Student Appeals Against Academic Decisions

These Law School guidelines for student appeals against academic decisions must be read in conjunction with the University of Sydney (Student Appeals Against Decisions) Rule 2006. These guidelines do not change the requirements of that Rule, which includes deadlines for appeal submission. The guidelines set out the specific mechanisms for appealing an academic decision made within the Law School.

Note: Personal or medical information should not be included in an appeal

When making an appeal against an academic decision, a student should only submit information relevant to the academic decision. Personal or medical information should not be provided in an appeal unless relevant to the academic decision (i.e. the appeal relates to a special consideration application). For example, if a student suffered personal stress or anxiety or illness or misadventure around the time of assessment, or a low or fail grade will have unfortunate consequences on a student's personal life or employment or future prospects, this is not relevant to an academic decision relating to the marking of the assessment.


NOTE: academic decisions which are made by staff in an 'administrative' role – e.g. an Associate Dean – should proceed directly to the Stage 2 appeal process. This includes decisions relating to Special Consideration, applications to Discontinue a unit without failure, disciplinary matters and personal academic adjustments.

Stage 0: Self-reflection and analysis of feedback

If a student is concerned about any academic decision, they should first engage in self-reflection on the matter, and consider:

  1. information provided to them by the Faculty and University in advance of the academic decision; and
  2. feedback or reasons provided for the academic decision in question (for example, in the case of an assessment mark: generic assessment feedback, individual feedback written on an exam script or returned assignment paper, or at a feedback session).

Students are encouraged to seek support and advice regarding their appeal/concern from student services such as:

Stage 1: Appeal to the original decision-maker

If a student continues to be concerned about an academic decision they should appeal to the original decision-maker – usually the lecturer or unit coordinator. Students are advised to clearly indicate when they are appealing a decision (as opposed to seeking feedback or clarification), and to provide reasons they believe an error has occurred in the making of the academic decision.

Students are encouraged to submit an appeal in writing (e.g. via email) so there is record of the discussion, and they are able to clearly articulate their concerns.

Stage 2: Appeal to the Office of the Dean

If a student’s concerns cannot be resolved in Stage 1, or because of an apparent failure to follow procedure, they may appeal to the Office of the Dean.

The student must put their concerns in writing and submit them to within 15 working days of the outcome of Stage 1.

The appeal should include:

  1. the student's appeal to the original decision-maker (Stage 1);
  2. the decision-maker's response to the Stage 1 appeal; and
  3. reasons why the student is not satisfied with the response to Stage 1.

Students are reminded that only information which is relevant to the academic decision, or relevant to the process of making that decision, should be included in an appeal.

Stage 3: Appeal to the University

If the student is not satisfied that their concerns have been addressed satisfactorily under Stage 2 they may lodge an appeal to the University in accordance with the Appeals Rule. See Academic appeals for further details.