OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education) Student Expectaions. Watch

Soullotto
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I am a Ph.d student. Unfortunately I entered into a formal complaint with the university where I am studying. As disabled student, my needs assessment took nearly a year to be administrated - which in tern impacted on my accessibility to my studies, as I was totally unsupported. Sadly there were other issues of complaint too. Nevertheless, I went to the OIA in January 2013, under the understanding that the OIA were going to review my complaints. It has now taken nearly 2 years, and my case is still not reviewed. I have never know such a an appallingly dysfunctional service. I have been buried in paperwork, ignored, had my complaints distorted and taken totally out of context. The OIA in my experience is basically a lose adjudicate for UK universities. If you have a serious complaint - seek legal advice and action quickly. If you don't, and then later establish that you need to, the cost of a legal review of your case - due to the masses of paperwork, becomes very expensive. I had to pay nearly £1000 for a solicitor to review my situation. Also be sure to understand the legal position of the OIA, as you will find that the is very little you can do if you complain against the OIA itself. I have done this - only to be told that everything is wonderful and the OIA administrative practices and policies/working practices are 'very professional'. 2 years for my case to be reviewed, and the OIA say this is OK - I think not! My financial situation is now in crisis, as I have waited and waited for the OIA to review my case - constantly thinking that my complaints would be addressed to the point whereby my course could continue. This has not happened, and now my funding has evaporated, and my research has now drifted out of date. All I can do now is pass my case to the press, and hope that the placing of my concerns about the OIA into the public sphere will hopefully pressurize the OIA to raise their standards.
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Everglow
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Hi, I've moved your thread into the Disabled Students forum so that you get more relevant responses.
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Peezda
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Hi. Sorry to hear that the OIA has been reviewing your complaint for two years. I have recently received their judgment after one year since I had submitted my complaint. I think they say somewhere that they review all their complaints within 12 months after submission. Not sure why they are taking so long for your case.
It might be improper to seek legal advice at this stage as it might be difficult to recover any money. OIA's recommendations as to compensations are very low should they uphold your complaint.
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gloriainexcelsis
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(Original post by Soullotto)
I am a Ph.d student. Unfortunately I entered into a formal complaint with the university where I am studying. As disabled student, my needs assessment took nearly a year to be administrated - which in tern impacted on my accessibility to my studies, as I was totally unsupported. Sadly there were other issues of complaint too. Nevertheless, I went to the OIA in January 2013, under the understanding that the OIA were going to review my complaints. It has now taken nearly 2 years, and my case is still not reviewed. I have never know such a an appallingly dysfunctional service. I have been buried in paperwork, ignored, had my complaints distorted and taken totally out of context. The OIA in my experience is basically a lose adjudicate for UK universities. If you have a serious complaint - seek legal advice and action quickly. If you don't, and then later establish that you need to, the cost of a legal review of your case - due to the masses of paperwork, becomes very expensive. I had to pay nearly £1000 for a solicitor to review my situation. Also be sure to understand the legal position of the OIA, as you will find that the is very little you can do if you complain against the OIA itself. I have done this - only to be told that everything is wonderful and the OIA administrative practices and policies/working practices are 'very professional'. 2 years for my case to be reviewed, and the OIA say this is OK - I think not! My financial situation is now in crisis, as I have waited and waited for the OIA to review my case - constantly thinking that my complaints would be addressed to the point whereby my course could continue. This has not happened, and now my funding has evaporated, and my research has now drifted out of date. All I can do now is pass my case to the press, and hope that the placing of my concerns about the OIA into the public sphere will hopefully pressurize the OIA to raise their standards.
You can only challenge OIA with a judicial review. You will find high quality judgment thee. It is very common that you had this problem because I am disabled student and I found the same experience with OIA. My complaint was out of context and distorted. They did not understand the material did not read the Guides made amteial and factual errors. They read only a couple of lines of the final decision of the univesity there was poorly trained staff and they looked at trivial details.

