Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Disciplinary and Non-Academic Misconduct

Contact our specialist education law solicitors today to see how we can help you.  Speak to one of our team on 01633 240743 or click the ‘Contact us’ button to send us an email and one of our lawyers will call you back at a time to suit you.

What can we do to help?

A university will have rules and regulations setting out how they expect students to behave and conduct themselves as an enrolled student. If a university believes that a student has breached their rules of expected conduct, they may find themselves subject to investigations and sanctions.

If you are facing allegations of non-academic misconduct or a breach of the university’s behaviour policy, our university law solicitors can help you respond and challenge any serious allegations made.

What is non-academic misconduct?

There are a number of behaviours that a university may decide to be classed as ‘non-academic misconduct’ within their own internal rules and procedures. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) provides the following examples:

  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Inappropriate, abusive or threatening behaviour, including on social media
  • Compromising the safety of and/or wellbeing of staff, other students, or visitors
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Violence, harassment and hate crimes
  • Behaviour likely to bring the provider into disrepute, such as disruptive behaviour in the community
  • Internet access abuse, such as visiting inappropriate websites, uploading/ downloading inappropriate content, propagation of computer viruses
  • Disruptive behaviour on the provider’s premises, such as setting off fire alarms or obstructing access to buildings or rooms
  • Damage to the provider’s property or abuse of its facilities
  • Causing a health or safety concern
  • Relying on forged, falsified or fraudulent documentation, and other forms of deception that are intended to gain an advantage, for example submitting fraudulent mitigating circumstances claims or falsifying evidence in support of mitigating circumstances claims (the last may also be considered an academic disciplinary matter)
  • Other behaviour which may also constitute a criminal offence.

A university will set out exactly what is classed as an offence and also will list the potential penalties that may be set down. There can be a wide range of sanctions that may be set down, including exclusion from university. Our university law experts can advise you whether or not your alleged conduct should be classed as an offence or not and also assist you throughout the process.

What can I do if a university is investigating an allegation of non-academic misconduct?

A university will usually investigate the allegations in the first instance, seek your response and then provide a report confirming whether or not a formal case will be brought against you. The threshold for bringing a case against a student is low. A university’s own rules may only required to believe that a breach has occurred “on the balance of probabilities” – in other words, whether they believe it more likely than not that the allegations are true.

If a case is formalised, this may require a formal statement and documentation from you setting out your defence.

Our higher education law solicitors are experienced in dealing with disciplinary matters from start to end, so we can provide you impartial advice and assistance from the very beginning of the process.

I’ve been asked to attend a Disciplinary Hearing. What should I do?

If an investigator believes that a breach of the rules has occurred, this may result in you being asked to attend a disciplinary hearing. A disciplinary hearing will consist of a panel who will consider the allegations against you, all documentation or evidence obtained and your response. The university may send you detailed allegations and documentations and ask you to draft a formal statement before the hearing. Our university law experts are experienced professionals and can help you draft a formal response.

If you are asked to attend a hearing in person, we can either provide representation at the hearing or help prepare you for the hearing. Our education lawyers are experienced advocates and can provide representation at the hearing if permitted by the university.

Why should I instruct a university law solicitor?

Given that it is possible that an investigation may result in a formal hearing, it is essential that you set out a robust case from the very outset. Our university lawyers can help by providing impartial advice, help you to draft a strong response and also help you with any upcoming hearings. Disciplinary matters can often involve complex processes and extensive documentation. Our university law solicitors are experienced education practitioners who can provide you expert assistance.

Please contact us on 01633 240743 or by e-mail to discuss how our university law solicitors can help you.

We offer an initial free consultation during which we will explain (a) how we can help and (b) provide an estimate of costs.