Academic Misconduct

If you have been accused of academic misconduct, you may be asking the following questions:

  • What is academic misconduct?
  • How can I appeal against a penalty imposed?
  • How do I defend allegations of plagiarism?
  • What are the consequences of academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct

It is up to the university to determine what is and what is not an offence, but here are a few common academic misconduct examples:

  • Plagiarism
  • Arranging for another person to sit an exam
  • Collusion
  • Contract cheating
  • Falsifying data or results
  • Use of unauthorised material during an exam
  • Work produced by AI software (such as ChatGPT)

It may not matter whether or not you meant to commit an offence. Some universities may not consider your ‘intention’ as relevant.


In addition to explaining what is classed as ‘academic misconduct’, your university should also clearly explain the penalties that could be imposed. Sanctions can vary to include:

  • Mark of zero for the work
  • Requirement to re-sit the module
  • Re-sit with work capped at a pass
  • Excluded from university

Given that some universities do not consider intention as a relevant factor, it’s essential to make sure you put the strongest possible case forward.

So, what happens if you are excluded from university? You may be provided the opportunity to appeal any penalty set down (Stage 2 appeal). Given that you may be asked to leave university (wasting years of hard work and fees) it’s important to make sure that you submit a strong appeal.

How can I appeal?

You will be required to submit an appeal in line with the university’s own regulations and policies. It is important to make sure that your appeal is made within the permitted grounds and supported by evidence.

Universities will often set down very tight deadlines to submit an appeal, so make sure to check the exact deadline. If you submit your appeal out of time, you run the risk of your case being rejected.

How we can help

Our academic misconduct lawyers can help you by:

  • Helping you understand the complex procedures and regulations
  • Determine whether an offence has been committed
  • Consider and obtain supportive evidence
  • Help prepare a statement responding to the allegations
  • Drafting a robust appeal to support your case
  • Attend academic misconduct hearings

Our dedicated and experienced academic misconduct solicitors are here to defend you against any serious allegations made by your university.

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