What I realised is that in several places they come contradictory. The final decison of OIA has not yet come out but I am peparing infomation for JR by myself. I was revewing the university's final decion and found it was much better and far respectful to a disabled student than OIA's draft decision and I have regretted I appealed to OIA. However, as a matter of principle I feel te disabled student has rights.
OIA works looking only at your substantial disadvantage as a disabled. That is where a solicitor is needed at the initial appeal to read the decision of the HEI and daft your appeal before you submit it to OIA. You need a solicitor specilising on EA 2010. A solicitor is worth spending as initial investment to guide you how to complain. I do not feel OIA is independent or impartial in my expeience and reading that of others. Thei funding is depending on subsciption from the HEI this is conflict of interest. What is needed is to press for an addicator for disabled students like employemnt tribunal. If you can write to MEPs and you MP and the press do so.
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deech
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(Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
You can only challenge OIA with a judicial review. You will find high quality judgment thee. It is very common that you had this problem because I am disabled student and I found the same experience with OIA. My complaint was out of context and distorted. They did not understand the material did not read the Guides made amteial and factual errors. They read only a couple of lines of the final decision of the univesity there was poorly trained staff and they looked at trivial details.

What I realised is that in several places they come contradictory. The final decison of OIA has not yet come out but I am peparing infomation for JR by myself. I was revewing the university's final decion and found it was much better and far respectful to a disabled student than OIA's draft decision and I have regretted I appealed to OIA. However, as a matter of principle I feel te disabled student has rights.
OIA works looking only at your substantial disadvantage as a disabled. That is where a solicitor is needed at the initial appeal to read the decision of the HEI and daft your appeal before you submit it to OIA. You need a solicitor specilising on EA 2010. A solicitor is worth spending as initial investment to guide you how to complain. I do not feel OIA is independent or impartial in my expeience and reading that of others. Thei funding is depending on subsciption from the HEI this is conflict of interest. What is needed is to press for an addicator for disabled students like employemnt tribunal. If you can write to MEPs and you MP and the press do so.

The judicial review judgement in Gopikrishna v OIA will be quite useful for your own preparations.....

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/207.html
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gloriainexcelsis
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Many hanks
(Original post by deech)
The judicial review judgement in Gopikrishna v OIA will be quite useful for your own preparations.....

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/207.html
many thanks
I will read this

The number of judicial reviews against decision of he OIA is a miniscule fraction of the Cases not justified. Therefore the % of those not succeeding a JR is not a meaningful statistic to be relied on. There are bariers to start a JR. The student would be faced with astronomical costs. A student would not be in such a position to sustain costs time and stress when hey have to work as well. Therefore the assertion that OIA is invincible is not substantiated since there are barriers to a JR. I know that one person, Cardao-Pito succeede partially in his JR and he self litigated. This was a great irony for OIA. CP did not get a big compensation but it was good for us to see what went badly wrong and one has to try o do the work themselves if they got the time. There are also cases stettled out of court with OIA so we do not know how right OIA can be in its decisions. There are cases of students who could not find evidence because it was destroyed by the university so these are unlucky. There are cases where the student has not made a subject access request and doen't know what evidence there is. Some very important emails are not attached to an exchange and dont come up when the student asks for SAR. There are straighforward cases which fall come directly under the Equality Act 2010 and where if the University wishes to objec they find it impossible to be successful. I feel some other body has to become involved in cases of students with disability. In cases of disability OIA has duty too to make adjustments in its process so that the disabled can engage in the process.
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deech
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(Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
Many hanks


many thanks
I will read this

The number of judicial reviews against decision of he OIA is a miniscule fraction of the Cases not justified. Therefore the % of those not succeeding a JR is not a meaningful statistic to be relied on. There are bariers to start a JR. The student would be faced with astronomical costs. A student would not be in such a position to sustain costs time and stress when hey have to work as well. Therefore the assertion that OIA is invincible is not substantiated since there are barriers to a JR. I know that one person, Cardao-Pito succeede partially in his JR and he self litigated. This was a great irony for OIA. CP did not get a big compensation but it was good for us to see what went badly wrong and one has to try o do the work themselves if they got the time. There are also cases stettled out of court with OIA so we do not know how right OIA can be in its decisions. There are cases of students who could not find evidence because it was destroyed by the university so these are unlucky. There are cases where the student has not made a subject access request and doen't know what evidence there is. Some very important emails are not attached to an exchange and dont come up when the student asks for SAR. There are straighforward cases which fall come directly under the Equality Act 2010 and where if the University wishes to objec they find it impossible to be successful. I feel some other body has to become involved in cases of students with disability. In cases of disability OIA has duty too to make adjustments in its process so that the disabled can engage in the process.

