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.

Please note: we are unfortunately unable to advise clients on a legal aid basis. If you are looking for legal aid, or for general guidance on what actions you can take to protect you or your child’s education rights, you can refer to the Education section of the Citizens Advice website.

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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 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 countless students to successfully challenge university decisions and reverse adverse decisions relating to issues including:

  • Appealing grades
  • Exam results
  • Attendance records
  • Coursework issues
  • Degree Classification issues
  • Problems with PhDs
  • Untimely withdrawal from university

Our education law solicitors will be totally honest and upfront about your chances of success and will never take on your case unless we believe there is a realistic prospect of a better outcome.

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

We offer a fixed fee initial consultation with our team to discuss your needs and see how we can help. We then charge for our services on a fixed fee basis, providing certainty over the costs involved.

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

If you want to know more about how we can help with your own legal queries surrounding academic failure, please contact our education law consultant Salima Mawji on 01895 207247 or email salima.mawji@ibblaw.co.uk.

Our expertise with challenging academic failure

Our education law practice benefits from the expertise of consultant Salima Mawji, who is recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in this highly specialised area of law.

Salima has decades of experience helping parents and students to deal with academic failure and secure better outcomes under even the most challenging circumstances.

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, we 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 is always 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 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 appeal document which is legally sound and makes the strongest possible case for your readmission or review.

Academic appeals

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

Our education law solicitors can help with preparing your 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 hearing where appropriate.

Legal representation for academic panel hearings

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

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.

Our education law fees

We typically work on a fixed fee basis for the initial consultation and a cost estimate basis for any work you ask us to undertake after the initial consultation. 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 when you contact our team.

We offer a brief free initial phone consultation with our experts. Thereafter, 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 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 legal term that can cover a range of issues including, problems with a grade, lower than expected degree classifications, problems with a PhD, poor attendance or an untimely withdrawal from university.

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 possible 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.

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. This will usually involve a written challenge, made directly by the student to the university. 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.

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:

  1. The university’s decision-making process was flawed e.g. grading criteria was not properly followed.
  2. 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 strong evidence to support your case when making an appeal.

What are the effects of academic failure?

Academic failure can have a serious, lifelong impact, including preventing a student from pursing a particular career that was dependant on their qualification (e.g. medicine), reducing their future earning potential and having a significant effect on their self-esteem and general emotional wellbeing.

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.

Tips for making 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 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 really easy to miss the deadline to appeal, but likewise, any mistakes made by your university in dealing with your 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. Know 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 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 the wrong academic decision-making process was following 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 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 end 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.

Get clear legal advice and support for dealing with academic failure

The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

If you want to know more about how we can help with your own legal queries surrounding academic failure, please contact our education law consultant Salima Mawji on 01895 207247 or email salima.mawji@ibblaw.co.uk.


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