12.1.6 Consideration of the appeal by an Academic Appeal Panel

1. Upon receipt of an appeal based on one or more of the valid grounds outlined above, and submitted on a fully completed appeal form, accompanied by corroborating evidence, the Deputy Registrar (or nominee) responsible for academic appeals shall ask the relevant academic department to verify the facts to which the appeal refers. They will ensure these are verified in time to be presented to the Academic Appeal Panel.

2. A case may be expedited by referral for executive action by the Chair of the Academic Appeal Panel. In this instance, the decisions available to the Chair shall be to uphold the appeal (partially uphold if other grounds aren’t eligible), or to reject the appeal on grounds. The Chair may also refer a case for consideration by the Academic Appeal Panel if a case is not clear and requires further consideration.

3. Each Academic Appeal Panel shall consist of a minimum of four members which will be selected from a standing Panel by the Panel Secretary.

4. The members of the Panel to consider undergraduate and taught postgraduate appeals shall be:

(i) a Pro Vice-Chancellor as Chair

(ii) one Head of academic department (or equivalent)

(iii) the Head or a Deputy Head of Student Support and Careers Services

(iv) one representative from the Students’ Union.

5. Any standing panel members directly concerned with the student’s studies shall not be invited to participate to avoid any conflict of interest. Any conflicts of interest must be declared by Panel members. The representative from the Students’ Union will have had no prior involvement with advising students on their appeals. The Students’ Union will have ensured that the adviser(s) and representative on the Panel are different individuals, to avoid any conflict of interest.

6. The Deputy Registrar (or nominee) responsible for Academic Appeals shall serve as Secretary to the Academic Appeal Panel.

7. The Academic Appeal Panel shall be empowered to take either of the following decisions:

(i) to uphold the appeal and determine the action to be taken

(ii) to reject the appeal; no further action to be taken.

8. Any student whose appeal satisfies the criteria for consideration by the Academic Appeal Panel shall have the right to appear before the Panel and may be accompanied by a person of their choice, for example a fellow student or a representative from the Students’ Union, or a member of the academic staff.

9. Academic appeals procedures are an internal matter and do not have the same degree of formality as a court of law. In most cases it will not be necessary or appropriate for a student or the provider to be legally represented at an appeal panel or meeting.

10. All documents submitted as part of the appeal will be provided to panel members and the student, prior to the hearing, for consideration.

11. The appeal hearing will be conducted as follows:

(i) where a student has indicated that they will be attending the hearing, there shall be no discussion of the case amongst panel members prior to the appearance of the appellant. The Chair of the Panel shall ask the student and any other persons present to identify themselves and shall determine that any individual who is accompanying the student is able to satisfy the stipulations in the relevant Academic Appeal Procedures. Any persons accompanying the appellant that do not satisfy the stipulations will be asked to leave

(ii) the Chair of the Panel shall then:

1. Introduce the members of the Panel and other persons present
2. Explain the eligible and non-eligible grounds for the academic appeal
3. State the possible decisions available to the Panel
4. Explain the sequence of events should the academic appeal be upheld
5. Explain the subsequent right to request a Final Review if the student remains unhappy with the decision of the Academic Appeal Panel.

(iii) the Chair shall invite the student to present their case, summarising the main points so that all present have a common understanding of the basis of the case

(iv) once the student has concluded their presentation, members of the Panel may ask questions and explore areas of interest or concern regarding the appeal. When all members of the Panel are satisfied all questions have been answered, the student shall be invited to add any further points which they may wish to bring to the attention of the Panel, and the individual accompanying the student shall be invited to speak in support of the case. The Panel shall then interview any other party who is attending the hearing. The student will remain present and will be invited to respond to the evidence submitted by any other party attending and to add any further points.

12. The student must have submitted all relevant corroborative evidence with the appeal form prior to the Panel hearing. The Chair has the discretion to declare inadmissible any evidence or information that has not been submitted and reviewed by all relevant parties prior to a hearing. In the interest of fairness, it is important that all parties ensure evidence is submitted ahead of the hearing, so that everyone has the opportunity to review the evidence and respond appropriately. Only in exceptional cases where the Chair is willing, and all other parties give consent, will new evidence brought to the hearing be considered.

13. Once the hearing has ended, the student shall be informed of the timing and method of notification of the Panel’s decision. All parties, other than members of the Panel and the Secretary, shall then leave the room. The Panel shall consider the evidence before it and reach its decision. The Secretary to the Panel shall advise the Panel on the options available to it, if required.

14. The Secretary shall inform the student, in writing, within five working days of the decision on the appeal.

15. Each academic appeal should be resolved within 6 working weeks. If it appears that a response will be delayed, students will be informed why this is, and will be kept informed of progress.