good idea to take out a high court injunction banning “occupational” protests on its campus by “persons unknown” (broadly speaking…it was vague enough to include almost anyone). The measure was condemnded by Amnesty International, Liberty, and Index on Censorship who (variously) described it as “aggressive” and “censorious”.

It has formed part of an aggressive campaign to crush student and staff dissent against senior management, which has included the intimidation of pickets, politically motivated disciplinaries for students, and the arbitrary suspension of elected student officers from university committees and meetings.

I thought it may be a matter of public interest to find out the cost of obtaining this high court injunction. Propsective applicants to UoB, who are now going to be paying £9000, may be interested what their fees will be paying for. Or, say, if you were another University leader wanting to know how much it will cost to get your own high court injunction and implement the “Birmingham method” to clamp down on your own student and staff.

Following a FOI request UoBs legal services department have kindly provided me with a figure of £14,403.20+VAT or the cost of 1.88 students fees for a year at Birmingham (assuming VAT at 17.5%).

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What a bargain!

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