Students Need Legal Protection Too - The Student Contract to Educate (SCTE) in the 'New Normal': SCTE

Annie Mccartney, Dawn Story, Clare Kell

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    The press is awash with claims by disgruntled students that promises made by their chosen HEI in terms of the educational provision they could expect to receive are not being contractually delivered in the new blended learning environment during the current pandemic. The (SCTE) is a consumer contract in law (England and Wales) and the rights and legal remedies for students as consumers of their education is enshrined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and associated consumer legislation. The SCTE is a difficult and complex contract with a tri-partite sharing of legal duties between the HEI/ the academic and the student.

    Students are often unaware of the contractual provisions that govern their relationship with their HEI, and that securing remedies for perceived breaches of contract are often dependent on factors beyond their control. The doctrine of judicial deference to academic judgement can be viewed as frustrating a fair student contract given the reticence on the part of the courts to hear student disputes pertaining to the quality of provision received. The OIAHE will equally not hear student complaints relating to matters of academic judgement such as quality and content of provision.

    This paper will critically assess the extent to which educational technology adopted in this new blended environment can provide admissible and valid legal evidence of the entire activities that have taken place at the ‘new and blended’ classroom coalface. The paper will argue that the digital fingerprint left by TEL tools, (provided not tampered with), can evidence that matters such as 'contact' time and compliance with module descriptors, meeting learning and assessment outcomes have been contractually delivered upon.

    The Canadian case of Abarro (2019) and Faiz Siddiqui v University of Oxford (2018) stressed that litigation should be a place of last resort for disputes related to educational provision. Providing evidence that promised education and quality of provision that represents VFM will facilitate swifter, amicable and sensible conflict and dispute resolution and provide students with a stronger legal voice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
    EventSocio-Legal Studies Association - On Line
    Duration: 31 Mar 20211 Apr 2021


    ConferenceSocio-Legal Studies Association
    Abbreviated titleSLSA
    Internet address


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