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The University provides students with the right of appeal for circumstances where an academic decision affecting them has failed to adhere to published policy and/or procedure; or where compelling new evidence is available that was not available at the time the original decision was made.
The Academic Appeals process provides students with the right of appeal against a range of academic decisions on the following grounds:
- where there has been a breach of procedural fairness; or
- where substantial and relevant new or fresh evidence is available that was not available for the student to provide when the original decision about the student’s case was made.
An appeal is different to a complaint and the appeals process can only be used where one or more of the above grounds for appeal are met.
The Academic Appeals Procedures guide the administration of appeals and is an important resource for students considering an appeal.
Raising concerns with the original decision-maker
Students are encouraged to first discuss their concerns with the original decision-maker, usually the subject coordinator or APA, to gain a better understanding of why the decision was made. Sometimes the matter will be resolved without the need for an appeal.
Frequently Asked Questions for Students
What decisions can I submit an appeal against?
You can appeal against a decision made under the policies listed in the
You may also submit an appeal for decisions made under policies not listed in the procedure if there is no independent appeals process documented in the policy.
What does procedural fairness mean?
Believing the outcome of a decision is unfair does not constitute a breach in procedural fairness.
Procedural Fairness is a legal principal defined by the Australian Law Reform Commission that means acting fairly in administrative decision making.
The three main principles of procedural fairness are:
- Did you know the details of the matter/academic decision that adversely affected you?
- Did you have the opportunity to provide comment on the matter for the decision maker to consider before the decision was made?
- Was the decision maker fair and unbiased?
Decision-making at the University is guided by formal Policy and Procedure and correct and fair procedures must be used when decisions are made by staff. Procedural fairness is concerned with the procedures used by a decision maker in determining an outcome, and not with the outcome itself.
A valid appeal must demonstrate that any one of the three principles of procedural fairness was breached and/or that the decision made was not in accordance with University policies, procedures, and rules.
It is important that you review and understand the policy, procedure or rule that the decision was made under, when determining whether there are grounds for appeal.
Can I appeal my result in a subject?
If you believe your final grade does not accurately reflect your performance against the subject criteria the correct process to use is the Review of Grade.
The Appeals process is not an alternate mechanism for having your Review of Grade application reassessed. You may submit an appeal against the outcome of your Review of Grade if one, or both grounds for appeal are met.
What is the deadline for submitting an appeal?
You have 20 business days from the date of the decision to submit your appeal. The date of decision is considered as the date the outcome was sent to you, which is not always the date that you first viewed the outcome.
Business days are working days of the University and do not include weekends, public holidays, and University closures.
How do I submit an appeal?
Download the Student Appeal Form and complete all of the required form sections and ensure the application includes a concise description of all relevant details, including a clear timeline of events in chronological order. All supporting documentation should be appropriately named and dated.
Submit your completed application form and all supporting documents to StudentSenateAppeals@westernsydney.edu.au.
What happens when you receive my appeal?
Your application will undergo an initial review in the Office of Governance Services to check that it is complete and grounds for appeal have been demonstrated. If further information is required from you, you will be advised of a deadline to provide this information. It is recommended that you regularly check your student email for updates, or requests for further information.
Complete applications are then assessed by the Chair of Academic Senate (or nominee) and appeals that establish valid grounds as stipulated in clause (11) of the Academic Appeals Procedures, will be accepted and referred for consideration by the Academic Appeals and Integrity Committee (AAIC) within ten (10) business days of the Chair’s decision.
Where the Chair determines that the application has failed to establish valid grounds of appeal, a second independent review is undertaken, and if the independent review does not support the Chair’s determination, the appeal will progress to the Committee for consideration.
The Committee will then determine if your appeal is upheld (successful) or dismissed (unsuccessful) and advise you of the outcome.
How long will it take?
You need to allow 4-6 weeks for the resolution of your appeal, especially during peak appeal periods which are the weeks following the official release of results. The full process and timelines are documented in Section 4 of the Academic Appeals Procedure.
A poor application that does not clearly demonstrate grounds for appeal will only delay review and resolution of your appeal.
What happens if my appeal is upheld (successful)?
If the Committee upholds the appeal, then it will either:
- substitute its own findings, and, if applicable, set aside or vary any decision previously made; or
- if it decides that the original finding or decision regarding the student should not be set aside or varied, despite allowing the appeal, confirm that finding or outcome.
What happens if my appeal is dismissed (unsuccessful)?
If the Committee dismisses an appeal, then the original finding will stand. The Committee’s decision is final, and there is no further avenue of internal appeal available in relation to the same matter/issue. (Clause 40 of the Academic Appeals Procedures).
Where can I find support?
Staff in the Office of Governance Services can provide advice to you in relation to the appeals process, related policy restrictions and application requirements, and you can contact them at StudentSenateAppeals@westernsydney.edu.au
The Welfare Service can provide free and confidential assistance to navigate university processes including appeals. Contact the Welfare Service via WesternNow or 1300 668 370 (option 4 then option 1) to book an appointment.
Outside of the Appeals process, the University’s Counselling service can provide free and confidential support to help you overcome any barriers that may be impacting your study.
If you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, please contact Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education on 1300 897 669 or visit the Badanami website at the following link: Badanami Student Services.
Do further avenues of appeal exist?
If you believe the University has not properly followed its published policies and procedures in determining the outcome of your appeal, you have the option of making a complaint to NSW Office of Ombudsman.
Before lodging a complaint to the NSW Ombud it is recommended to have your case procedurally reviewed by the University’s Complaints Resolution Unit.
If you are an international student holding an Australian visa, you may submit an external complaint to the Overseas Student Ombudsman via the NSW Office of Ombudsman within 10 business days of the decision on your appeal.
For more information, please visit https://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/Making-a-complaint.