Part H: Appeals

Overriding objectives

The overriding objective of this Part is to deal with proceedings fairly. This means that:

i.              Proceedings should be resolved as quickly as is consistent with due process.

ii.             That where a Participant requires reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 in order to participate, such adjustments will be made.

iii.            Where a provision of the Regulations or these Procedures is unclear a decision-maker should interpret them in the way most consistent with the requirements of substantive and procedural fairness to you, the student.

 

Appeals against a decision of the University Disciplinary Officer, Student Life Manager, or Deputy Accommodation Manager

 

1.            Outline

The Appeals Procedure comprises two parts:

Stage One, in which the Director of Student Services considers the appeal against a decision made by the University Disciplinary Officer, Student Life Manager, or Deputy Accommodation Manager, and

Stage Two, which you may follow if dissatisfied with the outcome of the Stage One Appeal. Stage Two Appeals are considered by the Director of Student and Academic Services (who is not the same person as the Director of Student Services) who may refer the appeal for further investigation.

 

2.            How to appeal

2.1.         You must complete a Stage One Non-Academic Student Discipline Appeal form and in that form you will need to state:

2.1.1.     whether you are appealing against the decision that you have breached the Regulations or the penalty or both

2.1.2.     the ground(s) of your appeal.

2.2.         You will need to attach to your form your evidence in support of your appeal.

2.3.         You are deemed to have received the notification of the decision of the University Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager within two working days of it being sent to you by email. You must file any appeal against the decision within five working days of the receipt of the notification of the decision i.e. within seven working days of us sending you the notification.

2.4          The University will not consider any appeal until you have been sent formal written notice of the outcome of the hearing.

Guidance: Forms are available at  https://portal.uea.ac.uk/learning-and-teaching/students/forms

 

3.            Grounds for appeal (stage one appeals)

3.1.         You cannot appeal against a decision to refer a case to the Senate Student Discipline Committee or a decision to classify the offence as low, medium, or high for the purposes of allocating the case to a decision-maker. 

3.2.         If you decide to appeal, you must tell us whether the appeal is made against the finding of the University Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager, or the penalty imposed, or both.

3.3.         An appeal will only be considered if one or more of the following grounds is demonstrated:

3.3.1.     that evidence (including any mitigation) put to the University Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager was not fully considered

3.3.2.     the correct procedure was not followed and this is sufficient to undermine the validity of the decision

3.3.3.     that there was prejudice and/or bias or the appearance of prejudice and/or bias on the part of the Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager

3.3.4.     that the penalty or penalties imposed were excessive

3.3.5.     that there is new information that should be considered that was not known to the Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager and you could not reasonably have obtained that evidence at the time that they made their decision.

Guidance: You should provide as much information as possible about the ground(s) on which you are relying. For example, if you say that evidence put to the University Disciplinary Officer was not fully considered, you will need to explain what evidence and in what way you say it was not fully considered. If there is new information, you will need to say what information and why you could not reasonably have obtained that evidence before. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from the Student Union Advice Centre.

 

4.            The appeal process (stage one appeals)

4.1.         The Director of Student Services is responsible for responding to an appeal. If the Director of Student Services is part of the subject of the appeal, or has been involved during the investigation phase of the case, or is otherwise in a conflict of interest, a suitable substitution will be made by the Director of Student and Academic Services (who is not the same person as the Director of Student Services). Notwithstanding this provision, for ease of reference the person responsible for responding to the Appeal will be called the Director of Student Services in this Procedure.

4.2.         The Director of Student Services must consider all of the evidence previously submitted to the University Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager and your appeal form and supporting evidence. No evidence submitted can be anonymous.

4.3.         The Director will determine whether there is evidence that satisfies one of the grounds set out at paragraph 3.3. The Director may ask another member of Student Services to investigate this for the Director, as long as that person has not previously been involved in the case.

 

5.            Appeal outcomes (stage one appeals)

5.1.         The investigation having been completed, the Director of Student Services will decide whether:

5.1.1.     to uphold the decision and penalty

5.1.2.     to uphold the decision but substitute a lower penalty

5.1.3.     reject the appeal.

5.2.         If your appeal is rejected and you are unhappy about that then you may have grounds to start a Stage Two Appeal (paragraph 6 below).

