Extenuating circumstances, complaints and appeals
How we can help when things go wrong.
Extenuating Circumstances Policy
City's Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Policy seeks to support you with circumstances that are affecting your studies in a way that is proportionate and responsive to your needs.
The full Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Appendices can be found on the Student Hub.
The Extenuating Circumstances Policy allows for the following types of Extenuating Circumstances claims:
- Extenuating Circumstances with Self-Certification on medical grounds: Claims to be accepted on the completion of a Self-Certification Form (on short-term medical grounds only). This is a self-declaration process, and if you meet the criteria, you can submit a claim without providing any supporting evidence.
- Extenuating Circumstances with evidence: Claims to be accepted on provision of acceptable documentary evidence.
- Extenuating Circumstances without evidence: Claims to be accepted on the basis of convincing explanation, as part of your submission, as to the reason(s) why the relevant evidence to support the extenuating circumstances request cannot be provided.
Further details and information can be found in Appendix 1. Extenuating Circumstances Student Flowchart and Appendix 2. Extenuating Circumstances Claim Types & Process Table.
It is really important that you continue to let us know of any circumstances that are affecting your studies so that we can support you and take this into account, both now and in relation to your future progress.
EC Flowchart Tool:
An EC Flowchart Tool has been developed as an additional way to help you navigate the EC process. This should be used as a guide together with the University’s Extenuating Circumstances Policy. (Please note, in order to use the tool you will be asked to log in with your University email address.) To access the EC Flowchart Tool, please click here.
You can, access and complete the Extenuating Circumstances form through e:Vision and, where relevant, upload your supporting documentation.
If you experience problems with your studies, it is important that you let us know as soon as possible. Suggested contacts can be found in your Programme Handbook.
Depending on the nature of the problem, it may be possible to get extra help or advice, but it is likely to be more difficult the longer you wait. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, we may have procedures which allow for the situation to be addressed more formally.
There are also many ways in which students can express their views on an on-going basis, for example, through surveys, module evaluation and student representation. See the Student Academic Policies & Regulations Webpage for more information.
We want you to have a good experience here. If you encounter problems, we encourage all parties to try to resolve these as soon as they arise. We are committed to learning from complaints, and to identifying enhancements to the overall student experience wherever possible.
In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve problems at an early opportunity and in the simplest way. Our process includes an early resolution stage, a local-level resolution stage and an institution Level Review stage.
Student Complaints are handled in accordance with Senate Regulation 26: Student Complaints which can both be found on our Student Policies & Regulations webpage.
A set of Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared to assist students considering making a complaint.
In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve problems at an early opportunity and in the simplest way. The process we use is described in our Student Complaints Regulation as Early Resolution (Stage 1).
At this stage you may find it helpful to consult with the City Students’ Union Advice Service who are able to provide free, confidential advice to students concerning academic issues. Their aim is to help resolve any problems at the earliest possible stage so as to reduce any further impact on your studies.
Although this stage is informal we would recommend that you keep your own record of the key events, times, and people involved, both in relation to your complaint and, the steps taken to try and resolve it.
You should register your complaint within 3 months of the event which has given rise to it (or, if it relates to a series of events, within 3 months of the last event in the series).
Local-level resolution; submitting a Complaints Form
If it has not been possible to reach an acceptable resolution at Stage 1, it is possible to begin a more formal process. This allows for further and more structured investigation, and is described under Stage 2 of the Student Complaints Regulation.
In order for a complaint to be considered at Stage 2, we ask that you use the Student Complaints Form (SCF) . The purpose of the form is to help focus on the key areas of the complaint and on what you would like to happen. It also gives us a clear, formal record of the complaint.
Please see a preview of the questions in the preview document here. You can use the preview document to prepare for your complaint submission. You will need to submit your complaints using the Student Complaints Form.
You should submit your form within 21 calendar days of the Stage 1 written response.
