Academic Appeals Lawyer

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University And College Appeal Policies

Unless expressly stated, a decision of the university or college is subject to challenge. Most universities and colleges will have an Academic Appeal procedure in place. These procedures must be complied with by the university or college to ensure that you are treated fairly.

The team at Toronto Academic Appeals have dealt with many Academic Appeals in any given year. it is important that you get your advice early.

We have experience at drafting the initial submission, ensuring relevant evidence reviewed and provided, dealing with a response to the university or college position and finally ensuring you get a fair hearing. In every instance, our office will review each file in detail and ensure that the right procedures are being followed. Below are some useful resources and links form each of the universities and colleges.

The information below is not legal advice and merely provided for research and information purposes. Students are advised to verify policies and procedures with their respective institutions.

Brock University

Policies and Procedures. Undergraduate Grade Appeals are outlined in the Academic Calendar and in section 12 of the Faculty Handbook. The Registrar’s website has detailed information about Academic Status including Probation, Suspension and Debarment. Appeal’s Process. The Undergraduate Calendar outlines the procedure for appealing an academic suspension. The Registrar’s Office also offers tips and a sample appeal letter for students to follow.

Carleton University

Students who disagree with the grade assigned by an instructor have the option of requesting a grade review (Informal and Formal Appeal of Grade)

Students who face circumstances, beyond their control that adversely affect the ability to meet academic obligations may submit a petition, which is a formal request for accommodation with regard to the normal regulations and deadlines of the University (Undergraduate Academic Appeals)

Lakehead University

If you have a concern about a final course mark and other academic decisions, the Lakehead University Reappraisal and Academic Appeals Policy outlines the different types of appeals and the process to follow, along with the associated timelines.

Appeal Procedures

Any student may appeal a decision, if valid grounds for an appeal exist, and they must do so within the specified timeframe upon receiving an appealable decision.

The only valid grounds for appeal are:

  1. Substantial procedural or factual error, including without limitation the denial of natural justice, that reasonably could have materially affected an appealable decision;
  2. Significant new and materially relevant information that was not available through diligence prior to the decision; and, or
  3. An excessive sanction.

McMaster University

Students are expected to initiate a preliminary inquiry by going directly to the appropriate instructor, officer or University authority whose decision/action is being questioned. If the preliminary inquiry has not resolved the matter in a timely fashion, proceed to filing the Form (A or B). Forms (A or B) must be submitted to the appropriate  Office. Timelines are directly related to the Session in which the work was originally assessed. Certain appeals are directed to a hearing at the outset: 1) Academic Integrity Policy decision of a Faculty Adjudicator; 2) Form B Formal Inquiry decisions; 3) Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities – certain decisions of the Dean of StudentsThe appeals process is found here.

Queen's University

Academic Regulations at Queen’s University were designed to ensure that students are being treated fairly and equitably while upholding the academic standards of the institution. On occasion, there are extenuating circumstances that are usually beyond a student’s control that may have impacted their performance at Queen’s. Appeal processes were developed to reconsider the appropriateness of any sanctions or penalties that may have been imposed upon a student who may have extenuating circumstances. 


The Senate Policy on Student Appeals, Rights and Discipline (SARD) reflects the long history of student involvement in Queen’s University governance, discipline and maintaining order at student functions, in the residences and elsewhere on campus. The intent of this Policy is twofold: to ensure that students receive fair treatment and are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and to establish a fair, efficient method of resolving academic and non- academic misconduct.

Ryerson University

The following instructions are excerpted from the Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy which can be found on the Senate website along with all appeal forms and instructions, the Student Code of Academic Conduct and the Student Code of Non-academic ConductThe Policy should be consulted for details and should be considered the definitive source.

Trent University

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the University has made modifications to some regular undergraduate petition processes and deadlines for Fall/Winter 2019-20 full-courses and Winter 2020 half-courses only.