5.3.         The decision of the Director of Student Services and the reason(s) for it will be communicated to you by email letter. If you want to meet with the Director so that the Director can explain their decision to you then you should request that.

 

Stage two appeals

6.            How to appeal (stage two appeals)

6.1.         You must complete a Stage Two Non-Academic Student Discipline Appeal form and in that form you will need to state:

6.1.1.     Whether you are appealing against the decision of the Director of Student Services or the penalty or both

6.1.2.     The ground(s) of your appeal.

6.2.         You will need to attach to your form your evidence in support of your appeal.

6.3.         You are deemed to have received the notification of the Director of Student Services decision within two working days of it being sent to you by email. You must file any appeal against their decision within five working days of the receipt of the notification of the Director’s decision i.e., within seven working days of us sending you the notification.

Guidance: Forms are available at  https://portal.uea.ac.uk/learning-and-teaching/students/forms

 

7.            Grounds for appeal

A Stage Two Appeal will only be considered if one or more of the following grounds is demonstrated:

7.1.         The correct procedure was not followed in the conduct of the Stage One Appeal and this is sufficient to undermine the validity of the decision

7.2.         That there was prejudice and/or bias or the appearance of prejudice and/or bias on the part of the Director of Student Services and/or any person helping the Director to investigate

7.3.         That evidence (including any mitigation) put forward at Stage One was not fully considered

 

8.            The Stage Two appeal process

8.1.         The Director of Student and Academic Services (who is not the same person as the Director of Student Services) is responsible for responding to a Stage Two Appeal. The Director of Student and Academic Services must consider all of the evidence previously submitted to the Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager and the Stage One Appeal and your Stage Two Appeal form and supporting evidence. No evidence submitted can be anonymous.

8.2.         The Director will determine whether there is evidence that satisfies one of the grounds set out at paragraph 7. The Director may ask a member of the Learning and Teaching Service or the Postgraduate Research Service to investigate this for the Director, as long as that person has not previously been involved in the case.

 

9.            Appeal outcomes (stage two)

9.1.         The investigation having been completed, the Director of Student and Academic Services will decide whether:

9.1.1.     to uphold the decision and penalty or penalties at Stage One

9.1.2.     to uphold the decision but substitute a lower penalty

9.1.3.     reject the appeal.

9.2.         The decision of the Director of Student and Academic Services and the reason(s) for it will be communicated to you by email letter within fifteen working days of your filing the Stage Two Appeal letter.

9.3.         If your appeal is rejected there is no further right of appeal in the University.

 

10.          Withdrawing an appeal

10.1.      You can withdraw a Stage One Appeal at any time. The effect of this will be that the decision and penalty of the University Disciplinary Officer/Student Life Manager/Deputy Accommodation Manager will stand.

10.2.      You can withdraw a Stage Two Appeal at any time. The effect of this will be that the Stage One outcome will stand.

 

Appeals against a decision of a Senate Student Discipline Panel

 

11.          Who can appeal

Only the student(s) who have been found to have breached a Regulation can appeal against a decision of Senate Student Discipline Panel or a Chair or Deputy Chair’s summary determination under Part F paragraphs 5, 6, or 7.

 

12.          Timescales

12.1.      You are deemed to have received the notification within two working days of it being sent to you by email.

12.2.      You must file any appeal against a decision of a Senate Student Discipline Panel or Chair with the Director of Student and Academic Services within five working days of the receipt of the notification of the decision of the Senate Student Discipline Panel or Chair, i.e., within seven working days of us sending you the notification.

12.3.      The University will not consider any appeal until you have been sent formal written notice of the outcome of the hearing.

 

13.          Grounds for appeal

13.1.      If you decide to appeal, you must tell us whether the appeal is made against the finding of the Senate Student Discipline Panel or the penalty imposed, or both.

13.2.      If you are appealing against the summary determination of the Chair or Deputy Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee, you must tell us whether the appeal is made against the Chair’s finding or the penalty imposed, or both.

