Academic Failure Solicitors

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Academic Failure Solicitors

Not every university experience ends with a graduation ceremony. There are a variety of reasons why a student may not achieve the degree that they studied for – a failed exam, an accusation of plagiarism or a missed module.

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These issues are usually couched under the unfortunate term of ‘academic failure’, but there is often more to it than that, and we are here to support those students who feel that their university has acted improperly or illegally in the process of awarding a grade, their degree classification or terminating their academic place.

At IBB Law, we only act on behalf of university students. We do not act for universities or any institution offering higher and further education. You can be confident that we are specialist academic appeal solicitors acting in your interests and that we are 100% committed to you.

At IBB Law, we have exceptional specialist expertise in advising clients dealing with academic failure. We can assist with appealing grades and challenging decisions made by universities and colleges, helping our clients to protect their education and their future.

We have helped students to successfully challenge university decisions and reverse adverse decisions arising out of academic failure and other aspects of university life, including:

Our lawyers for academic appeals will be clear and upfront about your chances of success and will never take on your case unless we believe you have reasonable prospects of achieving a positive outcome. We will advise the potential cost of helping you and your likely prospect of success, always keeping your chances of winning under review.

Where we think a successful challenge may be possible, we will provide step-by-step guidance through each stage of the relevant process, seeking an amicable outcome with your educational institution wherever possible.

We offer a fixed fee initial consultation with one of our team of academic appeals lawyers, to discuss your needs and see how we can help. if you would like us to assist you, beyond the initial consultation meeting, we then charge for our services based on the amount of work involved in challenging the university. We will keep you informed, so you are in control of how much you spend.

Looking for quick answers about academic failure? Take a look at our academic failure FAQs, below and tips for making an academic appeal, also below.

Our expertise with challenging academic failure

We have experience handling academic appeals at universities, colleges and other higher education institutions, as well as where matters must be escalated to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

No matter how difficult your situation might seem, our lawyers for academic appeals have the skills, experience and specialist knowledge to give you the best chance of securing the outcome you or your child need.

How our team can help with academic failure

Advice on challenging academic failure

It is important to remember that any decision made by your university or college may be subject to challenge.

When dealing with cases regarding academic failure, it is essential to get expert advice at the earliest possible point. In an ideal situation, legal help will be sought out at the very beginning of the academic appeal process, with experienced lawyers stepping in to support you with the initial challenge.

The benefit of this is that you will be able to submit an academic appeal document which is legally sound and makes the strongest possible case for your readmission, review or other outcome you seek.

Academic appeals

Academic appeals can be challenging, with a high standard of evidence and persuasive arguments needed to have a decision overturned. It is therefore critical that your appeal is prepared and presented in the best possible way.

Our education law lawyers can help with preparing your academic appeal, ensuring all of the necessary evidence is collected and used effectively to support your position. We can assist with preparing you for academic panel hearings and represent you during such hearings where appropriate.

Legal representation for academic panel hearings

The academic appeal process will often involve a panel hearing, where you can make your case directly to the university. In some cases, the university will allow the student to bring legal representation to a hearing.

It can be extremely helpful for the student to bring along an expert in education law to help guide them through the hearing process or to speak up on their behalf. Putting arguments before a panel hearing in a coherent and persuasive way can make all the difference between success and failure.

Our education law fees

We work on a fixed fee basis for the initial consultation. If you require our assistance and support beyond that meeting, we will be pleased to act on your behalf. For work after the initial consultation meeting, we will provide a cost estimate.  The cost of our legal advice is agreed with you in advance. This ensures complete certainty and transparency over the cost of securing our help with your educational law issue.

The exact cost of our services will depend on the nature of your problem, including the amount of time and level of expertise needed to support you effectively. We will be happy to discuss this with you at the end of the consultation meeting.

We offer an initial consultation for a fixed fee to analyse your case and to advise on how we can help. This is your chance to tell your story, provide documents relating to your problem, ask any questions and find out whether you are likely to have a case for challenging academic failure. We can also discuss the costs involved in more detail at this time.

For more information on our education law pricing, please get in touch.

Common questions about academic failure

What is academic failure?

Academic failure is a term that can cover a range of issues including, problems with an exam grade, lower than expected degree classifications, problems with a PhD, poor attendance or an untimely withdrawal from university, which can be due to a variety of reasons.

Can you challenge academic failure?

Yes. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to challenge academic failure by having your university review and change a decision. Whether this will be successful will ultimately come down to the particulars of your situation, so it is essential to seek early advice on whether you may have grounds to appeal a university decision.

Do universities accept appeals?

Universities generally do accept academic appeals, but the circumstances under which appeals are considered vary. Most commonly, appeals are accepted when there is evidence of extenuating circumstances that affected your academic performance or ability to meet admission requirements. Extenuating circumstances may include serious illness, bereavement, or other unforeseen personal challenges. You may also wish to appeal an exam result if you feel an error was made in calculating your grade or that the result was prejudiced.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the university’s review, in most cases you can request an independent review from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Once the university’s internal review processes have been completed, you can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to review the outcome of the academic appeal process.

If you are considering making an academic appeal, it is crucial to carefully follow the university’s appeal procedures and provide compelling evidence to support your case.

How do you make an academic appeal?

Most institutions make the route towards academic appeal clear and simple, and the university is bound to follow the appeal procedure in a fair and legal manner. The process of making an academic appeal can often be found on the university website.