University of Guelph

To submit an appeal to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions: students must submit a completed Student Petition Form and a copy of the original decision letter to within 10 working days from the date of the decision letter. To receive a Student Petition Form, email Student Judicial Services at

General Appeal Information

Students have the ability to appeal the following decisions:

  1. Appeal of decision by Academic Review Committee denying a request for academic consideration(e.g. continue on probation, late course drops, etc.)
  2. Appeal of decision by Admissions and Progress Committee denying a request for academic consideration (graduate students only)
  3. Appeal of decision by Admissions Committee for readmission to a program (based on procedural unfairness and/or bias only)
  4. Appeal of finding of Academic Misconduct (finding of guilt and/or penalty assessment)
  5. Appeal of a final grade on a course based on Methods and Criteria of Instructor
  6. Appeal of a denial of a specific request for academic accommodation pursuant to the “Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities” Policy

The Committee also has jurisdiction to review and make decisions regarding student requests to expunge records of academic misconduct no sooner than five years after the date of last registration, as well as, review and make recommendations to the President regarding student requests to expunge records of expulsion. The grounds on which students can base their appeal are:

  1. The decision was unreasonable based on the evidence before the original decision-maker;
  2. New evidence is available that was not available at the time of the original decision; or
  3. There was procedural unfairness or bias.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Academic Appeals related processes fall under the jurisdiction of Academic Council pursuant to the Academic Council Handbook.

Non-Academic Appeals and related processes are separately governed by the Student Conduct Policy.

Academic matters may be appealed only after all other informal and formal processes have been exhausted at the faculty level.  Generally, the Academic Appeals Committee will review academic appeals relating to the following matters:

  1. Academic Standing (e.g. probation, suspension)
  2. Grade Appeals / Re-appraisals
  3. Academic Integrity Offences
  4. Examination Deferrals

University of Ottawa

The University also recognizes students’ right to ask for a grade review and to appeal grades, for both individual and group work.

The Senate has established a Senate Appeals Committee that makes final decisions on specific cases of academic appeal once these matters have been dealt with at the faculty level. This includes:

  1. Appeals submitted by students concerning the application of regulations governing admissions, promotions and degree requirements, and any other academic regulations of the University.
  2. Any recommendation of disciplinary sanction or appeal of a disciplinary sanction in accordance with relevant Senate regulations;
  3. Any other appeal referred to the Committee by the Senate or its Executive Committee.

The Committee may also make recommendations on any regulatory and/or policy changes with respect to the regulations and procedures which it is entrusted to apply. It reports to the Senate or the Executive Committee of the Senate once a year, or upon request; its Chair is appointed by the Executive Committee.

To appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee, you must send a letter to the University Secretariat detailing the circumstances, the basis for appeal, i.e. the reasons why the academic unit’s decision should be reversed or modified, and the solution sought. You should attach to that letter any relevant documents (letters, medical certificates, etc.). As a rule, it is not useful to provide the Committee with copies of assignments or exams as the Committee itself will not review them.

University of Toronto

The Academic Appeals Committee serves three functions:

  1. To hear and consider appeals made by students against decisions of faculty, college or school councils (or committees thereof) in the application of academic regulations and requirements. Decisions of the Academic Appeals Committee are final.
  2. To advise the Academic Board on policy with respect to academic appeals throughout The University and on Divisional appeal procedures.
  3. To determine detailed procedures in its own operations.

The ADFG Office is responsible for managing the administration of the Academic Appeals Committee. This flowchart is provided by the university.

The University Tribunal functions in accordance with the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters and is comprised of two divisions

1. The Trial Division, which is also referred to as the University Tribunal.

2. The Appeal Division, which is also referred to as the Discipline Appeals Board.

Decisions of the Tribunal (the Trial Division) can be appealed to the Discipline Appeals Board.

The University Tribunal, in addition to reporting to the Academic Board regarding policy and procedures in respect of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, also recommends to the Governing Council that certain sanctions be imposed against students found guilty of academic misconduct.

There are also Rules of Practice and Procedure which outline some processes.

The ADFG Office does not handle Divisional matters. If your matter has not been referred to the Provost, and formal charges have not been laid, you should contact your Registrar. For more information on Divisional procedures, please see the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters or please refer to the At the Faculty/Division section of the website. See also this flowchart.

The Code of Student Conduct defines behaviours that endanger the health, safety, rights or property of its members or visitors, or that adversely affect the property of the University where such conduct is not, for the University’s defined purposes, adequately regulated by civil and criminal law.

