We were recently instructed by a client in relation to a challenge to the classification of his Masters degree. He had been awarded a Merit for the degree but had been assessed as missing out on a Distinction by a very small margin. We assisted in the preparation of an appeal against the decision and identified that it appeared that the University had not properly applied its regulations when determining what classification to award.
We argued in the appeal that our client should have received a Distinction if the regulations had been correctly interpreted and applied by the University, and that even if he was not automatically entitled to a Distinction the Board of Examiners had failed to follow an appropriate procedure in determining whether to exercise its discretion to increase his award, and had not given any proper reasons for its decision.
Upon initially reviewing the case the Board of Examiners maintained the decision to only award a Merit. However, we pursued a further appeal under the University’s procedures, and the final appeal Panel agreed that the decision to award only a Merit was unreasonable. The Panel also accepted that the regulations and Handbook were unclear about how a student’s final classification should be calculated, and recommended that the regulations be reviewed to ensure that the same issues could not arise again in the future. As well as being an excellent result for our client, who was subsequently awarded his Masters with Distinction, the appeal also improved the position for future students by ensuring that the Handbook and procedures would be clearer and fairer to students.