You can submit a Stage 2 complaint as an individual student, or as a group of students. You may wish to complain as a group if a number of students have complaints about the same or very similar issues; it is likely that the same remedy would apply if the complaint is upheld. An example might be a group of students all studying the same course, in the same year, who have all been affected by something in the same way.
If you complain as a group, you will be asked to nominate one or two students to act as the representatives.
Although we generally expect that all students submitting a complaint at Stage 2 have made efforts to resolve it at Stage 1, it may exceptionally be possible for other students to join a complaint at Stage 2 because their complaint is so similar to something that has already been raised at Stage 1 and where the outcome was not felt to be satisfactory.
Requesting a review of your complaint
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the local-level resolution, you can request a Stage 3 University-level review of the complaint by submitting the Stage 3 Request for Review form. You can preview the questions and some further guidance using this document here to help you prepare your request.
You must make the Stage 3 request for review within 21 days of the written outcome of the Stage 2 complaint investigation. If you have any questions about the process please contact email@example.com.
If your Stage 2 complaint was submitted as a group, and the group would like to request a review of the complaint, you should submit the Stage 3 request for review as a group as well. It is possible for some but not all of the students involved in the Stage 2 complaint to request a review at Stage 3.
Exceptionally, it may also be possible for additional students to join a complaint at Stage 3 because their complaint is so similar to something that has already been raised at Stage 2 and where the outcome was not felt to be satisfactory.
As at Stage 2, you will be asked to nominate one or two students to act as the representatives.
Once City's internal procedures have been concluded, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your Stage 3 complaint you have the option to apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for an external review of City’s decision. Information and eligibility rules are available at: www.oiahe.org.uk.
As at the earlier stages of resolution, you may wish to complain to the OIA as a group if a number of students have complaints about the same or very similar issues. It is possible for some but not all of the students who complained at Stage 3 to refer their complaint to the OIA.
It may also be possible for additional students to join a complaint made to the OIA because their complaint is so similar to something that has already been raised with the University and where the outcome was not felt to be satisfactory.
The Extenuating Circumstances procedure recognises that sometimes students will experience circumstances outside their control which impacts on their performance in one or more assessments.. Please seek further guidance and read this information before deciding whether or not to submit an application.
The Extenuating Circumstances procedure is for unforeseen circumstances outside your control. Make sure that you access all the help and support available to you in your School/ Validated Institution or through the Student Centre for other circumstances impacting on your study and assessment.
What are ‘Extenuating Circumstances’?
City defines ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ (ECs) as circumstances which are unforeseen and outside your control and which can be shown to have had a direct and substantial impact on your academic results. This may include an impact: on capacity to study prior to an assessment, on ability to complete an assessment, and/or on performance during an assessment.
Examples of the types of Extenuating Circumstances that might be accepted include ill-health, bereavement, or other personal issues which were unexpected, out of your control and may have affected preparation for an assessment or performance during the assessment itself. Circumstances such as the availability of books, conflicting assessment deadlines, transport difficulties, routine work commitments or circumstances that could have foreseen and/or prevented will not normally be accepted.
If you are in doubt remember these two questions:
- Could I have foreseen what happened?
- Was I in control of what happened?
If you answer no to both and you believe that your performance was significantly affected as a result of what happened then it is worthwhile submitting a claim.
Who can use the Extenuating Circumstances procedure?
Apart from where stated below, the Extenuating Circumstances Policy applies to all taught students on programmes awarded by City* and is managed in accordance with Senate Regulation 19: Assessment Regulations and the Extenuating Circumstances Policy,
*This Extenuating Circumstances Policy does not apply to:
- LPC/BPTC/BVS Students: LPC/BPTC/BVS claims are managed in accordance with separate BPTC-BVS and LPC Assessment Regulations.
- The Assessment Regulations for these programmes are set out in the relevant Programme Handbooks. Please contact your School Office in the first instance, for details of how to submit Extenuating Circumstances.
- Study Abroad Students: Please contact your School Office in the first instance for details of how to submit Extenuating Circumstances.
- Research Students: Please contact your Supervisor in the first instance and refer to the student appeals procedure.
How do I submit my claim?