13.3.      An appeal will only be considered if one or more of the following grounds is demonstrated:

13.3.1.   That evidence put to the SSDC Panel or Chair was not fully considered and that this evidence was of such significance that it would cast doubt over the validity of the decision made by the SSDC;

13.3.2.   That there was procedural irregularity in the conduct of any SSDC hearing or meeting with the SSDC Chair that was sufficient as to render the outcome unfair;

13.3.3.   That there was prejudice and/or bias or the appearance of prejudice and/or bias in the conduct of the hearing by SSDC or, as in the case of summary determination, by the Chair or Deputy Chair of SSDC;

13.3.4.   That the penalty or penalties imposed was excessive;

13.3.5.   That there is new information that should be considered that was not known to the SSDC Panel or Chair and you could not reasonably have obtained that evidence at the time of the original decision and that this evidence is of such significance that it would cast doubt over the validity of the decision made by the SSDC.

Guidance: You should provide as much information as possible about the ground(s) on which you are relying. For example, if you say that evidence put to the SSDC was not fully considered, you will need to explain what evidence and in what way you say it was not fully considered. If there is new information that was not before the SSDC, you will need to say what information and why you could not reasonably have obtained that evidence before. In all cases you will need to explain why you think that this evidence would call into question the validity of the decision made by the SSDC. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from the Student Union Advice Centre.

 

14.          Reviewing your appeal

14.1.      The Secretary to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee will email you to acknowledge receipt of your appeal.

14.2.      The Secretary will then review the appeal and confirm

14.2.1.   That it was received within the specified timescale or, if it was received outside the specified timescale (i.e., late), there is a very good reason to still consider the appeal

14.2.2.   That you have clearly stated a ground of appeal as outlined in 13.3

14.2.3.   That you have provided evidence in support of your ground of appeal, if relevant

14.2.4.   That there is a real possibility that your outcome may be changed as a result of a review by an Appeal Panel.

14.3.      If one or more of these things is not confirmed, then the Secretary will recommend to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee that your appeal should be rejected. If the Chair agrees with the Secretary, then your appeal will be rejected. You will be told the decision of the Chair within fifteen working days of receipt of the appeal form.  This decision is final and there is no further right of appeal in the University.

14.4.      If all of these things are confirmed, then:

14.4.1.   If the appeal is accepted by the Secretary to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee solely on the grounds that there is evidence that there was procedural irregularity in the conduct of a Student Discipline Panel or Chair, the Director will refer the appeal to the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee to remedy the procedural irregularity. The Secretary to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee will tell you about this referral within fifteen working days of receipt of the appeal form and the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee must notify you of how the procedural irregularity has been resolved within a further fifteen days. Provided that there are no further procedural irregularities in this part of the process, there shall be no further right of appeal in the University.

14.4.2.   In other cases, you will be notified within fifteen working days of receipt of the appeal form that your appeal will proceed to a hearing.

 

Definitions

Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee is a committee authorised by the Senate of the University of East Anglia. It comprises a Chair and Deputy Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee and members of the Committee who are appointed by Senate from time to time. The current membership of the committee is set out in the University Calendar under ‘Statutory Bodies and Committees’. The Secretary to the Committee is the Head of Learning and Teaching (Systems).

The Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee has the power to make a summary determination as to whether an appeal can proceed. In other cases, they can appoint a Panel to hear each case referred to it.

The members of the Panel will be drawn from the Panel Pool. The Panel Pool comprises (a) those members of the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee who are academic staff as described in Statute 7 and who are not Principal Officers of the University; and (b) students who have been selected by the Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality) from time to time. The Panel sits in different modes according to the nature of the allegations against you. In Professional or Research Misconduct Mode the Panel will also include two additional people.

A “real possibility” is defined as a possibility that cannot sensibly be ignored, as opposed to a fanciful or insubstantial possibility

 

There will be various Participants at the panel hearing. These are:

•             you

•             any Companion that you bring to support you at the hearing

•             any other students involved in the same incident who are also appealing

•             the Panel members

•             the Hearing Secretary, who is usually a senior member of staff of the Learning and Teaching Service (or, for postgraduate research students, the Postgraduate Research Service). They do not take part in the deliberations as they are not a member of the Panel, but they may advise on matters of procedure or the powers that the Panel has

•             the representative(s) of the University who are asserting the University’s case, such as the University’s Disciplinary Officer or a School plagiarism officer. This person is known as the Presenter.

