01/11/2011 05:26 GMT | Updated 31/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Students Callum Hurley and Katy Moore Launch High Court Challenge Against Tuition Fee Rises

Two students are launching a High Court challenge against university tuition fee increases.

Callum Hurley and Katy Moore, both 17, say they are "horrified" by the coalition Government's policy of allowing universities to charge up to £9,000 a year.

Their legal team argues the increases will indirectly discriminate against those from poorer social backgrounds and ethnic minorities.

Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice King, sitting at the High Court in London, are being asked to grant a judicial review against Business Secretary Vince Cable, who is responsible for higher education. The hearing is expected to last two days.

Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), the Birmingham-based firm acting for the students, contends that Government policy on tuition fees breaches Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects against discrimination.

The Government is also accused of failing to give "due regard" to promoting equality of opportunity, as required under laws banning discrimination on grounds of race, sex or disability.

The claim seeks the repeal of the Higher Education (Higher Amount) Regulations 2010 and an assurance that a proper equality impact assessment (EIA) is made before any replacement policy is formulated. It argues an EIA that was carried out was "cursory and lacks any real analysis".

The legal action was launched after PIL took advice from one of the UK's leading human rights lawyers, Rabinder Singh QC, who has since become the first full-time High Court judge of Asian extraction. Advice was also received from Professor Aileen McColgan, barrister and professor at King's College London.

Katy is studying biology, chemistry, maths and history for her A-levels at Lambeth Academy in south-west London. She hopes to become a research scientist, exploring cells, diseases, new treatments and cures as a career.

Callum decided earlier this year to leave Ormiston Bushfield Academy, Peterborough, where he was studying A-levels, and now attends Peterborough Regional College, where he is studying for a level 3 BTec in web development, but still aspires to go to university.