Our review process comes to an end when:

  • we decide that we can't look at a complaint under our Rules
  • you and the provider agree to settle the complaint
  • a reasonable offer has been made by the provider to resolve your complaint
  • we issue the Complaint Outcome
  • we confirm our Recommendations, if we have made any.

We will also close the complaint if it is withdrawn or terminated before a review is concluded. You can of course also withdraw your complaint at any time throughout the process.

What can you do if you think we have made a mistake in the Complaint Outcome, or you have new evidence?

Sometimes the decisions that we reach, or the Recommendations we make, are not the ones that you or the provider expected or wanted. We hope that the reasons for our decisions are clear, but if you still have queries please contact the case-handler in the first instance.

You can ask us to consider reopening our review of the complaint. We will normally only consider such a request if it is made within 28 days of us issuing the Complaint Outcome (if the complaint is Not Justified), or the date we confirm the Recommendations (if the complaint is Partly Justified or Justified). If you make the request more than 28 days after we have finished our review, you will need to explain why you didn’t do it sooner.

We may decide to reopen our review if we receive new evidence which could make a difference to the outcome of the review, and which you or the higher education provider could not reasonably have given to us earlier, or if there is a "substantive error" in the Complaint Outcome, that is an error which is likely to have seriously affected our decision or our Recommendations.

For more information see the Guidance Note on our Rules. If you would like to ask us to consider reopening our review, please contact us.

What can you do if you think we have made a mistake in deciding not to continue with our review of your complaint?  

If you think we have made a mistake in deciding not to continue with our review of your complaint, you can ask us to reconsider our decision. You should write to us within 14 days, explaining why you think we have made an error under our Rules (see paragraphs 46 and 47 of our Guidance Note on the Rules for more information) and provide any supporting evidence that you want us to consider. A different member of staff will then reconsider whether we should review your complaint and tell you and the provider the outcome. If we decide that we should not have closed our review of your complaint at this stage, we will allocate it to a case-handler to progress with our review.

Judicial review

Our decisions and processes can be challenged by judicial review. The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary defines judicial review, as “a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.”

Before you bring a claim for judicial review, you need to follow the “Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review".

Please note that claims must normally be brought promptly, and within three months of the decision or action being challenged. We strongly advise you to seek specialist legal advice before instituting legal proceedings. Learn more about judicial reviews.

You may also be able to bring a claim for judicial review or take other legal proceedings against your provider, but you will need to do so promptly.

related pages

What happens if we can't look at all or part of your complaint?

Find out about asking us to reconsider our decision.

Guidance on the Rules

This Guidance Note explains what some of the terms we use in our Rules mean and how we apply our Rules.

Judicial Review

Find out more about judicial review challenges to the OIA and read published judgments that involve us.