Nothing in the Code of Student Conduct shall be construed to prohibit peaceful assemblies and demonstrations, lawful picketing, or to inhibit freedom of speech as defined in the University.

Decisions of a Hearing Officer can be appealed to the Discipline Appeals Board.

Under the Code, the Vice-President & Provost may impose what are known as Interim Measures. These occur if a serious threat of violent behaviour exists, and they may involve a suspension of a student for up to three working days while a preliminary investigation takes place. The suspension is not a determination of guilt and the University must review the suspension within the three-day suspension period, following the preliminary investigation, and either revoke or continue the suspension. If the suspension is continued, an appeal from the University’s decision can be made through the ADFG Office to the Senior Chair (or delegate), or the Associate Chair (or delegate) of the University Tribunal. See flowchart.

University of Waterloo

In some situations students may believe that some action or decision related to your academic career is either inappropriate or incorrect. If you are unsure at any step in this process you should contact your academic advisor, a student services advisor or meet with the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies

The two university policies that describe in detail your rights and responsibilities are:

  1. Policy 70 Student Petitions and Grievances
  2. Policy 72 Student Appeals

The University Committee on Student Appeals (UCSA) has jurisdiction to hear and make final adjudication of student appeals concerning:

  1. a discipline penalty imposed under Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour
  2. a grievance decision in an academic support setting made under Policy 70 – Student Petitions and Grievances
  3. a decision of an associate dean under Policy 71 – Student Discipline where the penalty imposed includes suspension for more than three consecutive terms or expulsion
  4. a decision of the vice-president, academic & provost under Policy 71 – Student Discipline
  5. a decision of a Faculty Committee on Student Appeals
  6. any other matter concerning a student referred to it by the Senate or Board of Governors

University of Western Ontario

A student requesting relief relating to a specific course(s) (with respect to a mark, grade, appropriateness of assignment or examination, or grading practices) must proceed in the following order:

  1. Course instructor (informal consultation)
  2. Department Chair (submission of written request)
  3. Faculty Dean (submission of written request)

Before proceeding, you may want to discuss your case with the Office of the Ombudsperson – they are a great impartial resource and provide advice on fairness and the appeal process.

For non-medical appeals please follow this guide.

For medical appeals please follow this guide.
Submission of Medical Documentation for Course Appeal Form

Click here for more information, including deadlines, on Student Academic Appeals

University of Windsor

For comprehensive and binding information regarding various forms of academic appeals, refer to Senate Bylaw 51: Academic Evaluation Procedures(List of Senate Bylaws)

Specifically, consult Section 1.17 for information regarding Grade Appeals. Section 1.181 covers Considerations for Health, Bereavement, or Extenuating Circumstances.

Refer to Section 2 for information concerning Graduate Studies. Most formal graduate student appeals (Grade Appeals and Other Appeals of Academic Decisions) are dealt with in Section 2.7. Considerations for Health, Bereavement, or Extenuating Circumstances are dealt with under Section 2.6.

Wilfrid Laurier University

Undergraduate students may appeal to the appropriate faculty petitions committee any decision made by an individual or body acting in the name of the university if the decision affects your academic standing and you believe it was made unfairly or you believe you should receive an exception to the rules due to extenuating circumstances.

You should become familiar with the university’s policies and procedures on petitions as stated in the undergraduate academic calendar. Carefully read all the information required and provided by the university with regards to petitioning. It is your responsibility to fully understand the requirements and the petitions process.


There are two categories of appeals that may be made granted through an academic petition:

  1. An appeal may be filed on the grounds that the normal faculty or university rules, calendar requirements and/or Senate-approved regulations have not been properly or fairly applied to your circumstances.
  2. You may request relief from a faculty or university rule, calendar requirement and/or Senate-approved regulation because of extenuating circumstances, such as medical or compassionate grounds.

In both types of appeals, a faculty’s petitions and regulations committee will review your circumstances and supporting documentation and exercise its discretion to decide whether or not to grant an exception.

If you have questions regarding the petition process, arrange to meet with an academic advisor in your home faculty.

York University