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Academic misconduct & breach of contract

A breach of contact occurs when one or more party does not honour an agreement that was believed to be legally binding, usually in the form of a contract decide upon before the start of university between the university itself and the student. The university will have its own regulations and guidelines as to what this contract will be and this will be used to determine the future relationship between themselves and the student.

Then most come across situation where a breach of contract may occur is when a student has become involved in an Academic Misconduct procedure. Some of the time the student cannot continue their course until the procedure is complete or leave the university until the final decision. In some of these cases it has become visible that the university is delaying the process unfairly which has ended up damaging the students education – in this case the student can pursue a Breach of Contract. Another situation that is common is if the university has misread transcripts or mishandled mitigation.

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Contractual relationship

A key case that established the principal of the contractual relationship between university and student is Clarke v Lincolnshire & Humberside. In this case the Appeal court stated that the relationship between the student and university is a hybrid relationship, this means there should be a mix of private and public law.

Depending on the seriousness of the case and the amount of damages claimed by the student, a breach of contract case can either be heard in the High Court or the County court. The outcome if successful in these cases is usually to award the student with compensation for the amount of disruption caused to them, rather than ordering the university to return them to their course.

Breach of contract claims can be extremely lengthy and complicated and cases can lead to litigation.

Litigation requires a team of efficient, experienced lawyers to help you deal with your case. At Stephensons we see litigation as a last resort; it can be very expensive and financially risky unless you have a very strong case. We would usually advise that both parties agree to work on other remedies, maybe formal or informal mediation, however if you are willing to take the financial risks, we are here to help.

What can we do?

Stephensons are a realistic law firm and we understand how stressful a time like this can be, especially as cases can take a long time to complete. When we represent our clients we work closely with solicitors that have built up years of experience defending students against universities.

We aim to provide the best services and offer fixed fees for writing up a detailed analysis on your case. We can also advise you every step of the way, making sure you know every detail or risk before making major decisions. Stephensons do not believe in pushing our clients to pursue cases if we do not think they will receive adequate compensation. We pride ourselves on being an honest law firm that works to achieve the compensation you deserve.

We estimate risks and success rate by comparing the cost of litigation to the amount you are likely to receive and deciding whether you will end up with a fair amount of compensation at the end of your case.

If you have any cases you would like to discuss or need advise in similar areas of law, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01616 966 229.

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