Our website is set to allow the use of cookies. For more information and to change settings click here. If you are happy with cookies please click "Continue" or simply continue browsing. Continue.

Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

03 JUL 2013

R (on the application of Mustafa) v The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education [2013] EWHC 1379 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 076

Education - Review - Office of Independent Adjudicator - Academic

The issue of plagiarism was not always a matter of academic judgment, but it had been in this case. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education had correctly identified this to be the case and had rightly concluded that as a matter of academic judgment, the decision was not capable of review.

23 May 2013

Administrative Court

Males J

(1)        The Claimant, a student at Queen Mary University of London, questioned whether a university's finding that a student has committed plagiarism was final, or if it could form the basis of a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (‘the OIA').

(2)        An essay submitted by the Claimant had been awarded no marks on the basis that parts of it were plagiarised. The Claimant made two unsuccessful appeals to the university's examination offence panel. He then complained to the OIA, which rejected the complaint on the basis that the issue of plagiarism was a matter of academic judgment that could not form the subject of an OIA complaint.

(3)        The ground for which permission was granted was whether the determination of plagiarism is necessarily a matter of academic judgment, and is therefore always outside the OIA's jurisdiction. A general question also arose of whether, if there could be cases where determination of plagiarism did not necessarily involve an academic judgment, this was or could be such a case. What was unclear was whether the use of extensive quotations alone would equate to plagiarism.

(4)        HELD: The Regulations Covering Examination Offences indicated that extensive quotations without proper acknowledgment constituted plagiarism. The Regulations did not require there to have been a deliberate intention by the student to present someone else's work as their own.

(5)        It was clear to the Court that the question of whether plagiarism had been committed would usually, but not always, require the exercise of academic judgment. The Court considered that the OIA had not decided that all determinations of plagiarism were a matter of academic judgment, but the facts of this case found it to be so in relation to the Claimant's essay. The OIA had therefore correctly identified this to be the basis on which the university had determined the issue. This was not a case of simply applying the rules to the facts, and academic judgment had been required.

(6)        The decision made was clearly an academic judgment not capable of review by the OIA.

(7)        The claim for judicial review was therefore dismissed. The challenge to the finding of plagiarism against the Claimant thus failed.

Claim dismissed.

Key paragraphs

[54] - Usually require academic judgment.

[56] - Facts of this case.

[63] - OIA correct.

[65] - Not simply applying rules to facts.

[67] - Conclusion.

To read the full case summary and to view the case transcript, you must subscribe to Jordans Public Law Online (if you already subscribe click here to log in).

To request a free trial click here and select Jordans Public Law online from the drop down menu

Education Law Journal

Education Law Journal

This title has now been discontinued.

Education Law Reports

Education Law Reports

Comprehensive and reliable reporting service.

More Info from £164.00
Available in Lexis®Library