The High Court rules today on a challenge brought by two teenagers who want to go to university over the coalition Government's proposed increase in tuition fees.
Lawyers for 17-year-olds Callum Hurley, from Peterborough, and Katy Moore, from Brixton, south-west London, say allowing universities to charge students up to £9,000 a year is unlawful.
They argue the move will erect "a barrier" to higher education and threatens to widen the already large gap between rich and poor.
Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice King, sitting in London, are being asked to declare that the Government has acted unlawfully by breaching the 2010 Equality Act.
They are also being asked to declare that the Government has failed to comply with its obligations under Article 2 Protocol 1 and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights to protect the right to education without discrimination.
The judges were told at a recent hearing that the less well-off, the disabled and members of black minority ethnic groups would be particularly hit.
Helen Mountfield QC, representing the teenagers, said opportunities to obtain university degrees and seek a better life in this country were "becoming extraordinarily unequal".
She argued Business Secretary Vince Cable, who is responsible for higher education, had failed when fixing the new fees to comply with his statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity.
The regulations will increase the cap on fees from £3,290 per annum to £9,000 per annum with effect from September 1 this year.
Ms Mountfield said it was an increase by "a factor of almost three" and added: "Tuition fees are so high relative to average family earnings, and the burden of debt prospective students must confront is so great, that these fees amount to a barrier to effective access to the higher educational institutions which exist in this country."
The UK was "one of the least equal societies among OECD countries" and the income gap between rich and poor had widened in the last 30 years.
The legal action was launched after the students' solicitors, Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (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, from Brixton, south-west London, is studying biology, chemistry, maths and history for her A-levels at Lambeth Academy. She hopes to become a research scientist, exploring cells, diseases, new treatments and cures as a career.
Callum, from Orton Goldhay, Peterborough, attends Peterborough Regional College, where he is studying for a level 3 BTec in web development and wants to go to university to study IT.