Trust me, Cardao-Pito was nothing compared to Gopikrishna. But reading those cases is a good place to start, it will show you how best to fight your own case. For disability discrimination the OIA had a lot of protection given to them by the court in Maxwell v OIA:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2011/1236.html

They will just continue the same way after this, so you need to find some way around it such as taking the university itself to court.
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gloriainexcelsis
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(Original post by deech)
Trust me, Cardao-Pito was nothing compared to Gopikrishna. But reading those cases is a good place to start, it will show you how best to fight your own case. For disability discrimination the OIA had a lot of protection given to them by the court in Maxwell v OIA:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2011/1236.html

They will just continue the same way after this, so you need to find some way around it such as taking the university itself to court.
Cadao-Pito was not disabled. The Gopikishna case had migating circumstances that had an effect on her - I am proud of the lady she had the courage to do a JR. Reading the case it was daunting to see how much she had suffered. It was also obvious to a non-legal peson like me to see he case could be well defended against OIA. OIA clearly do not apply their own published rules on disability when they believe they can get away. OIA is a bureaucratic body that works for its salaries and not primaily for the interests of the students. OIA is conflict of nterest since they adjudicate for universities which pay their fees. However, they are concerned about students with specific learning difficulties. The reason is that these cases can be well defended by experts, once diagnosed there is no argument it was there since birth.

OIA is not the best way to get it right because the compensation offered to students is peanuts. Students need proper legal insuance to take a unversity staight to court.
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deech
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(Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
Cadao-Pito was not disabled. The Gopikishna case had migating circumstances that had an effect on her - I am proud of the lady she had the courage to do a JR. Reading the case it was obvious to a non-legal peson like me to see it could be well defended against OIA. OIA clearly do not apply their own published rules on disability when they believe they can get away. I is a bureaucratic body hat works for its salaries and no the interests of the students. It is conflict of nterest they adjudicate for universities which pay their fees. However, they are concerned about students with specific learning difficulties.

OIA is not the best way to get it right because the compensation is peanuts. Students need proper legal insuance to take a unversity staight to court.
Most times you still have to use the OIA first, then go to court after. This is why it's very important to read the previous cases to see what is allowed and avoid making any legal mistakes. If you get legal insurance and are represented by a solicitor, they will almost certainly not read those cases, will go down the wrong route and it will end in mistakes which are fatal to your claim.
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gloriainexcelsis
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(Original post by deech)
Most times you still have to use the OIA first, then go to court after. This is why it's very important to read the previous cases to see what is allowed and avoid making any legal mistakes. If you get legal insurance and are represented by a solicitor, they will almost certainly not read those cases, will go down the wrong route and it will end in mistakes which are fatal to your claim.
Many thanks. I think the same . I feel a solicitor might not get down to read all that material. They have to understand the case first and the univesity policies and it takes long. I downloaded Maxwell, Gopikishna and Cardao-Pito and I make notes and compare to my case. I did read as well another judicial review not just OIA's to see about factual and materials errors. I noticed OIA does not have a good grip of univesity policies. I think one has to use OIA before they take a univesity to court. I also read the rules that courts have to observe for dyslexics.
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gloriainexcelsis
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It is obvious from the Gopikishna case that students who receive the Outcome which they believe does not look properly in to their case have employed a solicitor to send a 'Letter Before Claim' to OIA to request reconsideration before the final Decision. This case shows that it is outisde the means of almost any students to pusue remedies though only adjudication without employing a Lawyer. Such letters cost student thousands of £s. In fact OIA suggests to students: pay up lawyers to tell me what ommissions I made. That is not genuine adjudication. The stating point fo a letter is 4-digit money. I know OIA changed its Outcome after receiving such letters from solicitors. Students can do them themselves if they have read a lot. The reason students go to solicitors at the Outcome stage is that after the Final Decision it would be very much costlier to do so stating at 5-digit figure. The case above is the tuning point of OIA. MPs should question the purpose of the scheme of OIA.
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deech
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(Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
It is obvious from the Gopikishna case that students who receive the Outcome which they believe does not look properly in to their case have employed a solicitor to send a 'Letter Before Claim' to OIA to request reconsideration before the final Decision. This case shows that it is outisde the means of almost any students to pusue remedies though only adjudication without employing a Lawyer. Such letters cost student thousands of £s. In fact OIA suggests to students: pay up lawyers to tell me what ommissions I made. That is not genuine adjudication. The stating point fo a letter is 4-digit money. I know OIA changed its Outcome after receiving such letters from solicitors. Students can do them themselves if they have read a lot. The reason students go to solicitors at the Outcome stage is that after the Final Decision it would be very much costlier to do so stating at 5-digit figure. The case above is the tuning point of OIA. MPs should question the purpose of the scheme of OIA.

