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Penningtons has instructed Brick Court Chambers’ Richard Gordon QC to represent London Metropolitan University in its battle with the government over its future.
The judicial review (JR) case is expected to be filed at the High Court this week. It is understood that Doughty Street’s Judith Farbey QC and Joe Middleton are being lined up as counsel for the student body.
The university is to challenge the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) decision to revoke its “highly trusted” status, which left it unable to accept students from outside the EU.
Court papers are yet to be filed but any case is expected to be heard next week with the claimants currently considering how best to proceed. It is understood that the university will try to stay the UKBA ruling, which it says could affect up to 2,600 overseas students. They are facing deportation if they are unable to find another place to study in the UK.
It is not known whether the student body will intervene in the case or join as a claimant.
Sources close to the dispute said the university had wanted to instruct a heavyweight silk to lead the challenge.
Penningtons litigation partner Noel McMichael and immigration partners Nichola Carter and Pat Saini opted for Gordon who has built a career in public law.
Earlier this year he was instructed by Clifford Chance partner Luke Tolaini for tobacco company Philip Morris in its bid to bring JR proceedings over the plans to introduce a display ban on tobacco products. The case was eventually dropped (25 January 2012). He was also instructed by Eversheds partner Alison Oldfield for the Olympic Park Legacy Company after Tottenham Hotspur challenged its decision to hand the Olympic Stadium to West Ham Football Club after the Olympic Games (24 August 2011).
Gordon will lead Brick Court’s Maya Lester and Doughty Street’s David Lemer.
It is understood that the Treasury Solicitor is yet to confirm counsel for the UKBA.