Universities of PE
College of Law has been granted use of the university title and will now be known as University of Law. This follows the government’s decision to lower eligibility criteria for the protected title.
I’m sure the academics deserve it, whatever concerns there are about awarding such a title to a monotechnic covering only a single subject area.
There are bigger concerns though. The new status has been awarded while the institution is in the midst of being acquired by Montagu Private Equity, which means that it will shed its charitable status and become a profit-distributing entity.
Right at the bottom of the press release we find a statement mentioning this point:
In April 2012, the College announced that it was to be acquired by the investment firm Montagu Private Equity, which is investing in the business to help facilitate its development and international expansion. The acquisition is expected to be completed later this month.
Ironically, one of the reasons for this long purchase process depends on a legal fudge.
Since you cannot sell a charity, the sale depends upon the creation of a limited company, separate to the original charity, into which the teaching business is to be transferred. But, degree awarding powers cannot be sold or transferred and would remain with the charity were they not also have meant to expire in August (College of Law’s powers were granted in 2006 on a six-year licence).
No one has said publicly how this hitch is to be resolved. No doubt some hack will be stitched together with the help of the Privy Council and BIS, since the advent of Universities of PE (private equity) is favoured by those currently in government. But statute is being bent to suit a radical agenda.
Is the University of Law unlawful? No one has given a clear answer as to how it would be able to award degrees following its ‘purchase’.