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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Mature student submitted academic work via post before deadline.

Resolved Question:

Mature student submitted academic work via post before deadline. Assignment arrived beyond deadline and penalty imposed. Implications may be that marks are now insufficient to support post graduate study option.
The student handbook which outlines rules are not explicit and are positively misleading regarding this area - would like legal advice how best to challenge this from a contractual stance.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.
Alex Hughes : How long before the deadline and by what method exactly was this work submitted?

Hi Alex, thank you for your response.


The method of posting was Royal Mail Special Delivery.

Alex Hughes : And how long before the deadline was this submitted?

The time of posting was nearly 2 hours before the deadline.

Alex Hughes : 2 hours or 2 days?


Alex Hughes : I'm confused - how would special delivery arrive within 2 hours?

It wouldn't - there is nothing in the contract that specifies that it must arrive by the deadline. The wording implies that to post is to submit.

Alex Hughes : OK. Well you can certainly argue that with the institution but Royal Mail Special Delivery guarantees next day delivery not delivery within 2 hours. You can argue the point about the ambiguity in the handbook but if the deadline is 4 pm on Friday, for example, then your
Alex Hughes : work is expected to arrive by that time. As a matter of common sense posting an item at 2 p.m. on Friday will not result in its arrival at 4 p.m.
Customer: So I am entitled to less time than students who live closer to Uni and submit by hand?
Customer: by a matter of days...
Alex Hughes : That's something you have to take up with the University. Presumably the deadlines etc were published well in advance of the date for submission. I have no idea what their policies are.
Customer: Yes I plan to but wanted some advice about who may be able to appraise the contract wording and support my claim from a legal stance - which is why I'm here.
Alex Hughes : If you attach the document in question I will happily have a look at it for you.
Customer: The deadlines were published but the rules regarding posting are not explicit and are actually a little misleading. Thanks , here is the link.
Customer: Page 100 refers.
Alex Hughes : OK. Bear with me.
Customer: Thanks. My understanding is that one must submit by the published time and date. But it says that you can submit by post - perhaps wrongly I assumed that posting was submitting - I could easily have driven the 60 mile round trip and submitted on time. My point is that their rules regarding the definition of submitting are not explicit and are slightly misleading. Leeds university certainly accept the time of posting as the time of submission - I don't think this is unreasonable...
Alex Hughes : Throughout the handbook the University refers to "submissions" and "submission deadlines". No definition is given for the word "submission" so we look to the Oxford Dictionary for the meaning of the word. According to the dictionary definition submission means the "action of presenting a proposal or document for consideration by another person". The University says this had to be done by 4.30 p.m. on a particular day. It is arguable, therefore, that "submitting" a document by special delivery 2 hours before the deadline amounts to submission and if the University had intended a different meaning then the words "received" or "delivered to" should have been used. You appear to have submitted the paper by the deadline. However, this interpretation is somewhat legalistic and is unlikely to be accepted by the University who will no doubt argue that, as a matter of common sense and ordinary practice, submission means to deliver. Furthermore, "presenting" to the post office is not the same as presenting to the University.
Customer: Okay that's pretty much what I did in coming to the conclusion that I submitted on time and it's pretty much what the Uni did in their response to me. Is there no way for me to challenge this legally?
Alex Hughes : It would appear from the handbook that the only route of appeal is to the Special Cases Administrator page 110. This is a matter governed internally by the University regulations. As this is not a matter of public law I cannot see any basis on which you could take this to the Courts.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your help Alex. I'm afraid that I tapped the wrong button when rating your service - any way that I can amend this?
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
No problem. You should be able to change the rating now.
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