Complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is the final port of call for any student who has lodged a formal complaint or appeal against their university and has not achieved the result they were hoping for.
Please note: we are only able to take on cases on a privately paying basis. If you are unable to privately fund your case or you looking 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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Launched in 2004, the OIA is an independent body which has been set up specifically to deal with student complaints, and it is completely free to use. However, the process of complaining to the OIA can often be tricky to navigate without legal advice.
At IBB Law, our specialist education law solicitors have a long history of working with the OIA and achieving positive outcomes for our clients. We can guide you through the whole process of making a formal complaint or appeal against the university to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, giving you the best chance of success.
Our expertise includes complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in relation to matters such as:
- Breach of contract
- Academic failure
- Discrimination (including racism, sexism and ageism)
- Any other complain that your university has not dealt with to your satisfaction
The earlier we are involved, the higher the likelihood of a swift resolution in your favour. Our team will be happy to provide initial advice on your case and talk you through exactly what we can do to help.
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 making a complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator? Take a look at our FAQs
If you want to know more about how we can help with a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, please contact our education law consultant Salima Mawji on 01895 207247 or email email@example.com.
Common questions about complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
What does the Office of the Independent Adjudicator do?
Under the terms of the Higher Education Act 2004, the OIA is empowered to make decisions on any complaints which have been made by students about their university.
In every case, the complaint must be instigated by the student, and the student should be able to prove that they have exhausted every other channel of complaint. This may involve sending proof of any formal complaint which was made to the university in the first instance, as well as evidence of any subsequent appeals processes or hearings.
What issues can you face?
The OIA is available to receive complaints on a variety of issues, from breach of contract, negligence and instances of academic failure to charges of discrimination, including racism, sexism and ageism. It can also handle any cases which have already made their way through the appeals system at the university, making it a great option for students who feel that their case was not properly dealt with in the first instance.
How does making a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator work?
When a university reaches the end of its internal processes for dealing with your complaint, it will issue a Completion of Procedures Letter (COP Letter). This will set out when you reached the end of the university’s internal processes, what has been considered and your right to take the complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
Once you have received a COP Letter and decide you wish to take the complaint further, you will need to fill in the OIA’s Scheme Application Form and ensure it is submitted in line with the OIA’s Completion of Procedures deadline.
At this stage, the university will be invited to submit comments and evidence to support their case. Once the OIA has received all the relevant documentation from both parties, it will make a decision on the case.
If the case is won by the student, the OIA has the authority to make formal recommendations to the university and to penalise them if these recommendations are not heeded.
If the case is won by the university, the student may appeal their case to the OIA by way of a judicial review in the High Court.
Get clear legal advice and support for making a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
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 on firstname.lastname@example.org