The slippery legal slope

May 1, 2008

We hear from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator that complaints are increasing. One way to ensure that they go on increasing is to adopt the sort of overly formal student contract that some lawyers, and some universities, advocate ("Academic lawyer cautions on use of overly formal student contracts", 24 April).

I think it is time to return the problem to the bodies best placed to deal with it, ie, the senates or the academic boards of universities, rather than administrators, such as the Association of Heads of University Administrations - which appears to be going along a highly legalistic route. This is because it is academic issues, mainly to do with postgraduate supervision and often resulting from misunderstandings, that give rise to most complaints.

Dennis Farrington, Director, UCELNET, OxCHEPS, New College, Oxford; <a href="http://oxcheps.new.ox.ac.uk/ucelnet"target=_blank>http://oxcheps.new.ox.ac.uk/ucelne>.

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