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Procedural issues: Importance of clear communications - PI011508


De Montfort University

We considered a complaint from a student about procedural irregularities relating to the termination of his PhD.

The University did not formally notify him specifically that concerns about his progress were so serious that his registration was in jeopardy prior to the decision being taken. We would normally expect students to be put on formal notice, with reference to the relevant regulations, by letter or other correspondence.

The University interpreted his appeal as a challenge to academic judgment, although this was based on an alleged error in decision-making and set out a number of ways in which the student believed the decision to terminate his studies was procedurally flawed. We found the case Justified and recommended that the University identify an independent mediator to address his appeal under the university regulations. The University has reviewed and amended its procedures in the light of the outcome of this case.