According to a public interest disclosure filed with the Higher Education Funding Council of England, Kingston University's Vice-Chancellor allegedly used public funds reserved for education and research to pay for his personal legal action against a former staff member. The disclosure alleges that Sir George Scott, aka Sir Peter Scott, utilized his position as Vice-Chancellor to get the University to pay for his failed complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation against former Senior Lecturer, Dr Howard Fredrics.
In March 2009, Professor Sir George Scott filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) against former Senior Lecturer, Dr Howard Fredrics. The complaint sought to seize control of Dr Fredrics' previously registered domain name, sirpeterscott.com under the guise that the domain breached trademark rights. The initial complaint was lodged by Kingston University's solicitors, Charles Russell Solictiors, who indicated that they were acting for the University. In their May 2009 ruling, WIPO found, however, that the complaint had, indeed, been filed on behalf of Professor Scott, the University's Vice-Chancellor. WIPO also dismissed the complaint in its entirety on the grounds that Prof Scott was not entitled to claim trademark rights in the domain name in question.
Shortly thereafter, a public interest disclosure was filed by an unnamed individual(s) with the Higher Education Funding Council of England, alleging that Prof Scott and the University had improperly used public funds, earmarked for spending on the provision of education and for research activities, on Prof Scott's misconceived personal legal complaint to WIPO. According to the disclosure, at least $1500.00 was spent on filing fees alone, with the likelihood that substantial additional sums were spent on legal fees to launch the complaint.
The outcome to an investigation by HEFCE into the allegations is currently pending.