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University - Academic Appeal Advice


Our expert higher education lawyers are often asked to advise students who wish to appeal a decision made by a University

Many students have recently been advised whether they have obtained a successful placement at their university of choice. There have been over 364,000 places offered to students on university degree courses this year. A significant change this year is the increase in students applying for places after the release of their grades; 17,420 students according to the BBC. This represents a significant change with students seeking placement through the clearing process once they are in receipt of their results.

Following the initial hurdle of obtaining a place at university and years of hard work (along with the payment of significant fees), some students are often informed they have either failed an exam or fallen short of obtaining a certain classification of degree. If you are one of these students, what do you do next?

Application and Grounds

Our specialist higher education lawyers are frequently contacted by students asking how they can resolve these issues. One option may be to make an academic appeal.

Each university has their own rules and regulations, so it is important to first consider whether there are applicable grounds to base on appeal on. Examples of applicable grounds are:

  • Extenuating/mitigating circumstances (e.g. illness, bereavement)
  • Procedural irregularly (e.g. a mistake during examination or assessment period)
  • Evidence or prejudice or bias
  • Evidence of inadequate assessment

One ground that is generally unacceptable is that based on ‘academic judgement’. The OIA (Office of Independent Adjudicator) defines this term as:

“... a judgment that is made about a matter where the opinion of an academic expert is essential.”

It is therefore important to focus your appeal on the basis of an acceptable ground permitted by the University’s own Regulations; otherwise the appeal may be rejected entirely.

Our higher education solicitors will advise you on the merits of your case along with any additional documentation that may support your appeal further. For instance, if a student performed poorly during an examination due to illness (which they may have only been aware of after the examination), we may suggest obtaining a copy of your medical records and/or a letter from a GP/Consultant.

Higher Education Solicitor

Higher education law can be complex; particularly as each university has their own extensive rules and regulations. The deadlines of these appeals are often very tight and it is advisable to contact a specialist higher education solicitor for advice as soon as possible.

Our higher education law solicitors are passionate and experienced in assisting students through this process. Students pay significant fees to University and it is important to instruct an experienced professional to help you obtain the best possible prospects of success.

For further advice, please contact us on 0333 202 7175.