If you believe that you have been subject to Extenuating Circumstances, you must make a claim no more than seven calendar days** after the affected assessment. You will need to do the following:
- Access the guidance on completing the Extenuating Circumstances form;
- Assemble your supporting evidence if your claim relates to Extenuating Circumstances with evidence;
- Access and complete the Extenuating Circumstances form through e:Vision and, where relevant, upload your supporting documentation;
- Submit your form and supporting evidence no later than seven calendar days**after the affected assessment.
You may find it helpful to refer to the Extenuating Circumstances Student Flowchart and Extenuating Circumstances Claim Types & Process Table for a simple overview of the procedure.
Your Programme Handbook includes contact details of staff in your School who can provide further information about Extenuating Circumstances and accompanying documentation.
You must not delay submitting your Extenuating Circumstances form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for its submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission. If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on the form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence. Please note: any outstanding evidence must be either emailed to your Course Officer or submitted to your Course Office in person. The electronic form will not allow you to submit any evidence after you submit the form.
* LPC/BPTC/BVS claims are managed in accordance with separate BPTC-BVS and LPC Assessment Regulations.
**21 calendar days for LPC students.
Who will consider my claim?
Your Extenuating Circumstances claim will be overseen at by a panel approved by your School Board of Studies (or Validated Institution Course Board). The Panel will be made up of three people; it will be chaired by an experienced, senior academic and may include one senior member of professional services staff.
The Panel will look at whether your form is complete, whether you meet the criteria set out in the Policy, and if your evidence (where relevant and provided) supporting your case is strong enough.
Where your application for Extenuating Circumstances is accepted the Panel will make a recommendation to the Assessment Board. You will be notified of the recommendations the Extenuating Circumstances Panel make and of the decision of the Assessment Board when it meets. Where you have submitted a Self-Certification Claim, your School will typically respond to your request within seven calendar days from the date you submit your Self-Certification Form.
What is the most likely result of submitting an Extenuating Circumstances claim?
This will depend on the type of assessment you are claiming an Extenuating Circumstances for and the type of Extenuating Circumstances claim you are have submitted.
If your Self‐Certified Extenuating Circumstances claim is considered valid and at the discretion of your School, your claim will likely result in you having:
- A postponement of up to 14 calendar days for coursework assessments,
- A postponement of up to 21 calendar days for dissertations and final project or equivalent
- A deferral of your assessment to the next opportunity without penalty (please note that examinations will usually be deferred to the next opportunity).
All requests for postponement of deadline submission date will be managed and approved in line with your School’s Extension’s process.
Where, your claim is for ‘Extenuating Circumstances with Evidence’ or ‘Extenuating Circumstances without Evidence’, your claim is considered valid and at the discretion of your School, your claim will likely result in you having:
- A deferral of your assessment to the next opportunity without penalty (please note that examinations will usually be deferred to the next opportunity).
I have missed the deadline for submitting an Extenuating Circumstances form. What do I do?
If you miss the deadline for reasons which were unforeseen and outside your control then you may be able to submit an Appeal asking that your late Extenuating Circumstances form be approved for submission to the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. Saying that you did not know about the deadline, or indicating that you didn't think your performance would be affected at the time of the assessment will not be accepted as grounds for an appeal.
Please see the Student Appeals section of these pages or the relevant section of your Programme Handbook for information about submitting an appeal on the grounds of late extenuating circumstances.
Occasionally things might go wrong or you will experience circumstances outside your control which impact on your academic assessment, award or progression.
City has a number of support mechanisms in place to ensure these are dealt with as quickly as possible and you should make use of these at the earliest possible opportunity (see the Student Centre website for more information).
The appeals process is intended for the very rare cases where no resolution or remedy was possible at an earlier stage (i.e. prior to the Assessment Board approving the results of taught students or a decision being made regarding the registration status or examination results of research students).
Student Appeals are conducted in accordance with the Senate Regulations 20, 20b and 21: Student Appeals as well as the Student Appeals Policy, which can be found in Section 6 of the Quality Manual.
