Student sues university over inadequate supervision

September 21st, 2010

A former electrical engineering student at Queen’s University in Belfast has brought a judicial review against his former university relating to the grade that he received — a 2:2, rather than the 2:1 that he suggests he would have received had he been provided with adequate supervision (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11376021).

Established case law indicates that the Courts will not get involved in disputes over marking/academic outcomes (see  e.g. Clark v University of Lincolnshire and Humberside [2000] 1 WLR 1988). However, it would appear that the present claim relates to a preliminary issue: should the University have provided the Claimant with an opportunity to appeal internally against the mark that he received for the degree. It appears to be alleged that the Claimant ‘had been denied a right to appeal against his classification because he had already graduated from Queen’s in the summer’.

There seems to be some merit in this point: although the Courts will not interfere in the final decision on marking, they will be keen to ensure that students (and former students) have a proper opportunity of challenging marking decisions. It is possible, however, that Mr. Justice Treacy, who is hearing this matter, will say that the appropriate forum to challenge the lack of an appeal is to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. We shall soon see: a decision on the permission application is due next month.

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