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University Of Nottingham V. Fischel Notes

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UNIVERSITY

OF

NOTTINGHAM V. FISCHEL

FACTS Dr. Fishel is a distinguished scientist with an international reputation. He is a clinical embryologist working in the field of in vitro fertilisation ("I.V.F."). Dr. Fishel joined Nottingham University in 1985. Initially he was not solely employed by the university. He became a scientific director of a new I.V.F. clinic at the Park Hospital in Nottingham, but this was combined with a senior lectureship at the university Nurture was set up in 1991 to operate as an infertility clinic within the university. Its full title was the Nottingham University Research and Treatment Unit in Reproductive Medicine. Broadly, the aim was to operate a self-funding institution which would provide treatment privately to infertile couples and would put the university at the international forefront of teaching and research in the field. Dr. Fishel's relationship with the university then changed, however, when he became scientific director of Nurture in 1991. At that stage his employment became full-time. Nurture proved to be a considerable success. Having started off with a handful of staff, by the time Dr. Fishel left there were some 40 staff overall. One result of its success was that Dr. Fishel became very well rewarded under his bonus arrangements. In the financial year to 31 July 1996, his total salary exceeded that of any other university employee, including the Vice-Chancellor. The university authorities took the view that it was inappropriately high. They sought to renegotiate the terms. Not surprisingly, Dr. Fishel was somewhat resistant to any change. There were strained and protracted discussions and ultimately Dr. Fishel was told that, unless he agreed to the changes proposed, his contract would be terminated and he would be offered a new contract on terms considered acceptable to the university. He reluctantly agreed. From his early days at Cambridge, Dr. Fishel had been involved in working at private clinics for remuneration. At that time the clinic was Bourn Hall. When he moved to the Park Hospital, he became involved in other outside clinics, all of which were abroad, and after he became involved in Nurture the range of clinics with which Dr. Fishel became involved increased, as I discuss later in this judgment. It is common ground in this case that it was vital for some research work to be done abroad if the unit was to remain at the leading edge of research. As Professor Symonds recognised, it was also important in maintaining the international reputation of Nurture. However, whilst I can give no precise answer to the contribution of the work done abroad to the research and development at the unit, I am satisfied that it was significant. If this had not been the case, I am sure that Professor Symonds in particular would have raised objections to the extent of the activity

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