The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) came into existence when the Higher Education Act was brought into force in 2004. When you as a student have a complaint you need to make against your university, it is to the OIA that you turn, but only once you have exhausted all of your own university's internal complaints procedures. You must also have gained possession of a Completion of Procedures Letter before seeking the involvement of the OIA.
Having completed and submitted all the relevant paperwork to the OIA within twelve months of the date on your Completion of Procedures Letter, you will have received confirmation of your complaint from the OIA and the university will have been given the chance to comment. You will then have been given an opportunity to respond to the university’s comments and the OIA - having then received all the available evidence and information from both parties - will make their decision.
More often than not, that will be the end of the procedure. However, in some cases, you still may not be satisfied with the outcome and you may still feel that the grounds for your complaint have not been satisfactorily addressed. It is in these situations that you may decide to apply for a judicial review.
What is the likelihood of my application for Judicial Review being successful?
In cases where the student is not satisfied with the OIA's decision, you have the right to challenge that decision by applying for a judicial review in the High Court.
The first thing to note is that time is of the essence and you must make your application for judicial review promptly, and definitely within 3 months of the OIA’s decision.
In practice, only around one fifth of claims made for judicial review against the OIA are actually given the permission to proceed. It is also worth noting that of those claims that are accepted, most reviews rule in favour of the OIA. From the OIA's inception in 2004, it was another eight years before a judicial review overturned one of its decisions. In light of this, you should be aware that the odds are stacked against you. However, if you are still intent on applying for judicial review, then Match Solicitors can help you.
We have a team of specialist barristers who will advise you on the likelihood of your review being accepted and then being successful, and we will help you draft the evidence you will require to take your complaint forward. We are also able to advise you as to whether it would be wise to make a breach of contract claim against your university.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the OIA and would like to take your complaint further, give us a call at Match today and we will discuss your case in confidence.