•             any Companion that the person responding to your appeal brings with them

•             any witnesses approved by the Panel Chair

•             any other person whose presence the Panel Chair deems necessary to resolve the proceedings fairly, or who (with your agreement only) is there for the purpose of training.

 

15.          Training of Panel Members

15.1.      The Secretary to the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee must ensure that all members of the Panel Pool and Hearing Secretaries have been trained before sitting on a Panel for the first time and at least every two years thereafter.

15.2.      No person may remain within the Panel Pool unless they have undertaken the training specified in 15.1 above as and when it falls due.

 

16.          Reasonable adjustments

16.1.      The University will apply this Part in accordance with its Equal Opportunities Policy for Students.

16.2.      The University will also comply with its legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. Reasonable adjustments are person specific but could include use of an intermediary or support worker, provision of documents in a different format, regular breaks, or adaptation in the style of questioning used.

16.3.      You must tell the Hearing Secretary if you or your Companion or witness requires reasonable adjustments to be made because of a disability. You must do this no later than two working days before the hearing.

Guidance: Participants should contact lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

Guidance: Scheduling of hearings: The University will try to schedule the hearing to avoid clashes with your timetabled academic activities. If that is not possible, the hearing will take priority.

 

17.          Role of the Panel Chair

17.1.      Review and approve the hearing pack before the hearing

17.2.      Lead the hearing and ensure that the schedule is followed.

17.3.      Ensure that any reasonable adjustments notified in accordance with paragraph 16 are made

17.4.      Liaise with the Hearing Secretary to ensure the identification and implementation of any Special Measures

17.5.      Ask any questions the Panel wish to ask the student, Presenter or witnesses during the hearing.

17.6.      Have the final decision on the inclusion of any evidence.

17.7.      Approve the outcome letter written by the Secretary.

 

18.          Composition of Disciplinary Appeals Panel

The Panel shall sit in one of three Modes: Professional or Research Misconduct Mode, Academic Mode and Non-Academic Mode.

18.1.      Professional or Research Misconduct Mode

18.1.1.   A Panel shall be convened in Professional or Research Misconduct Mode for cases arising under General Regulation 14 and/or 15. A Panel convened under this Mode may, in addition to considering matters relating to Regulations 14 and 15, also consider allegations and determinate penalties relating to any other Regulations that are alleged to have been breached.

18.1.2.   In Professional or Research Misconduct Mode, the Panel shall comprise two non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair; and two non-student co-opted Panel members who do not need to be members of Senate Student Discipline Committee:

18.1.2.1.               one co-opted Panel member who has expertise within the same or a similar discipline to you; and

18.1.2.2.               one co-opted Panel member who is not a member of staff or officer of the University but who has expertise within the same or a similar discipline to you

18.1.3.   Where you are enrolled on a programme that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (or are already regulated by that Body), at least one of the two co-opted Panel members must be regulated by the same Body.

18.2.      Academic Mode

18.2.1.   All cases arising under Regulations 13 and 17¬¬–23 inclusive shall proceed in Academic Mode. A Panel convened under this Mode may, in addition to considering matters relating to Regulations 13 and 17–23, also consider allegations and determinate penalties relating to any other Regulations that are alleged to have been breached.

18.2.2.   In Academic Mode, the Panel shall comprise three non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair.

Guidance: Where a case involves allegations of both academic and non-academic misconduct and the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee has decided they should be heard together (which may be appropriate in some cases, for example where there is a close causal link or common facts), then the case will be heard in Academic Mode.

18.3.      Non-Academic Mode

All cases not arising under either Academic Mode or Professional Research Misconduct Mode shall be heard in Non-Academic Mode. The Panel shall comprise two non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair, and one student member of the Panel Pool.

18.4.      A Panel must comprise the requisite constitution as set out above in 18.1, 18.2 and 18.3, in order to proceed to hear a case. Where the Panel Chair determines that the composition of the Panel is incorrect, they shall adjourn the hearing and refer the matter back to the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee for reallocation to a new Panel.  However, where the Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality) has used their best endeavours to obtain a suitably trained student member of the Panel Pool for a scheduled hearing under Non-Academic Mode but has not been able to do so, and the hearing cannot be expeditiously rescheduled, the hearing shall proceed with three non-student Panel members.