I would not send the letter before claim at the outcome stage, as you would risk looking like you are too eager to go to court. After the outcome just send a normal letter because you are still within the OIA procedures at this point. Only after the final decision has come should you send an official letter before claim which deals with that final decision.

I would also not pay for a solicitor unless I was very rich or qualified for legal aid. Just take time to read up yourself and make sure you follow the official guidance at every step, which for a letter before claim is:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/pr...tocol/prot_jrv

Solicitors were once students too. In their course they have studied judicial review for a few weeks at most. What is stopping you studying the same thing for a few months to get up to speed? During the case the university solicitor gets to spend a few hours a week on their letters at most. Again, what's stopping you from spending a few days a week? If you have the time and determination, it will be them who can't keep up with you.

The most important thing is to make sure you have a solid case. That means the university or OIA breached something which gives you grounds for review, that you can prove the breach, and that it would have had a material effect on the outcome. That is the core of your case. Then around it you need to find legal cases to support you and you also need to read up on the legal procedures (like the link above) to make sure you follow all the rules.
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gloriainexcelsis
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(Original post by deech)
I would not send the letter before claim at the outcome stage, as you would risk looking like you are too eager to go to court. After the outcome just send a normal letter because you are still within the OIA procedures at this point. Only after the final decision has come should you send an official letter before claim which deals with that final decision.

I would also not pay for a solicitor unless I was very rich or qualified for legal aid. Just take time to read up yourself and make sure you follow the official guidance at every step, which for a letter before claim is:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/pr...tocol/prot_jrv

Solicitors were once students too. In their course they have studied judicial review for a few weeks at most. What is stopping you studying the same thing for a few months to get up to speed? During the case the university solicitor gets to spend a few hours a week on their letters at most. Again, what's stopping you from spending a few days a week? If you have the time and determination, it will be them who can't keep up with you.

The most important thing is to make sure you have a solid case. That means the university or OIA breached something which gives you grounds for review, that you can prove the breach, and that it would have had a material effect on the outcome. That is the core of your case. Then around it you need to find legal cases to support you and you also need to read up on the legal procedures (like the link above) to make sure you follow all the rules.
Many thanks
I ve had the Outcome and have sent them the letter stating the errors paragaph by paragraph. The Final decision is not out yet. I will wait until the Final Decision to send lette befoe claim. From their conduct it is clear they have aleady the Final Decision before they drafted the Outcome. They admit I am dyslexic that is the new thing after I complained. Meanwhile there are vast erros which make me believe OIA are not in the least interested wether they have made errors or fell in contadictions. There are so many inconsistencies in their Outcome that make me believe they dont care for resoning even. They say they have discretion to consider any evidence they want. My evidence was scarcely mentioned. They did invite me however to bing evidence at any point and I did so but they dont conside it. This means that I could only pesent my case at a Judicial Review. I do read your posts and take notes carefully of the cases.

The Gopikishna case is inteesting breakthrough because OIA had not justified her.
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