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Education Law Case Study: Academic Misconduct at University

Education Law Case Study: Academic Misconduct at University

Who did we act for?

IBB represented Anabel, a postgraduate student who was studying at a prestigious Russell Group University.

What was the academic misconduct?

Unfortunately, due to a significant deterioration in Anabel’s mental health, she committed a serious act of academic misconduct in relation to her assignment task. The serious academic misconduct, of which Anabel was accused, was paying someone to do her work, i.e. using a ghost writer.

Anabel admitted she had committed academic misconduct, to the University, but sought legal advice from IBB Law when there was a significant delay in the investigation process initiated by the University. The University’s delay had started to impact upon the completion date for Anabel’s course.

What did IBB find?

On analysis of Anabel’s case, we found that there was a procedure in place for the University to investigate cases of academic misconduct and/or disciplinary matters. However, the procedure had not been followed by the University.

As a consequence, Anabel was recommended by us that we should engage with the University, to address the procedural irregularity.  In response, the University initiated the disciplinary investigation procedure against Anabel. As part of that investigation, IBB assisted Anabel by preparing a lengthy statement. The purpose of this statement was to provide a defence for Anabel, having committed academic misconduct, setting out her mitigating circumstances and legal framework to support Anabel’s position.

What was the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing?

As a result of the statement, the University accepted that Anabel’s judgement had been impaired because of her mental health issues. Furthermore, it was decided by the university that Anabel had not committed an act of academic misconduct and thus there would be no penalty imposed against Anabel.

Anabel was given the opportunity to withdraw her first assignment submission and resubmit her assignment.

What happened to Anabel?

Anabel passed the assignment and was able to attend her graduation ceremony to obtain her degree. This led to Anabel being able to start her overseas employment.