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Academic Misconduct Solicitors

Being accused of academic misconduct can be distressing as well as damaging to reputation and career. If allegations have been made against you or you have been charged with academic misconduct, you are advised to seek legal representation and guidance as soon as possible.

Penalties for academic misconduct can be severe, including being expelled, having to face legal action, having your work deleted, having your mark reduced to a minimum level, not being provided with a reference and possible fines.

Our academic misconduct solicitors can step in straight away to raise a defence on your behalf and try and halt any investigation or case against you. We will ensure that you are aware of your rights and that they are protected during any legal action.

We represent students and academics across a full range of legal issues, including:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating, including having unauthorised materials or devices during an exam
  • Falsifying documents or forging an academic record
  • Academic dishonesty, such as attempts to bypass plagiarism software
  • Impersonating a student or having an individual impersonate you
  • Unauthorised collusion with other individuals to produce academic work
  • Buying essays to pass off as your own

If you are facing allegations of academic dishonest behaviour, contact Nelson Guest & Partners as soon as possible for a free 10-minute consultation.

We can talk through what has happened and discuss your options with you. We have in-depth experience in defending individuals accused of academic misconduct and an excellent track record in respect of the results we are able to achieve for our clients.

Our team has particular expertise in advising international students facing allegations of academic misconduct.

Speak to our academic misconduct solicitors in London

If you have been charged with or are being investigated in respect of academic misconduct, our legal experts can help you fight the allegations against you.

For immediate academic misconduct advice and representation, call our experts now on 020 8309 5010 or use our contact form to request a call back.

How our team can help with an academic misconduct allegation or charge

We will liaise with the body raising the complaint and work to convince them to drop the charges wherever possible.

Where this is not possible, we will work with you to establish a robust defence in respect of the allegations against you and ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for any interview or hearing you are asked to attend, which is like being in front of a misconduct panel. Where possible, we will attend this with you to provide support and representation.

Academic misconduct advice for international students

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for international students to find themselves accused of academic misconduct. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including genuine misunderstandings over UK academic standards and miscommunications between students and their learning providers.

For international students, the consequences of academic misconduct can be very serious. You could face expulsion from your course and may be required to leave the UK if your immigration status is dependent on being enrolled on your course. It is therefore vital to have expert legal support as soon as you are made aware of a potential issue.

Our experts can advise international students on their options for responding to allegations of academic misconduct. We can also advise student visa holders on any concerns about whether they could be considered to be in breach of visa conditions and if this might impact their right to stay and study in the UK.

Our academic misconduct defence fees

We offer fixed fee academic misconduct defence and representation, meaning you will know from the start how much the work involved will cost.

For further information in respect of our fees and the work covered, see our fees page.

Academic misconduct FAQs

What is academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct is behaviour that obtains someone an unfair advantage in academic work. Being found guilty can cause long-term damage to your reputation and career and mean that you are not able to complete the education you intended.

Types of academic misconduct include:

  • Plagiarism, where the words or ideas of another individual are copied
  • Self-plagiarism, reusing your existing work somewhere else, such as for a different course or in a different publication, without authorisation or in contravention of the rules
  • Collusion, where someone else helps to produce work
  • Cheating, where someone else is asked to produce the work, and you pass this off as your own work
  • Using someone to impersonate you in an exam
  • Taking information into an exam
  • Falsifying or fabricating research
  • Failing to conduct research ethically or in accordance with the required legal and professional standards

What counts as academic plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else’s work or ideas and allowing others to believe that it is your own. This includes published and unpublished work in any form. Plagiarism can be deliberate, reckless or unintentional.

Students and academics need to take care to acknowledge the work or ideas of others when they use them, ensuring they are clearly referenced. This includes material from lectures and the essays of others, as well as information obtained from books and online.

Plagiarism can be the verbatim use of someone’s words without the use of quotation marks and a full and correct citation. This could be from any source, including online work.

Paraphrasing someone’s work can also constitute plagiarism, where a few words are altered, or the structure of an idea is copied without crediting the individual who created the original.

Collusion is also a type of plagiarism where it is unauthorised or hidden or where it has not been made clear to what extent the work is attributable to someone else. Contributions by others must be clearly stated.

What are the penalties for academic misconduct?

Academic institutions consider academic misconduct to be a disciplinary offence. They generally have a range of penalties, including warnings, receiving a lower grade or zero grade, expulsion, not supplying a reference, removal of qualification or even fines and legal action. If your institution finds you guilty of plagiarism, they also have the option to mention this when giving a reference for you.

In some instances, they may be bound to be open about this and might not have the option of omitting this information. If your chosen career has a professional body that will need to register you, such as a medical board, then they could refuse to register you, meaning your potential career will be lost. Even where the misconduct was not intentional, penalties will be applied.

The longstanding effects of being found guilty of plagiarism can therefore be considerable, and this is one of the main reasons that it is advisable to seek expert legal representation. If the case against you cannot be proved, we can work to have the allegations dismissed.

Is academic plagiarism a crime?

While plagiarism is not a crime, infringing copyright is a civil offence. This means that as well as facing sanctions from an academic institution, you could face legal action from the individual or publication from where the work originated.

How do universities deal with academic misconduct?

Each institution will have its own misconduct procedure, which is generally set out in detail on its website. You can expect to be required to speak to your academic supervisor at first, and if they are not satisfied with your response, you would generally have to go before an academic review board.

What defence is there against accusations of academic misconduct?

If your plagiarism or other misconduct was genuinely accidental, for example, because you failed to properly mark and reference a quote, you might be able to appeal to an academic misconduct panel. You will need to be put forward a strong case, setting out exactly what happened and identifying how much work was copied and how this came about.

It may be the case that the institution has made an error in accusing you, for example, because of a mix-up over papers or a mistaken belief that you have cheated in some way. Again, you are advised to seek expert legal representation. Our academic misconduct team will be able to identify the key issues and take apart the case against you.

Get in touch with our academic misconduct solicitors about an investigation or charge

If you have been charged with or are being investigated in respect of academic misconduct, our legal experts can help you fight the allegations against you.

For immediate advice and representation, call our experts now on 020 8309 5010 or use our contact form to request a call back.

For further information in respect of our services, see our Regulatory Law page.