Access to justice in student appeals: lawyers be gone?

Students should not be dissuaded from exercising their right to seek legal advice for student appeals, says Christopher Coyle.   Against a backdrop of lawyer-bashing, there is a worrying trend by universities of discouraging students from seeking legal advice, particularly in the field of academic appeals. Many universities have enshrined within their Governance Regulations that students cannot have representation by a lawyer for an appeal hearing, although they can have family, friends or other forms of representative as long as they are not legally qualified.   Others have taken a further step by explicitly discouraging students seeking any form of…

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(In)justice in the University – Daniel K. Sokol

Exam season is well under way at universities across the country. This means that the season for academic and misconduct appeals is imminent. But are universities well prepared for this? My client failed her PhD. She appealed the decision of the examiners. At the appeal hearing, she was asked to leave the room when the Department presented its case. On her return, she was not allowed to ask any questions. Her appeal was rejected and she complained to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), a statutory body that reviews certain decisions made by universities. The OIA held that the…

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How to represent yourself at an academic appeal hearing

Many students who are appealing a university’s decision fail to do themselves justice at the oral academic appeal hearing. Dr Daniel Sokol gives 10 tips on how to represent yourself at these important hearings. 1. Know the format of the academic appeal hearing The secret to a successful appeal hearing is preparation – knowing the facts of your case, the relevant rules and regulations, the strengths and weaknesses of your arguments and the University’s arguments – but it is difficult to prepare if you do not know the format of the hearing. If not available, ask for details of the…

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