Skip to main content

Mitigating circumstances

Definition

Mitigating Circumstances are unforeseen events or circumstances which have a significant negative impact on your ability to successfully complete, or study effectively in preparation for, summative assessment tasks such as essays, written or oral examinations, assessed presentations or assessed laboratory work. If you want any such events or circumstances to be considered by the relevant Board of Examiners you are required to communicate formally (normally in writing) with LDC about them. Please note that while it is acknowledged that cultural attitudes to the disclosure of personal information may vary, you are expected to fully disclose all matters you wish to have taken into consideration by the Board of Examiners. If you are unsure whether something that has happened to you, or to someone close to you, is eligible to be considered as a Mitigating Circumstance, it is likely to be eligible if it was unforeseeable or beyond your control and if it also had a significant impact on your ability to prepare for or complete the assessment in question. If you are in any doubt about whether something that has happened to you or someone close to you is eligible for consideration then you should consult your Mentor or Supervisor or one of the advisers at the Students’ Union Advice Centre. Even if the event or circumstance is not eligible for consideration in this way it may nevertheless be something for which you should seek support and the tables below indicate, in their final column, where to go to access that support. The two tables below provide more detailed guidance on, and examples of, types of circumstance which are normally considered eligible, and types which are not normally eligible.

Table 1: Circumstances normally eligible for consideration(Word Document)

Table 2: Circumstances not normally eligible for consideration(Word Document)

Submission of Mitigating Circumstances

If you think you have an eligible Mitigating Circumstance you should complete and submit a Declaration Form and submit it as soon as possible after the circumstance arises along with appropriate supporting documentation of the sort outlined in the ‘Supporting Documentation’ column of Table 1, below. The University recognizes that it may be difficult to obtain supporting documentation in a timely fashion; however, you should still register the circumstance pending supply of supporting documentation. Your form and supporting documentation should be sent in the internal mail to LDC, Senate House first floor, or by email (with scans of supporting documentation) to the relevant course inbox no later than 2 week before the submission deadline.

Outcomes

Mitigating Circumstances can never result in the changing of marks for individual modules or assessments; however, they may affect your overall degree classification. For further information on the possible effects of your Mitigating Circumstances claim being accepted please see the separate PDF document ‘Mitigating Circumstances Process and Procedures(PDF Document)

The Mitigating Circumstances Committee

The Mitigating Circumstances Committee of LDC meets to consider applications by students before the start of each academic term. Members of this small committee, chaired by the Teaching and Leanring Unit Manager, consider applications in strict confidence. Where appropriate they may also consult, again in confidence, with the applicant's mentor or other appropriate staff member(s). They then make a confidential recommendation to the relevant Board of Examiners about the severity and likely impact of the mitigating circumstances. Every effort is made at the later meeting of the full Board of Examiners to avoid disclosing any confidential information about the underlying condition or difficulty mentioned in the application. Applicants should nevertheless be aware, before they submit an application, that the full Exam Board is entitled to discuss any application to have mitigating circumstances taken into account; however, details of the particular circumstances will only be discussed by the full Board in the most exceptional of cases and every effort is made to avoid this. Members of the full Exam Board are also bound to treat any such deliberations as confidential.

The Committee will evaluate the presented evidence in order to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable cases of mitigating circumstances. An application may be rejected outright if it fails to satisfy the criteria for eligible mitigating circumstances laid down by the University. All acceptable cases of

Mitigating Circumstances will be mapped according to a 3 point scale: severe, moderate or weak:

  • Severe: severe circumstances, such as physical or psychological distress, which would be expected to be highly detrimental to a student's academic performance.
  • Moderate: medical or other circumstances where substantial impairment of a student’s performance would be expected with some reasonable degree of certainty.
  • Weak: less disruptive than the above, but still sufficient to impair a student’s academic performance to some limited degree.