Submit A Claim To The OIA Within Three Months

The university have issued you with their "Completion of Procedures" letter, and you now have three months from the date of that letter to submit your complaint to the OIA. Don't delay! While the OIA claim to be an informal body, there is nothing informal about their decision to refuse your complaint if it is out of time. They are very strict on this, and will respond to a breach in the same way that a court of law would.

Prepare your case carefully. We cannot emphasise this enough. The case that the OIA receive from you is the one that they will consider. Nothing that you submit in documents later will be considered, no matter how true and how significant it is, if it was not mentioned in the original submission.

Remember that the OIA can only consider a very limited range of complaint types. They cannot and will not consider anything that is related to "Academic Judgement", no matter how unreasonable that academic judgement appears to be. They will not consider an argument from you that it was not academic judgement, because if the university says that it is, no matter how reasonably you state your argument, and no matter how ludicrously the university apply their counter argument, the OIA will side with the university 100% of the time. In other words, if your case is a challenge to academic judgement, then you have already lost your case. If you are in this position, contact us ASAP.

The OIA cannot decide a matter of law. This was reinforced in the High Court by Maxwell v OIAHE. If your case requires someone to make a decision about a point of law, for example, whether you were discriminated against, according to the provision of the Equality Act 2010, then you must consider going to court, instead of, or as well as, going to the OIA. Go to our section "I Want To Take My Case To Court."

After The Fact

So, Your university has attacked you. Now what? You will certainly be upset, disorientated and angry. You might also be isolated, discredited, psychologically injured, financially disadvantaged, and a host of other things besides! Listen carefully!!! ...

What Do I Need To Do?

First, decide what stage you are at:

1.  It's only just happened, I don't know what to do, or where to turn!
Stay calm...
You are not alone! We have extensive experience of what you are going through. Firstly, remember that this is probably not your fault. Secondly, remember that whatever happens from this point forward, your physical and mental health are the two most important things to maintain. Take some time to carefully evaluate the situation. Use the information in our flowchart to help you to explore your options.
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2.  I've complained to my university, but I'm still not satisfied!
Your university has procedures which it MUST follow, in order to handle your case fairly. The first stage is usually to make an informal oral complaint, if the problem is not too serious. Your university may not even recognise this as part of their complaints process, so it is important to ask for the complaints procedure documentation right from the start. If your complaint is more serious, then the first stage will almost certainly involve a written complaint. In that case, your university must recognise your complaint as a formal complaint. Universities usually consider complaints at two formal stages, stage 1 and stage 2. The "Complaints Procedures" for your own university will explain how the university will deal with your complaint at each stage. On completion of a stage, your university should decide if they accept the merits of your complaint, and if so, should offer you a remedy for your complaint. They should also explain what further action is available to you, should you be unhappy with their findings. It is at this point that you need to decide whether to accept their findings and the remedy, or to move to the next stage. Each stage will have an increasing level of formality. Once all the stages available to you at the university are exhausted, the university MUST issue you a document called "Completion of Procedures". This will be written letter or form, and will indicate clearly that it is the "Completion of Procedures" document.
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3.  I've completed complaining to my university, and have a completion of procedures letter.
If you have your "Completion of Procedures" letter, you have probably been advised that if you are still not satisfied, then you must take your case to the OIA. You may have been given a leaflet which serves as a sort of idiot's guide to the OIA, and by this time, you may be tempted to believe that you still have a good chance at resolution of your complaint. Unfortunately, the OIA's statistics tell a totally diffent story!
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4.  I've sent my complaint to the OIA, What happens next?
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5.  The OIA have issued a Draft Decision. I'm still not satisfied.
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6.  The OIA have issued their Formal Decision. I'm still not satisfied
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7.  I've spoken to a lawyer/solicitor/legal advisor, instead of going to the OIA.
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8.  I've spoken to a lawyer/solicitor/legal advisor, and I've also complained to the OIA
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