 

19.          Conflicts of interest

19.1.      No person may be appointed to a particular Panel if they have knowingly taught or been the personal adviser or supervisor of a student appearing before the Panel or if they have been involved with the disciplinary proceedings at an early level, such as because they are the plagiarism officer, disciplinary officer, or fitness to practise lead who dealt with the case in question.

19.2.      No person may be appointed to a particular Panel if they were a member of the Panel or Presenter at the original SSDC hearing.

Guidance: Panel members must be alert to the risk not only of actual prejudice or bias but to the appearance of prejudice or bias, and should consider removing themselves from a Panel where a reasonable person may consider that there is an appearance of prejudice or bias.

 

20.          The evidence

20.1.      The Panel has the power to summons and question any person who is a member of staff, officer, or student at the University, including any witnesses not called by another party, but can only ask a member of the public to provide evidence.

20.2.      The Panel Chair will decide at their absolute discretion:

20.2.1.   whether or not to hear from some or all witnesses giving oral evidence in person; and/or

20.2.2.   whether to accept witness statements and other documents instead of or in addition to oral evidence; and/or

20.2.3.   whether to hear oral evidence or read a statement from a person (who is attending or not attending) about a conversation they had with a non-attending third party.

Guidance: When considering best evidence, the Panel Chair may like to consider:

•             Whether the witness and/or third party is a member of staff, officer, or student of the University or a member of the public

•             Whether the hearing is during a University semester or outside of semesters

•             The nature and seriousness of the allegations

•             The nature of the evidence to be given and the degree to which it is accepted or likely to be accepted

•             The importance of that witness’s or third party’s evidence

•             Why the witness and/or third party is not proposing to attend

•             Whether a student can adequately challenge the case against them in the absence of oral evidence and the ability to question that witness and/or third party

 

21.          Language

21.1.      All documents (other than assessed work prepared for a language module) must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation into English. A certified translation is one that is made by a professional translator or translation company and which includes the credentials of the translator, confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date of the translation, and the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.

21.2.      The Panel shall conduct its proceedings in English. No member of staff, student, or officer of the University shall have the use of a translator.

 

22.          Standard of proof

22.1.      The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. This means that allegations must be shown to be ‘more likely than not’ true.

22.2.      The burden of proof is upon the person appealing (you, the student) to show that your ground(s) of appeal are true.

 

Guidance: What is the standard of proof?

The presenting officer has to prove the allegation(s) against you on what is called ‘the balance of probabilities’. This means that it is 51% or more likely that you are in breach of the regulation.

So, in a plagiarism case, the panel might ask itself ‘Is it more likely that the student copied these phrases than that the student came up with the same wording as a published journal article, by accident?’

This standard is used throughout all non-criminal legal proceedings from the trivial to the life-changing. Even though the panel may instinctively want more evidence for more serious allegations, that is legally wrong, as described in the case Re B (Children) [2008] UKHL 35. Even if an allegation is being made that is very serious in nature (such as an allegation of sexual misconduct under Regulation 10) or has serious consequences for you or someone else (as with fitness to practise under Regulation 14), the standard is still the balance of probabilities.

This is also why someone can be found not guilty in a criminal trial where the standard of proof is higher (‘beyond reasonable doubt’) but found responsible by the university using the lower ‘balance of probabilities’ standard.

In deciding whether something is ‘more likely than not’ true, the panel should take the inherent probabilities of that event/issue happening into account. This can depend upon the context. As Lady Hale says in the above case, ‘Consider the famous example of the animal seen in Regent’s Park. If it is seen outside the zoo on a stretch of greensward regularly used for walking dogs, then of course it is more likely to be a dog than a lion. If it is seen in the zoo next to the lions’ enclosure when the door is open, then it may well be more likely to be a lion than a dog.’

There is ‘no logical or necessary connection’ between the seriousness of an allegation and the likelihood of it having happened. Some serious events are common; some are not.

 

23.          Summons to the hearing

23.1.      The Secretary to SSDAC must give you access to

23.1.1.   a copy of the General Regulations and any other Statutes, Regulations Student Charter, Codes of Practice, Rules, and Procedures that you are alleged to have breached

23.1.2.   a copy of these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers

23.1.3.   a copy of all of the documentation available at the first hearing plus the SSDC outcome letter and your appeal documentation. (This is known as the ‘hearing pack’.)

