Academic Registry

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances

Are my circumstances eligible for consideration?

All circumstances must be accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence. Examples of circumstances which might normally be considered include:

  • Illness at the time of an examination or in the period preceding coursework submission or during placement
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Severe unforeseen personal or psychological problems
  • Flare-up or exacerbation of a chronic condition
  • Complication of an existing condition
  • Additional impact of a disability
  • Complications in pregnancy e.g. premature labour
  • Serious transport difficulties which could not have been avoided
  • Specific religious observance
  • University technical difficulties lasting for a short time e.g. such as an unscheduled disruption to the usual VLE provision.

Examples of circumstances that will not normally be considered include:

  • Paid employment – although exceptions may be made where an employer makes additional and unforeseen demands on an employee, e.g. sending an employee overseas at short notice
  • Misunderstanding of the University procedures, e.g. not knowing an examination date or coursework deadline
  • Transport problems, e.g. missed bus or train, lateness of lift
  • Computer or printing problems
  • Holiday
  • An inability to effectively manage your time
  • Group coursework tasks – failure by one member of the group to submit work or undertake the tasks assigned by the group; this will be taken into account in the marking guidelines
  • A back-dated claim for reasonable adjustments completed prior to the release of a formal assessment by the Disability Service, e.g. retaking an examination with extra time.
What evidence do I need?

You must be able to provide appropriate documentary evidence to support any extension request or claim for mitigating circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure that sufficient evidence is provided to enable a decision to be made.

Examples of documents which may be acceptable include:

  • Medical certificates which cover the appropriate period of time
  • Letters from medical specialists
  • Letters from professional counsellors / advisers, which should refer to the appropriate period of time. This may include the Students’ Union Advice Centre
  • Relevant legal documents
  • Death certificate
  • Letters from legal professionals
  • Letters from church or spiritual leaders
  • A supporting statement from a senior member of academic staff

Examples of evidence which will not be accepted include:

  • Personal statements from the claimant describing circumstances for which there is no independent documentary evidence
  • Uncorroborated evidence from friends or family
  • Supporting statement from Head of Academic Department or Senior School Registrar

Supporting Statement Form is available. It highlights the areas that the panel or other body will be looking for to support the claim.

For short-term illnesses where you do not need to see a Doctor, you can instead submit a Self-Certification Form.

We recognise that sometimes things can happen to you over which you have no control, but which affect your ability to sit an exam, attend a placement, or submit an assignment. In these circumstances you can ask the University to take these events into account by either applying for an Extension OR claiming Mitigating Circumstances OR Interrupting your programme of study.

How can a claim help me?

A successful mitigating circumstances claim will be taken into account by the Board of Examiners when making a decision about your results. The Board has several options available to it and may make the following recommendations in respect of your claim:

  • Permit a repeat assessment with no penalty, e.g. reassessment for an ‘uncapped mark’ on the same basis as a first attempt (i.e. that the full range of marks will be available)
  • Permit reassessment for a capped mark, where the successful plea refers to reassessment work
  • Permit you to undertake a passed assessment in order to gain a better mark, even if you have passed the module overall. If you should receive a lower mark in the re-taken assessment, the highest mark achieved will stand.
  • Grant an aegrotat Pass grade in a module or modules
  • Permit an exceptional reassessment for a capped mark
  • Permit an alternative assessment, to be determined by the Board
  • Accept a late submission for an uncapped mark
  • Exercise discretion in, for example, reassessment limits, exceptional continuation with the student’s cohort or at the end of the course, award classification or greater discretion at borderlines
  • Permit you to ‘trail’ a module (up to a maximum of 30 credits) in to the next year of the programme

Please note, this is different to Extension requests which are submitted to the Module Tutor.

A successful claim for mitigating circumstances cannot be used as grounds for redeeming academic performance and no marks will be altered on the basis of a claim. Mitigating circumstances will not negate a decision of proven academic misconduct.

How do I submit a claim?

A mitigating circumstances form should be completed and submitted to the School Registry Officer by email within 15 working days of the event for which you are claiming. Documentary evidence should be submitted alongside the form (an supporting statement form has been provided which can be completed by an independent verifier / witness to support your claim).

If it is not possible to submit the evidence within the time-frame you should indicate which pieces of evidence are to follow together with an expected date by which the additional evidence will be submitted.

If you miss the 15 working days deadline you may still be able to make an exceptional ‘late’ claim for mitigating circumstances. You will need to provide a reason why you were unable to submit a claim at the appropriate time. Please refer to the Mitigating Circumstances and Extensions Policy for more information.

How can I get support with my claim?

If you need help with completing your claim please refer to the policy in the first instance.

You can also seek advice from your School Registry Officer, the Students’ Union Advice Centre, or Disability Support Service.

What happens next?

Your claim will be assessed in two stages.

  • Stage One: Your claim will be reviewed by the appointed reviewer. They may accept your claim, ask for further explanation or evidence or ask the Mitigating Circumstances Panel to review the claim.
  • Stage Two: The Mitigating Circumstances Panel reviews each claim referred to it at regular meetings throughout the year. These are timed to ensure recommendations to accept claims can be sent in a timely manner for Boards of Examiners.

After stage one you will receive an e-mail to the account listed on your form confirming the action that has been taken. If you claim has been referred to the panel, the date of the panel will be included for reference. After the panel the recommendation that will be made to the Board of Examiners will be e-mailed to you. Letters will not be posted in hard copy.

A claim will be considered to be withdrawn if it has been referred back to you and no response has been received after a reasonable deadline, or if no evidence has been provided to support the plea following the request for evidence.

You will be informed whether your claim was accepted or rejected – together with the rationale for so doing – by email to the account you provided on the form.

What is the role of the Mitigating Circumstances Panel?

The Mitigating Circumstances Panel is a central University body which reviews claims referred to it along with the evidence provided and consider whether it meets the definition for mitigating circumstances and has been supported by appropriate evidence.

Membership of the panel includes the Director for Student Success, academic representatives from each School, a representative from the Disability Service, and the Students’ Union Vice-President for Education & Welfare (or nominee). The Panel will also be supported by the Academic Registry.

Related documents

Mitigating Circumstances Claim Form

Mitigating Circumstances & Extensions Policy

Student Self Certification Form

Request for Review - Mitigating Circumstances