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Medical school dream thwarted, pocket spared by court decision

02 November 2017 - 08:16 By Taschica Pillay
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Thinkstock

A KwaZulu-Natal woman has failed in her bid to be admitted to the University of KwaZulu-Natal Medical School, but will not need to cover the state's legal costs, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

Niekara Harrielall approached the court after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the Pietermaritzburg High Court's decision to dismiss Harrielall's application for a review of the University of KwaZulu-Natal's rejection of her application for admission.

The Constitutional Court agreed with the lower courts, except in regard of costs.

Harrielall was unsuccessful in 2015 in her application to study medicine at UKZN.

She applied again last year under UKZN's mature students policy, but she was again unsuccessful. She then asked the High Court to set aside the decision not to award her a place in the MBChB programme.

UKZN opposed the application, stating that she had been considered alongside 160 other applicants she was not among the top 10 who were awarded places.

Harrielall applied to the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal against that decision, but her application was dismissed with costs.

The issue of costs was decided by the Constitutional Court judges, who held that the Biowatch principle, which requires that an unsuccessful party in proceedings against the state be spared paying the state's costs in constitutional matters, ought to have been applied.