It is not uncommon for students facing Academic Appeal Panel Hearings to feel thoroughly daunted by the prospect. Sadly, neither is it uncommon for them to get so flustered that they fail to do themselves or their case justice at the hearing and consequently fail to get the result they deserve.
Match Solicitors can help in a number of ways. The most obvious is by representing you at the hearing. At Match, we have a vast amount of experience representing students at appeal hearings and we have a high success rate in achieving favourable results for them, overturning unfair decisions made against them and getting their academic career back on track. We have attended countless numbers of these hearings and we can use our knowledge and experience to help you collect evidence, prepare your arguments and point out any procedural irregularities that occur leading up to or during the hearing.
However, if you feel you'd rather represent yourself, we can also offer you the following tips to give you as great a chance as possible of achieving a successful outcome...
- Familiarise yourself with the appeal format and procedures
The better you understand the format of the hearing ahead of the event, the better your chances of being able to handle the pressure and respond well to everything that is required of you. Therefore, you should request details of the format in good time. Will you be allowed to question the Department? Will you be able to question their representatives? Will you be permitted to make closing remarks? Find out exactly what will be expected of you and prepare yourself accordingly.
You should also make sure you're fully aware of your university's appeal procedures, which can be complex. Not following procedures can jeopardise your case. On the other hand, identifying any procedural lapses on the part of your university can jeopardise their case against you, so the more you know, the greater your chances of success.
- Gather all the relevant evidence
It is crucial that you get your evidence together as soon as possible. The entire appeals process is evidence-based, which means that everything you outline in your case must be supported, ideally by third-party evidence that's wholly independent. Evidence from professionals such as doctors or lawyers is particularly useful but may take time to gather. At Match, we're particularly adept at offering advice on evidential issues which can often make or break a case.
- Adhere firmly to deadlines
It's one of the easiest things to do but also one of the easiest things to mess up, so do make absolutely sure you're well aware of any deadlines you have to stick to. Different institutions have different deadlines and you need to prepare well in advance for each of them. One missed deadline will probably spell the end of your appeal.
- Preparation is everything
As well as preparing a written document or 'skeleton argument' outlining your case in advance, whether or not you are required to do so, you should also anticipate and prepare for every possible question you will face at the hearing. You should also prepare questions that you will ask the other side, as well as closing statements for the Panel.
Finally, if you decide that you do require help with bringing your case together or with any one part of the process, don't hesitate to give us a call at Match. We know how much your university career means to you and we'll do everything in our power to get the result you want and deserve.