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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I was told I had failed my masters dissertation and had to

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I was told I had failed my masters dissertation and had to resubmit. I appealed and won my appeal to get the dissertation remarked by two new markers. I've just heard the result of the remark and I've now passed. The place I studied is a college who's degrees are validated by major university. Because I was at a 'collaborative' college I could not get support from the University's Students Union (although the college documentation said I would). So I had to prepare my appeal and attend the conciliation meeting without the support of the student's union or any other staff at the university or college. It took about 14 days of my time and I had to miss an important deadline. I have my own business (I took the course part-time and finished the dissertation in January). I would like to sue for the time taken to prepare my appeal (which took my away from my work for my own company), the deadlines I missed and the stress it caused. Who do I sue (the university or the college or both)? Also, how can I go about it... will a letter to the legal department suffice in the first instance? Any ideas of how much I can sue for? The main jist of my appeal was lack of competency of the two markers (evidenced by the feedback report for my dissertation). I already have a PhD, MA and a PGCLTHE. My average mark (prior to being told I had failed my dissertation) for 8 taught modules had been close to a distinction (my average was 69 and a distinction is 70). For my appeal I produced a 15 page document referencing QAA policy, etc.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : For now please let me know what your losses are and whether your fail was Malicious please?

Hello. Thank you for your offer of help.


Regarding losses... I have my own businesses, so I had estimated my losses from time needed to work on my appeal as 14 x £300 a day = £4,200. This is bearing in mind that I'm a director of the company with qualifications to Ph.D level. Then there was the deadline I had to miss to submit photographs to an organisation that would sell them (the next deadline is November - 5 month later) = £500 (lost sales). None of this includes the stress and risk to reputation.


The total of the above is £4,700.


Needing to work on the appeal disrupted my business - basically it is a young social enterprise company, I'm the only worker there at the moment and my work this summer (that was utterly disrupted by the appeal) was to write funding applications to bring in money for new project(s). I had to miss these deadlines.


I'm not sure about the definition of 'malicious' in a legal sense. I don't think it was malicious (at least I don't think I have evidence for it being malicious although I had challenged my marking on two earlier modules). I did the course part time and took a break in the middle so there had been a complete change of staff whilst I was there.


What my appeal did focus on was *lack of competency* of both of the markers - they showed in their marking of my thesis that they were not fit/able to mark my thesis by the comments that they made.


Also critical is the fact that I had none of the promised support (i.e. from the Students' Union) in working on my appeal - and the documentation of the collaborative college was inaccurate and misleading.

Alex Watts : You need to write and set out your losses and request a payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
Alex Watts : If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
Alex Watts : The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
Alex Watts : If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please

Thank you Alex - this is helpful. I assume that the claim should be made to the college at which I studied and not the University that validates their degrees? My appeal had to go to the University.


As well as claiming for lost work days, can I put in an item for 'stress and disruption to work' over the 2-3 month period that it took to resolve the matter (e.g. £1000)? It was only on Friday that I found out that I had passed and wouldn't need to rewrite my thesis. Up till then I had had to plan for the fact it might have needed to be rewritten.


One last question, I think. Is it the County Court in the county where the college is or where I live?

Alex Watts :

It would be your local Court, but it would be transferred automatically to your own home Court.

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