23.2.      The Secretary to SSDAC must tell you

23.2.1.   the nature and grounds of the appeal

23.2.2.   the time, place, and mode of the hearing

23.2.3.   whether special measures are to be used (if known)

23.2.4.   the identity of the Panel members

23.2.5.   the identity of any Presenter

23.2.6.   the identity of any witnesses, to the extent known

23.2.7.   that the Panel may proceed in your absence if you do not attend or confirm the decision and penalty of the original SSDC Panel

23.2.8.   your ability and that of the Presenter to bring a Companion to the hearing subject to paragraph 25 below.

23.3.      The summons will be sent to you by email no fewer than 5 working days before the hearing in all cases.

23.4.      A copy of the summons will be sent to your Head of School and Adviser or Supervisor.

 

Guidance: Your pre-hearing preparation

It is important to understand that Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee reviews appeals and will only interfere with the decision made by the Senate Student Discipline Committee if you prove, on the balance of probabilities, that your ground of appeal is true.

We recommend that you seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

At the hearing there are several stages and you need to be prepared for each one.

You will receive a folder of the papers relevant to the hearing, including these Procedures, the relevant Regulation(s), the SSDC outcome letter, and the appeal documents. You should consider these papers carefully and make notes of any points that you want the Panel to know about.

You must confirm your attendance in person (if you are in the UK) or via an agreed videoconferencing facility (if abroad) (see paragraph 26) and whether or not you are bringing a Companion with you (see paragraph 25).

At the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to respond to what is said about the case. However, you also have the right to submit a statement prior to the hearing if you want to do so, setting out your position. You can also submit evidence in support of your defence if you want to do so. Please see paragraph 24 below.

Please note that all evidence must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation: see paragraph 21 above.

 

24.          Evidence submitted by you

24.1.      You may (if you wish) submit a statement setting out your position and/or submit evidence in support of your appeal. These documents should be sent to the Hearing Secretary no later than two working days before the hearing.

24.2.      Your statement will be put into the hearing pack. The Panel Chair will consider any evidence that you submit under paragraph 32.1 above and will decide whether it is relevant. If the Panel Chair believes the evidence to be relevant, they will also ensure that this is added to the hearing pack.

Guidance: Send your statement and/or evidence to lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

 

25.          Bringing a Companion to the hearing

25.1.      You have the right to be accompanied by a Companion. The Companion must have no connection with the allegations and therefore no material interest in the matter.

25.2.      You must tell the Hearing Secretary no later than two working days before the hearing of the identity and status (for example Student Union Adviser or fellow student) of the Companion. If you do not tell the Hearing Secretary within this timescale, the Panel Chair may decide that you are not allowed to bring a Companion at all.

25.3.      The Companion may present the case on your behalf and help and support you. However, they cannot answer questions on your behalf, or attend the hearing in your absence.

25.4.      It is your responsibility to tell your Companion about the date, time, and location of the hearing. If your Companion does not attend the hearing, the hearing may proceed in their absence.

25.5.      Your Companion may be excluded from the hearing if they are so disruptive as to impede the conduct of the hearing. In such a case, the Panel Chair will decide whether or not to continue with the hearing even though your Companion has been excluded.

25.6.      This paragraph 25 applies equally to the Presenter who, on an appeal hearing, can themselves bring a Companion.

Guidance: Members of the Student Union Advice Centre are available to act as your Companion on your request. You must notify the Hearing Secretary of the identity and status of any Companion by emailing lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

 

26.          Attending the hearing

26.1.      The hearing will be held in closed session, which means that only Participants can attend the hearing.

26.2.      You must attend the hearing if you are present in the UK, unless you have been told you must not come onto campus (see paragraph 26.4 below). It is a separate disciplinary offence to fail to attend a disciplinary hearing when summoned to do so (a breach of General Regulation 13). It may also severely harm your case, in that the Panel will not be able to gain a direct impression of you or hear your perspective first-hand. If you do not attend the hearing, in person or by an agreed videoconferencing facility, the Panel may proceed in your absence or it may determine that you have abandoned your appeal and confirm the original decision and penalty.