BVS/BPTC and LPC students in the City Law School should be aware that, although Student Appeals on these courses are conducted in accordance with Senate Regulation 20, they should refer to the individual Assessment Regulations for their programme where any reference to Assessment Regulations is made, rather than referring to Senate Regulation 19.
You can get a quick overview of the appeals procedure by referring to the appeals flow charts for taught programmes and research programmes
Before you appeal
If your appeal is related to industrial action please visit the Student Industrial Action 2020 FAQs before submitting your appeal.
Before considering an appeal make sure that you have sought advice and guidance about your concerns. It may be that there are quick steps that can be taken to resolve your problem or that the appeals process is not the best way forward.
For example, if you are worried that there is an error in the calculation of your marks you can request a marks check and, if there is an error, this can be remedied without the need for an appeal. Check in your Programme Handbook for the correct source of advice and guidance in your School/ Validated Institution.
Your Programme Director, Personal Tutor and Programme Administrator will be able to advise you and the Union Advice Service is an excellent source of independent guidance and support about problems in general, as well as about appeals. City's Student Centre also offers a range of help and support services to all students.
Different stages in the appeals process at City are managed and conducted by different people.
Stage 1 is consideration of the appeal at School/Validated Institution-level.
Stage 2 is a University-level review of the Stage 1 decision, or for cases where new information has come to light which could not have been submitted at the time of the original appeal.
Both stages include an initial scrutiny to enable a quicker process where appropriate. Referral to a panel hearing is normally reserved for cases which cannot be decided during the initial scrutiny.
How to appeal
You must submit your Stage 1 appeal within 28 calendar days of the notification of your results (for taught students) or the decision regarding your registration status or examination results (for research students). Give yourself plenty of time to read and complete the form.
Choose the form that applies to you below and follow the guidance given in the form.
- Appeal form for all taught students (except Study Abroad/Validated Institution students) accessible through e:Vision. See the Standard student guidance for the e:Vision appeal form.
- Appeal form for Study Abroad/Validated Institution students.
- Appeal form for Research students.
If you are unable to obtain supporting documentation by the deadline, you are still able to submit your Appeal form without this evidence.
You must not delay submitting your Appeal form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission of an Appeal form.
If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on your Appeal form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence. Please note: any outstanding evidence must be either emailed to your Course Officer or submitted to your course office in person.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your School/ Validated Institution-level appeal you can submit a Stage 2 Review. A request for a Stage 2 Review must be submitted within 21 days of the date that the Stage 1 appeal decision is issued.
- Stage 2 Review form for all taught students (except Study Abroad/Validated Institution students) accessible through e:Vision.
- Stage 2 Review form for Study Abroad/Validated Institution students.
- Stage 2 Review form for Research students.
You must not delay submitting your Stage 2 Review form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for its submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission.
If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on the form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence.
Please note: any outstanding evidence must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once City's internal procedures have been concluded, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 Review, you have the option to apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for an external review of City’s decision. Information and eligibility rules are available at: www.oiahe.org.uk
Case Studies and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The case studies and appeals FAQs have been prepared to assist you in understanding the appeals process and avoiding commonly made mistakes which can delay the process or mean that your submission is not accepted.
Fitness to study
We are committed to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all our students, staff and community.
Occasionally, concerns are raised about whether a student’s wellbeing and/or behaviour (which may be related to ill-health, disability or other reasons) is impacting on their engagement with their studies or indicates that they pose a significant risk to themselves or other students and staff. The Fitness to Study process allows us to proactively manage and support these concerns.
In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve concerns at an early opportunity, and in the simplest way, through a preliminary investigation or Student Support Review. If this is not sufficient the matter will be referred to a Fitness to Study Panel for consideration.
You can find an overview of the process in the Fitness to Study Guidance document.
Concerns about Fitness to Study are handled in accordance with Senate Regulation 10: Fitness to Study and our Fitness to Study Policy, which can both be found in the Student Policies & Regulations webpage.