What is Complaints to OIA?
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
is the final port of call for any student who has lodged a formal complaint or appeal against their university. Launched in 2004, it is an independent body which has been set up specifically to deal with student complaints, and it is completely free to use. However, the process of complaining to the OIA can often be tricky to navigate without legal advice.
Under the terms of the Higher Education Act 2004, the OIA is empowered to make decisions on any complaints which have been made by students about their university. In every case, the complaint must be instigated by the student, and the student should be able to prove that they have exhausted every other channel of complaint. This may involve sending proof of any formal complaint which was made to the university in the first instance; as well as evidence of any subsequent appeals processes or hearings.
The OIA is available to receive complaints on a variety of issues, including breach of contract, negligence, instances of academic failure, fitness to practise issues and plagiarism. It handles any cases which have already made their way through the university's procedures, making it a great option for students who feel that their case was not properly dealt with in the first instance.
We have a long history of working with the OIA and achieving positive outcomes for our clients. We prefer to get involved at the earliest possible stage, helping you to draft your complaint once you have received the Completion of Procedures Letter and then filling in the OIA’s Scheme Application Form and ensuring that it has been submitted in line with the deadline.
At this stage, the university will be invited to submit comments and evidence to support their case. Once the OIA has received all the relevant documentation from both parties, it will make a decision on the case.
If the case is won by the student, the OIA has the authority to make formal recommendations to the university.
If the case is won by the university, the student may challenge the OIA's decision by way of a judicial review in the High Court. Alternatively, a student can consider, at this stage, a breach of contract and/or negligence claim or other civil claim.
If you want to know more about how we can help with your complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, please do not hesitate to contact us today
and let our team know the precise details of your case.