Being consistent

Out of court settlements and confidential agreements can raise problems about consistent treatment of students

In 2002, a mature law student, Mike Austin, was awarded £30,000 by the University of Wolverhampton in an out of court settlement. His catalogue of grievances include crowded lecture halls, poorly drafted exams papers and inflated promises.

  • Enter negotiations with a student with a complaint which is ‘systemic’ or potentially affects other students too in the expectation that any compensation paid to the individual will be payable to other students who have suffered the same detriment.
  • Once it is clear that there is a category of affected students invite them all to make their concerns known so that the institution can achieve both consistency and finality in resolving the matter.
  • Make sure that this does not happen again by putting things right for the next and future intakes.
  • Make it clear to the students affected that you are doing this.  They will appreciate the assurance that other students will not suffer and that the institution recognises that it has made mistakes and wants to prevent any further slips of this sort.


There is useful information about distinguishing between individual and systemic problems on the QAA’s website at