Magazine article Times Higher Education

Sighs of Despair over £50,000 Bill

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Sighs of Despair over £50,000 Bill

Article excerpt

Warwick professor cleared by a tribunal of all charges faces final hurdle. John Morgan writes

University of Warwick professor Thomas Docherty could be left with a legal bill approaching £50,000 despite being cleared of all charges after facing the threat of dismissal since his suspension in January.

The professor of English and comparative literature, a critic of the marketisation of higher education, had been charged by Warwick with undermining the authority of Catherine Bates, the former head of the English department.

As Times Higher Education revealed earlier this year, the case against him cited three incidents in which he was alleged to have undermined Professor Bates, including sighing, projecting negative body language and making "ironic" comments when interviewing candidates for a job at Warwick. But it emerged last week that a university tribunal had cleared him of all charges.

Professor Docherty was suspended in January, returning to work in September ahead of the release of the tribunal's findings.

Some question why Warwick allowed the case to escalate to the point where barristers were hired and Professor Docherty faced the threat of dismissal.

It is understood that shortly before the tribunal was held in September, the university informed Professor Docherty that it would be represented by barristers at the hearing. This prompted the scholar to hire his own barristers. His legal bill is said to be likely to approach £50,000. …

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