26.3.      If you are no longer in the UK, you may, by prior arrangement, use an agreed videoconferencing facility to call into the hearing. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are contactable at the given time.

26.4.      Even if you are in the UK, the University may decide to require you to use a specified videoconferencing facility instead of physically attending campus if it believes that there may be a risk to you or to others if you come onto campus. A decision to hold a hearing by videoconferencing for this reason is a precautionary measure and does not indicate that the University has concluded that you have committed a breach of the Regulations or a criminal offence.

 

27.          What happens at the hearing

27.1.      The Hearing Secretary should remind the Panel Chair what reasonable adjustments or special measures are in place for the hearing.

27.2.      If you have not attended in person or by an agreed videoconferencing facility, the Panel will decide whether to proceed with the hearing or confirm the original decision and penalty.

27.3.      If the hearing proceeds, the Hearing Secretary will invite you and other Participants (other than witnesses) into the room or rooms. The Panel Chair will introduce themselves and ask the other Participants to introduce themselves and in what capacity they are there. The witnesses will stay outside the hearing room(s) until the Hearing Secretary calls them to give evidence.

27.4.      The Hearing Secretary will then briefly state what grounds of appeal are to be considered.

27.5.      The Panel Chair will then invite you (or your Companion) to outline the grounds of appeal and why your appeal should succeed. You must also answer any questions from the Panel and the person presenting the case, and your Companion cannot answer questions on your behalf. You may also call your witnesses to support your appeal. You should tell the Panel what remedy (outcome) you are seeking.

27.6.      The Panel Chair will invite the person presenting the case against you (or their Companion) to respond. The Presenter can indicate (although the Panel is not bound by this) their view of the merits of the appeal.

27.7.      The Panel may also call any witnesses not called by another party. 

27.8.      You (or your Companion) and the presenter will have the opportunity to question any witnesses, as will the Panel, regardless of who has called those witnesses. The Panel Chair has the right to prevent a question being asked that is irrelevant to the issues and/or only has the purpose of being vexatious (deliberately rude or upsetting).

27.9.      If you have a Companion with you, and you wish to speak to them privately at any time, you should ask the Panel Chair to pause the hearing, so you can step outside. If at any time you need a short break to gather your thoughts, you should also ask the Panel Chair. The Panel Chair will try to accommodate these requests.

27.10.    You (or your Companion) will have the opportunity to make a closing statement. You should use this opportunity to summarise your appeal.

27.11.    The Presenter will be given the opportunity to make a closing statement. They can outline whether they believe the first outcome and penalty to be correct or whether they support the appeal wholly or partly.

27.12.    You may wish to raise issues of mitigation which are of a private nature. In this situation, you can ask to speak to the Presenter, the Panel and the Panel Secretary in the absence of anyone else. However, in order to be fair to everybody, if what you say is relevant to another Participant (for example that you blame another student for the situation) then the Panel Chair will need to invite that person back into the room and tell that person what you have said. However, it should not be necessary to tell them things like health or personal problems. Any mitigation that you offer may be included in the outcome letter and seen by others who are sent that letter.

27.13.    The Panel Chair should then ask you whether there is anything in particular that you think that the Panel should look at or anything you want to the Panel to know that hasn’t been considered but that is relevant to the appeal.

27.14.    The Panel will then end the hearing and ask you, the Presenter, and any witnesses to leave.

27.15.    The Panel will confer among themselves and decide whether

27.15.1.                to reject the appeal and to confirm the decision of the Senate Student Discipline Panel; or

27.15.2.                to uphold an appeal wholly or in part.

27.16.                    In reaching a decision to uphold or reject an appeal, SSDAC must give reasons for its decision.

27.17.                    If the Panel decides to uphold the appeal, wholly or in part, it should decide whether to either

27.17.1.                determine that no breach has been committed; or

27.17.2.                impose a lower penalty (being one that has a less serious consequence for you than the previous penalty); or

27.17.3.                arrange for case to be heard de novo (afresh) by a panel of Senate Student Discipline Committee which does not include anyone who heard the case before.

