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Academic appeals advice

View profile for Andrew Barrowclough
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Higher education law is a complex area where students often need expert guidance from specialist higher education law solicitors.

Recently many students have discovered whether or not they have been successful with obtaining their desired University Award or whether they have been allowed to progress to the next stage of their course (for example for medical students). After years of study it is very disheartening for a student to discover that they have missed obtaining a 2.1 qualification by 0.5% or that they have been asked to repeat their 4th year of study because they failed a subjective examination for their clinical competence.

On the one hand students face an uphill task challenging their University. It is almost impossible to challenge ‘academic judgement’ and the internal regulations are usually designed to protect the marks awarded and examination process. All students are automatically committed to these regulations as they ‘sign up’ upon enrolment and cannot later attempt to claim they are unfair.

A specific example relates to the issue of extenuating circumstances. If a student submits information about such circumstances in a timely manner and the examination board decide that they should be failed anyway, then the remedy afterwards is difficult as technically such a determination relates to academic judgement. On the other hand if a student doesn’t submit extenuating circumstances then it can be claimed that the exam board didn’t have all of the information. The problem is that then the issue arises as to why those circumstances weren’t submitted and that is often difficult to explain.

Our University lawyers are experts at guiding students through this difficult  process. The best advice is to contact a specialist lawyer as early as possible before the internal university appeals processes are exhausted. We can assist to draft appeals, consider evidence and tactically plan on the next appropriate steps. We can also attend appeals hearings on your behalf to assist in objectively arguing regarding unfair treatment.

Ultimately students pay universities thousands of pounds in tuition fees and deserve to be treated fairly. Our specialist education law solicitor team can help to get the education deserved. Please do give us a call if you want further advice on 02920 291704.