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Student legal services - university & further education

From budgeting for books to cooking well on a budget, students can face a number of financial issues and challenges. Your legal rights and how to protect your exposure to financial risk are some of the most important parts of student life you need to be aware of. By attending University you are making a considerable investment, one that could cost over £45,000 over the duration of your course, some students pay significantly more without any grants and high rental and general living costs depending on the geographical region.

You need to protect this investment during the course of your studies and for your future. At Stephensons we have helped thousands of students facing difficulties particularly in relation to housing, discrimination and the appeals process. If you would like to speak to a member of our team to discuss your situation please call us on 01616 966 229.


Protecting your tenancy deposit

Students renting properties are required to put down a deposit, like any other housing tenant. There is no set amount but a deposit is typically one month’s rent. One month’s rent is not an insignificant amount, so it is important you receive this back when your tenancy come to an end. Your landlord must put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) and outline how you can get your deposit back at the end of tenancy. It is important that you are aware of the correct procedure and practice for you and your landlord. We have years of experience in this area and can assist should you find yourself in a dispute with your landlord.

Unacceptable living conditions

Student accommodation can unfortunately be left to deteriorate by some landlords. This can lead tenants to suffer ill health and substantial inconvenience. Your landlord has a legal obligation to fulfil their duties and keep the property in a state of good repair. If your landlord has failed to repair faults or not kept the house in a good condition you may find that your home becomes damaged. Living with disrepair can be very distressing, read our guide for further information on what to do if you find yourself in this situation, as well as how we can help. In some instances as well as getting the issues resolved you may also be eligible for financial compensation.

University discrimination

Universities and further education institutions can be held accountable for discriminatory acts against students under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

Further education providers can include sixth form, technical and vocational colleges, work based learning providers and adult or community learning institutions.

A student can be protected from discrimination if it can be proven that they have suffered less favourable treatment because of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment, religious beliefs or disability.

Most commonly, students bring claims against their universities or further education providers because they have failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students’ disabilities.

There are a wide range of remedies which the County Courts can order should a finding of discrimination be made, which include:

  • Issuing a declaration that the organisation has committed an act of discrimination
  • Issuing a recommendation that the organisation takes steps to reduce the adverse effects of the discriminatory acts going forward
  • Ordering the payment of compensation for the injury to feelings caused by the act or acts of discrimination
  • Issuing orders for injunctive relief. These orders require that the organisation takes measures to ensure that the discrimination immediately ceases against the claimant and others in the future

These orders can prescribe the exact action which must be taken by the organisation at fault.

The time limit for bringing these claims is strictly within 6 months less one day of the act or acts complained of. It is therefore very important that you seek legal advice as a matter of urgency following an incident of discrimination.

Accused of plagiarism

Many people think that plagiarism is simply copying someone else’s work however in reality it is more serious than that. Plagiarism can be defined as literary theft – stealing someone’s work and claiming it as your own. This can happen on purpose or accidentally through not referencing a piece of work properly but there is nothing worse for a student than working hard and being accused of academic dishonesty. If you have been accused of plagiarism I is important you seek advice.

Withdrawn from university

There can be a number of reasons why a university student has been, either asked to leave a course, or been excluded from one. Universities must have a  procedure to follow when excluding a student, if you have been excluded it may be to do with requirements of your course, maybe you have failed an examination or a part of the course or it could be down to your behaviour as a student. If you feel you have been unfairly withdrawn from a course, you have the right to appeal the decision and present your case to the university.

Call us today to see how we can help you 01616 966 229, you could also complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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