We acted for a client in a long running case which first went to the OIA and then back to the University.
Complaint to OIA
The OIA complaint centred around the fact that our client had, through no fault of his own, been deprived of the full amount of reading time at the beginning of his exams. He had subsequently failed those exams and his appeals had been rejected. We argued that this was a clear breach of procedure in relation to the exam conditions and that our client had been put at a disadvantage compared to all other students who sat the exam. Further, we highlighted that the University’s own guidance to invigilators stated that the exam should only start once all students were seated; this did not occur.
The OIA upheld the case and remitted the matter back to the University to decide on whether the breach warranted our client being given a fresh attempt at the exams.
University Academic Appeal
We then assisted our client in preparing for his University hearing. The arguments were similar to those set out to the OIA, but we sought to stress that a University has procedures in place for exams for a reason. If those procedures are not followed it must be that disadvantage can or will occur; the University should not make assumptions or speculations against the student that their errors would not have made a difference to the outcome. We stated that to not allow our client a fresh attempt at the exams would be to completely undermine their own procedures and their own exam guidance which would, then, make such procedures largely irrelevant.
The University Appeal Panel upheld the appeal and allowed our client a fresh attempt at the failed exams, adding that its own policies on ‘reading time’ were not clear. This was an exceptionally successful outcome after a long battle and meant that our client has a chance to get the degree which had, until then, been lost.