This will typically involve a formal written appeal to the university’s admissions or appeals office. This should start by outlining the grounds for the appeal and specifying the extenuating circumstances that affected your academic performance.

You will need to support these claims with evidence such as medical certificates, official documents related to a family bereavement, or letters from relevant professionals that confirm your personal circumstances.

It is advisable to follow the university’s guidelines on the type and format of evidence and submit the appeal within any specified deadlines.

The university will then take some time to review the evidence and may seek out further information and input from the student, before coming to a final decision.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the university’s review, you can request an independent review from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

What evidence is needed for academic appeal?

The evidence needed for an academic appeal will vary depending on the nature of the appeal but generally, it will include any documents that support your claim for extenuating circumstances.

Commonly accepted evidence includes medical certificates in cases of illness or injury, official documentation of a family bereavement, or letters from relevant professionals that confirm your personal circumstances.

In addition to these documents, most universities will require a written explanation outlining the specific circumstances that affected your academic performance.

It is advisable to check the university’s guidelines on the type and format of evidence they accept. Some institutions may have a specific form for submitting academic appeals, while others may require a formal letter. Following the guidelines will give you the best chance of a successful appeal.

What are the causes of academic failure?

There are many possible reasons for academic failure, but in terms of the potential to make an appeal, there are only two reasons you can usually rely on:

  • The university’s decision-making process was flawed e.g. grading criteria were not properly followed.
  • There are extenuating circumstances that mean special consideration should be given which you were not able to disclose in advance.

In either case, you would need to provide good and persuasive evidence to support your case when making an appeal.

What are the effects of academic failure?

Academic failure can have a serious, lifelong impact, as it may prevent a student from pursuing a particular career that is dependent on their qualification (e.g. medicine, law, teaching, accountancy). The further consequence of not being able to achieve their dream job is likely to be a reduction in their future earning potential and a significant effect on their self-esteem and general emotional well-being.

For all of these reasons, if there is a possibility of challenging a university’s decision, we strongly recommend looking into it at the earliest opportunity.

How do you win an academic appeal?

  1. Seek expert advice as soon as possible– This will help you know if you are entitled to appeal and ensure you don’t miss any opportunities or make any mistakes in your dealings with your university.
  2. Make sure you fully understand the academic appeals process– This includes exactly what forms you need to fill out, which evidence you need to supply and any key deadlines. It can be easy to miss the deadline to appeal, but likewise, any mistakes made by your university in dealing with your academic appeal could play in your favour, so you need to be able to spot them.
  3. Include every relevant detail– Your appeal needs to be as clear and strong as possible, so make sure you don’t overlook anything that could support your case. Knowing what is relevant or not is not always straightforward though, which is one reason why specialist help can be so valuable.
  4. Stay focused– While you want your academic appeal to be as comprehensive as possible, you also need it to be clear and easy to follow. Make sure your arguments are well-structured and that you don’t include anything that is not strictly relevant.
  5. Ground your appeal firmly in the relevant rules and regulations– A successful appeal will need to show that, for example, the wrong academic decision-making process was followed or that you failed to disclose extenuating circumstances for a legitimate reason. In either case, you need to understand the rules you are using as the basis for your academic appeal and make sure your case clearly shows how those rules apply to your situation.
  6. Include all of the right evidence– To make your appeal as strong as possible, any key points you are relying on should be supported by strong evidence. For example, if you were ill at the time of an exam, do you have medical records to back this up? If there are gaps in your evidence, this could seriously undermine your case, so if you have a concern it is worth speaking to an academic appeals lawyer who can advise on your options.
  7. Keep your expectations realistic– While you might be hoping to have a disappointing grade replaced with a better one, in many cases a more likely outcome is to be allowed to resit a particular exam, redo a piece of coursework or even resit a year. It is important to get an honest assessment of what you may be able to achieve at the outset, so you are not disappointed by the result of your academic appeal.
  8. Get the right support for your academic appeal– Making an academic appeal can be tough, both in terms of the process and the emotional impact. It is therefore a good idea to seek specialist legal advice, but also to make sure you have personal support from friends, family and other loved ones during the process.

Examples of cases that we have dealt with arising out of academic failure

What does legal advice cost for academic failure at university?

We offer a fixed fee consultation, to hear your story and to advise what action you may be able to take arising out of academic failure, whether it is to appeal exam grades, coursework issues, degree classification, withdrawal from university or problems with PhDs. If, following the initial fixed fee consultation, you would like our further assistance, we will provide you with an estimate of the likely cost of additional work, which will be based on the nature of the work to be undertaken, the complexity and time, including the urgency of the action required.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please speak to Rachael, our education law senior legal administrator on 01895 207230 or email her at

Please note that we are only able to take on cases on a privately paying basis. If you are unable to privately fund your case or you are looking for general guidance on what actions you can take arising from academic failure at university, you can contact Citizens Advice.

Get clear legal advice and support for dealing with academic failure

If you would like to know more about how we can help you with your education law enquiry, please contact our education law senior legal administrator, Rachael, on 01895 207230 or by email at

Rachael will explain how we can help you. If you would like a fixed fee initial consultation Rachael will send you an online booking suite for you to select a day and time that is most convenient for you, to have a fixed fee video consultation with one of our specialist academic appeal lawyers.

Read a selection of case study successes from our Education Law team

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