Advice unheeded

December 2, 2005

The headline of your report of the ruling by the visitor in the case of Andy Terry is inaccurate ("Privy Council overturns ruling by complaints ombudsman", November 25). While the Privy Council could ignore the advice of the Office for the Independent Adjudicator, it could not overturn a ruling.

This case was one of the few remaining where the visitor asked the OIA for advice (not a judgment) in relation to a petition to the visitor lodged before 2005. Visitatorial jurisdiction was limited and the visitor was reluctant to recommend the payment of compensation to a student, but the remit of the OIA and the remedies available to it are far wider. Both the visitor and the OIA concluded that there had been flaws in the procedures applied by Keele University. Our perspectives are different and the visitor was free to choose which parts of our advice to accept.

Now visitatorial jurisdiction has been abolished, the OIA will be able to offer solutions tailored to student needs while acknowledging that academic judgment remains the province of the universities.

Baroness Deech

Office of the Independent Adjudicator

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