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International Institute for Strategic Leadership

IISL Case Study: ETHICS at THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

Increasing Lawsuits against the LSE

IISL Fellows can access more data and evidence behind this research via the IISL Fellows’ Portal.

Please click on the following link for information regarding

the two landmark multi-million Pound lawsuits against the LSE,

which are the largest lawsuits in Higher Education.

In order to situate the largest lawsuits in Higher Eduction,

IISL research has assembled a record of lawsuits against the LSE in recent years

which has been obtained via multiple UK Freedom of Information Act requests.


The Times Higher Education published the results of legal actions against the LSE from 2010-13.

Note that since the Lord Woolf Inquiry in 2011,

the number of LSE Disputes and Tribunals tripled in two years:

Christopher Mordue, a partner at Pinsent Masons and head of its university employment team,

the solicitor responsible for the largest lawsuits in Higher Eduction against his client the LSE,

commented on the nature of lawsuits in Higher Education:


“The average total cost of employment disputes

within higher education was greater than in other sectors.


Mr Mordue also noted that the proportion of dispute cases in higher education that proceed to a tribunal is significantly lower than the figure for all tribunal cases:

‘universities are more risk-averse than other employers… the cost of defending the claim is often disproportionate to what is really at stake if you lose, making it more cost-effective to settle.’”

LSE’s Lawyer on Higher Education Employment Tribunal Lawsuits

Employment Tribunal Decisions Online in 2017

In the quest for open justice and transparency, the UK Ministry of Justice announced that in 2017,

it would list Employment Tribunal decisions online.


Christopher Mordue, a partner at Pinsent Masons and head of its university employment team,

the solicitor responsible for the largest lawsuits in Higher Eduction against his client the LSE,

warns employers about the risks online decisions pose to strengthening employee unions

(Iike the University and College Union):

More broadly, the LSE’s lawyers Pinsent Masons have warned their clients of the general risks:


“Obviously there is reputational risk. People will be able to see much more detail than they previously have done about the allegations that are being made some of which may of course be in their own right embarrassing to the company irrespective of the outcome. Even when companies win in tribunal there still might be comments made within that judgement and findings of fact made within the judgement that may be potentially embarrassing to the company. There may be comments made about the credibility of certain key people within the organisation who might have given evidence to the tribunal, things like that.


There is also, a potential that claimants who are going to bring claims against the company, and claimants' representatives, will go to the database and look up to see what types of claims have been brought in the past and then use that to try and build up a picture that this is a company where there exists a culture of "x", so they are going to try and use that essentially as evidence to support their own case.


There will be issues around companies' recruitment. So, individuals who may be considering coming on board, or the graduate recruitment level, if you have got people doing that sort of research into a company and seeing types of claims being brought, or maybe a particularly high volume of claims being brought, it may cause people to think twice and it may damage a company's ability to recruit effectively in the way that they would like.


So I think there is quite a number of different areas of risk and quite a minefield there to navigate whenever you get things like this around the internet and tools that are available on the internet."

Unions may well find that they can make use of employment tribunal judgements in their recruitment drives. They may well search this database, find examples of what they see as poor practice on the part of the employer, or criticisms that have been made by the employment tribunal, and use that in their campaigning literature and their messaging to that workforce to say that here is an employer that is not complying with employment law and develop a good case for why the trade union should gain recognition, why people should be members of the trade union to be supported. So I think it is very important that employers take that into account when they are deciding which battles to fight in the employment tribunal and they make sure that they are fully prepared and, again, looking to mitigate those reputational or employment relations consequences of adverse findings from the tribunal."

LSE’s Civil Court Cases 2000-2016

LSE’s Employment Tribunal Cases 2000-2016

In order to situate the largest lawsuits in Higher Eduction,

IISL research has assembled a record of lawsuits against the LSE.


According to information obtained via the UK Freedom of Information Act,

the LSE has had 15 Civil Court cases filed against it between 2000 and 2016.


What is more striking empirically,

is that since the damning Lord Woolf inquiry into LSE Ethics breaches in 2011,

the LSE has had an explosion of UK Civil Court cases to defend - 12 in only 3 years.


What is even more noteworthy statistically

is that after 15 years without a single personal injury lawsuit,

the LSE has attracted 5 personal injury lawsuits in less than one year,

including a landmark multi-million Pound High Court lawsuit,

which is the largest lawsuit in Higher Education.


The LSE’s sole principal legal provider since 2006 has been Pinsent Masons LLC.


IISL Research is therefore independently corroborating the damning findings of

Lord Woolf’s inquiry into the LSE’s lack of a culture of ethics.

The following list of Employment Tribunal cases at the LSE between 2000-2016

was obtained via a UK Freedom of Information Act request.


Note that the LSE has violated the UK Freedom of Information Act,

by refusing to list the largest Employment Tribunal lawsuit in the history of Higher Education

which was filed in 2015.