There is a need for solicitors to get involved in internal university appeals for a number of reasons; firstly this week alone my involvement has managed to successfully get a medical student back into medical school… Secondly, a student can feel overwhelmed by the complex Rules and Regulations governing the various internal procedures. Thirdly, solicitors can help the student articulate their position in a coherent manner. Most significantly, from a legal perspective, frequently universities do not follow their own Rules and the student can be subjected to an unfair process. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that often the balance of power is heavily weighted in favour of the university resulting in a student feeling pressured to accept the decision of the university.
The various rules and policies governing the submission of academic appeals, academic misconduct appeals, extenuating/mitigating circumstances, or complaints can be pretty complex. That, together with short deadlines, set by the university, to submit such appeals can make even the saviest of students feel overwhelmed. Imagine then, if you are an international student and English is not even your first language? It does not make for a pleasant process to be caught up in.
I can only imagine that people opposed to the involvement of solicitors are people that assume the universities never get anything wrong. The word needs to get out there to the students that help is available. They should not feel pressurised by the university.
The reason I get involved is because I can make a difference, I know this because I have seen the results. The reason I can make a difference is because of the approach I take and I put the student back onto a level playing field.