If your academic appeal has been dismissed at College level, there are still some options open to you to pursue your appeal, depending on the circumstances.
We understand how disappointing it can be when your academic appeal is dismissed by the College Appeals Committee. Whilst there are options for pursuing an appeal further, please do consider whether you have sufficient grounds and evidence to do so. The following information should help you make that decision, and of course you can always approach the Advice Centre for a confidential discussion.
What can you do if your College Appeal has been dismissed
Most College Appeals are dealt with by ‘preliminary disposal’ – in other words there isn’t a hearing and a decision is made from the paper evidence only. If your College Appeal has been dismissed by preliminary disposal, and you wish to take your appeal further there are two options:
- seek a reinstatement of your appeal with the same College Appeals Committee.
- lodge an appeal with the Senate Appeals Committee.
It is possible to do both (i.e. request a reinstatement and submit a Senate Appeal), but if you are going to do this, you must do the reinstatement request first, and you would need to wait for a response before you can lodge your Senate Appeal.
It is very important that you read over the outcome documents which you should have received from the College Appeals Committee and try to find out what reasons they have given for dismissing your appeal.
There is a 10 working day deadline for both of these options, but please note that a IIA (Intimation of Intention to Appeal) letter is required for the Senate Appeal (and then 20 days allowed for you to submit a full Senate Appeal letter), but no IIA letter is required for the reinstatement request.
You might find it helpful to look at the University’s flowchart Summary of the Appeals Process.
Request for Reinstatement of your College Appeal
This means that you are asking the College Appeals Committee to reconsider your appeal and hold a hearing. To seek a reinstatement of a College Appeal, you must be able to show that the College Appeal have overlooked, or made a mistake about, an important aspect of your appeal. You would need to submit a letter, within 10 working days of the date you received your appeal outcome. The letter needs to outline which aspects the Committee has overlooked, together with any evidence to show what has been overlooked.
In order to find out if something important has been overlooked, read the Committee’s decision and reasons carefully. It’s not enough for minor or trivial matters to be overlooked, it would need to be something that would make a major difference to the outcome.
Example: A student had appealed to be allowed to continue on their Masters course pending the outcome of re-sit results. Their appeal was unsuccessful at preliminary disposal, but on reading the decision it became apparent that the Appeal Committee had looked at the wrong degree regulations when considering the case. The student submitted a reinstatement request, pointing out the mistake. When the College Appeals Committee realised their mistake they were able to review and uphold the appeal without the need for a hearing.
If the decision and reasons are accurate, and the Committee seems to have covered everything, it’s unlikely that a reinstatement request would be successful. You would then have to move on to consider whether you have grounds for an appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee.
Submitting a Senate Appeal
If you don’t think you can request a reinstatement of your College Appeal, and instead feel you have sufficient grounds, you can submit an appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee. Please note there are only three grounds on which you can appeal to Senate.
- new evidence has emerged which could not reasonably have been produced to the College Appeals Committee and/or
- there has been defective procedure by the College in its disposal of the appeal and/or
- the disposal at College level was manifestly unreasonable.
Important: it is not enough to just repeat the same grounds which you used in your letter to the College Appeals Committee. Instead you must show that at least one of the above grounds applies to your appeal.
The rules for a Senate Appeal are at Chapter 28 of the University Regulations.
If you do decide to appeal the first step is to lodge an Intimation of Intention to Appeal letter (IIA) against the decision. This is a simple short letter letting the Senate Office know that you intend to appeal. If you wish you can download and customise our Template IIA letter.
This ‘IIA letter’ normally has to be submitted within 10 working days (2 weeks) of the Appeals Committee decision which you are appealing against. Both the IIA and the full appeal letter should be submitted in writing to the Head of Senate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for the attention of the Senior Senate Assessor for Academic Appeals.
If you have missed this deadline, sometimes the committee will be willing to consider a late appeal, but this depends on circumstances as to why the appeal was late, why you were precluded from meeting the deadline, and all of this would need to be explained in your letter.
Once you have submitted your Intimation of Intention to Appeal (IIA) letter, you have a further 20 working days (4 weeks) to get your full letter of appeal together, which would state all your grounds and your desired remedy, and include any evidence that is relevant to your case.
At any time during this process, if you are at all unsure, want to talk it over with someone or would like to request representation, please contact The Advice Centre and our trained and experienced staff will be happy to help.
Senate Appeal Letter Checklist
Important – your letter should be concise, but you need to make sure you’ve included all necessary information. Please check this list before you submit.
- Have you included your name, address, phone number and email address?
- Have you stated what decision you are appealing against?
- Have you stated the grounds that you are appealing on?
- Have you included your evidence? If you’ve mentioned things like a doctor’s letter or excerpts from your course handbook, you should include these.
- Read through your letter — have you stuck to the facts? Is your letter easy to read? If not, it’s likely the Senate Appeals Committee will also think this.
- How have you ended the letter? Make sure that you include the resolution you’re looking for.
- Have you said whether you will attend if a hearing is called?
- Have you confirmed whether you have arranged for someone to accompany you to a hearing, if one is called?
- If you didn’t present medical or other adverse personal circumstances to the College Appeals Committee, your letter has to contain a statement explaining the exceptional circumstances which prevented this evidence from being presented previously
If you require any help with your IIA letter, or your full appeal letter to the Senate Appeals Committee, please get in touch with the SRC Advice Centre.
We will be happy to read over any draft of your letters, and provide any comments or suggestions as appropriate.
What can you do if your Senate Appeal has been dismissed
Similar to the College appeals process, If your Senate appeal has been dismissed by preliminary disposal, you may ask for this to be reinstated - only where you can clearly demonstrate that the Senate have overlooked an aspect of your Senate appeal. This is made clear within section 28.7.6 of the Senate appeal regulations.
If it is not the case that anything has been overlooked, then University processes are at an end and the final stage would be to seek an independent external review via the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman. Speaking with someone in the advice centre if this is the case would be highly recomended.