 

28.          Remitting a case back to the Committee Chair

28.1.      Where the Panel Chair believes that the hearing should not proceed (or, if commenced, continue) because

28.1.1.   evidence (or a witness) is missing or unavailable and that evidence is necessary to resolve the case fairly; and/or

28.1.2.   there is strong reason to believe that you have not received the summons and are not deliberately avoiding the summons; and/or

28.1.3.   you present at the hearing with serious mental or physical health issues that affects your ability to respond to the allegations such that it would be unfair to continue at the present time; and/or

28.1.4.   you have requested an adjournment and have very strong reasons for making that request; and/or

28.1.5.   there is another very substantial reason for not proceeding on that occasion

the hearing shall be remitted back to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee for rescheduling.

 

29.          Part-heard hearings

29.1.      A Panel Chair has the power to bring a hearing to a halt and to adjourn the rest of the hearing for a period not exceeding 10 working days without giving any reason for this adjournment.

29.2.      A Panel Chair has the power to bring a hearing to a halt and to adjourn the rest of the hearing for a period not exceeding 20 working days where the purpose of the adjournment is to enable you to obtain a report from a licensed psychiatrist or alternative appropriately qualified medical practitioner in response to questions identified by the Panel and such a delay is necessary to dispose of the case fairly.

29.3.      A hearing above must be resumed using the same Panel as heard the matter prior to the adjournment.

 

30.          Designation of a proceeding as requiring special measures

30.1.      The Chair of SSDAC or their nominated representative shall determine whether a hearing requires the implementation of Special Measures, taking into account the preference of the student Participants and the need for procedural and substantive fairness.

30.2.      The Panel shall proceed as Academic Mode (Special Measures), Non-Academic Mode (Special Measures), or Professional or Research Misconduct Mode (Special Measures) if

30.2.1.   a Participant is aged under 18; and/or

30.2.2.   the case involves an alleged breach of the Policy on Student Harassment and Sexual or Physical Misconduct and a Participant is an alleged victim of such misconduct who does not object to Special Measures; and/or

30.2.3.   a witness other than you will give evidence only if Special Measures are provided.

30.3.      The purpose of these special measures is to enable an alleged victim to give the best quality evidence that they can so that the Panel can make an accurate determination of whether or not a disciplinary offence has been committed. The existence of special measures does not in any way indicate that the allegations are true, as this is for the Panel to determine after hearing the evidence; not does it deflect from the need for careful due process.

Guidance: Special Measures are different to Reasonable Adjustments for a disability, which should be considered a routine part of the preparation and conduct of a hearing in any Mode.

 

31.          Conduct of proceedings in Special Measures

31.1.      A hearing in Special Measures may involve the implementation of a number of measures that are designed to assist a Participant in providing the best quality evidence that they can. These measures will be situation specific but may include:

31.1.1.   use of more than one hearing room, with a Participant giving evidence by an agreed videoconferencing facility or listening to evidence by an agreed videoconferencing facility; and/or

31.1.2.   all questions to a witness being directed via the Panel Chair, who will relay questions appropriately put; and/or

31.1.3.   use of a screen to separate a Participant from another Participant or Participants, other than the Panel; and/or

31.1.4.   use of an appropriately qualified or experienced support worker by a Participant (who is in addition to any Companion); and/or

31.1.5.   regular breaks.

 

32.          Notification of outcome to student

32.1.      The Hearing Secretary will normally notify you of the outcome by email within 5 working days and the reasons for the Panel’s decision. This email letter may also be copied to:

•             the Presenter, if any

•             the Chair of SSDC and the SSDC Panel chair that heard your case

•             the Panel Chair, who will have approved the letter

•             those involved in the management or administration of the proceedings, such as the Secretary to the Committee (the University’s Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality)) and staff within the University’s Academic Services division or Postgraduate Research Service

•             those responsible for you (such as your Head of School, Adviser or Supervisor, and (where relevant) Fitness to Practise Lead and/or Degree Apprenticeship Partner and/or employer.

32.2.      As stated in Part A paragraph 2, in some circumstances it may be necessary, now or in the future, to provide that information to other organisations.

 

33.          Appealing against a decision of the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal or if your appeal was rejected without a hearing then there are no further appeals within the University. However, you may make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education once our internal procedures are completed. We will tell you more about this in our final outcome.