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Education Law Case Study: Sexual Misconduct at University

Education Law Case Study: Sexual Misconduct at University

Who did we act for?

IBB acted for Henry, a postgraduate student who was accused of serious sexual misconduct by a fellow student at University.

What were the allegations of sexual misconduct?

The allegations against Henry were that he had kissed a fellow student, sent her photographs of his genitalia, of masturbation in front of the same female student and of engaging in sexual intercourse with her, without her consent.

Why did he instruct IBB?

Henry was very concerned about the allegations and the impact of those allegations on his life and particularly the impact they could have on his future academic career, should the allegations be proven to be true. He sought our advice and how he could contest the allegations.

IBB’s specialist education lawyers regularly deal with university misconduct cases and therefore were familiar with what action was required to address the allegations.  On analysis of Henry’s case, we considered the University had not properly informed and/or provided the evidence of the allegations being made against him. This meant that Henry did not have a fair opportunity to respond to those allegations, which was potentially a legal breach.

Student Disciplinary Panel Hearing

A Student Disciplinary Panel Hearing was scheduled in line with the University’s Regulations. In advance of the Panel Hearing, submissions were prepared for the Panel. In summary, on behalf of Henry, it was argued that:

  • some of the allegations made against Henry should be dismissed as being procedurally unfair;
  • some of the allegations made against Henry were not upheld by the Investigating Officer within the University’s own investigation;
  • there was an abuse of process due to some of the allegations being so unclear; and
  • the allegations made by the fellow student were inconsistent and not credible.

Decision of the Student Disciplinary Panel

Henry had legal representation at the Hearing. The outcome of the Hearing was that the Panel did not uphold any of the allegations made against Henry. Henry was delighted with the outcome.