I graduated from university with a Law degree in 2012. I have been fighting with the institution ever since, having referred the matter to the OIA on 3 occasions, as each time the university competed its internal complaints procedure and the matter went to the OIA, the University then said that they wanted to look into the matter again. Over 3 years later, the OIA have advised that they have found in my favor and have requested that the university offer me a formal apology, and £1000 compensation. I am far from satisfied with this recommendation, and it appears that my case handler has not reviewed my file in full (it is very lengthy).
My complaint is the following:
I entered the university as a student with a disability agreement. When i approached my tutor advising of my struggles (due to health issues and a cancer scare), i was told my only option was to take a leave of absence and return the following year - incorrect information.
I was given two exam venues, i had to guess which one was correct, and received an email whilst in the exam confirming the correct venue. (The point of doing my exams in a separate room is to reduce stress as my epilepsy is triggered in stressful situations). During the exam, the invigilator did not know what the statute book was so stopped me and i had to explain we are allowed to use them. She also never disconnected the telephone which rang repeatedly throughout the exam, which neither of us could disconnect thus failing in their policy that all distractions/equipment will be removed prior to an exam. Furthermore, this was reported by the invigilator to the law reception, but an incident report was never filled out, and was not taken into account when grading my paper.
I received a significantly lower mark than anticipated in one module, as i did't see the invigilator collect and take my papers over to the law school, i questioned whether they had all been marked. They chose to destroy all my papers prior to checking.
They lost my disability agreement, thus not taking this into account when reviewing my marks etc.
They also lost the marking sheets, they managed to find one which showed i was absent from my exam. I had 6 exams in my final year. When i asked what theses marking sheets were exactly, the university failed to answer at both my and the OIA's request. They will not say how/if the rest were destroyed/misplaced, but have advised that someone did look for them but could only see that one- which was incorrect as i attended all exams.
There are numerous other failures by the university, who are not accepting blame in the matter. I do want to take this further, but due to financial means, will have to represent myself. I am hoping that someone may be able to tell me on what grounds to pursue the claim so i can file with court myself or offer any helpful information. I have been told that i do not qualify for legal aid so will need to do this all myself.
What was the result you wanted?
Did it mak a difference towards your class of degree?
Can yu appleal the OIA decision?
The following imo I think are neither here nor there, its tardy.
1.the tutor saying you had the option to leave or not.
2. the exam venues. fact is you got the right one and it made no difference.
3. the phone. Annoying but nothing more. Sometimes you have to knuckle down.
You should ask or know whether they took your disability agreement into account. Ynsure as to what effect that would have.
This idea they lost a paper is really the only issue I can see. you dont know, but they must have some record of your scores to give you a grade i.e its unusual to score a 0.
If they had you absent from the exam when in fact you were there that wuld worry me and they should have probided an explanation as to how they dealt with that in your marks.
You are in the hands of the OIA case worker to ask the questions and receive answers.
Off the top of my head.
1. See if you cna appeal the decision and get a written explanation from the OIA as to how they made their decision.
2. You might wnat to contact disability rights or your NUS disability officer if you think they have discriminated against you and that was significant.
3. Think long and hard before trying to litigate it yourself. maybe you cna get a fixed fee interview or get a contingency fee agreement with an educational specialist.
You should have had access to the OIA should have had access to the result of their internal investigations. Im surprised that if you are claiming an exam paper was lost then they could have given you a mark based on previous performance or the opportunity to resit. you sound as though the relations between you and your department are rock bottom. Imo the case worker seems to be giving you compenasation for the minor things, but has ruled un the unis favour about the substantive issue, which is your mark.
You can appeal the recommendatuion by the ioia and it is then reviewed by someone else. It has to be in writing within 14 days of being noified. as a lawyer you should know what their procedures are. I hope uoi havent left it too late.
If you are going down the other path then you have to decide who you are unhappy with and what it is you want. imo you should have made that clear to the ioia. uoi should also read their decision or ask forwritten reasons so you cna figure what their thinking was. As i said above it falls into two areas:
1. The disability agreement.
2. Actions which may have caused you to get an incorrect mark i.e a lost exam paper.
2. Is far more serious and relevant although your evidence is questionable. I would have pushed for a resit if that mdile made a material difference to my degree classification. they would have had your other courses and coursework to compare it with to see whether anything was amiss.
The OIA usually recommends to make offers in full and final settlement which means that if you accept it, you cannot do much later. However, if you reject it, you can sue the institution for higher damages. I can tell more if you are interested. Have you accepted that offer?
Would have been interesting to see if he had appealed for a review,
Yes but if he has accepted £1000 in full and final settlement, then this means that he is happy with the OIA's conclusion and he can do nothing other than to enjoy the one thousand.
His next action is to bring a civil claim against the University if he has not accepted the offer. It is improbable that he can challenge the OIA's recommendation. They work in accordance with their remit, which is very limited and their recommended damages are negligent. But it is fair for them to decide how much they recommend. They are independent etc.