The Law and Criminology Departments are committed to providing a high quality educational experience, fully supported by a range of academic and administrative services and facilities. However, we understand that from time to time, things do go wrong, and the department recognises the need for students to be able to express their dissatisfaction where this happens, with no fear of recrimination.

The department aims to handle complaints in a way which is sympathetic, fair and efficient, which encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, maintains individual privacy and confidentiality, and permits useful feedback.

Definition and scope of the procedure

The University defines a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction which merits a response’.

The procedure is designed for complaints in respect of the student’s experience at the University related to:

  • the provision of programmes or parts of programmes of study, services or facilities by the Law and Criminology department;
  • the actions or lack of actions by the Departments of Law and Criminology or its staff.

The Law and Criminology Department's complaints procedure does not cover the following, for which separate procedures exist (as noted in parentheses):

  • appeals relating to examinations or assessments or to academic progress or against expulsion or exclusion on academic grounds (School of Law or University Academic Appeals Procedure);
  • complaints involving an allegation of misconduct by a student (Conduct and Discipline of Students Procedure);
  • complaints involving an allegation of harassment by a student or member of staff (Policy and Procedure on Harassment).

Information about these separate procedures can be obtained from the Students’ Union Advice Centre or the Office of Student Support and Services.

Law and Criminology procedure

It is advisable to voice concerns or to register the nature of a complaint as soon as possible, and to seek informal resolution and conciliation if possible. Raising an issue early can often resolve a problem quickly and informally, without the need for any further action. It is best to do this with the member of staff concerned, or your academic advisor. You are also welcome to raise your concerns directly with the Departmental Director of Teaching and Learning for Law and Criminology, who will deal with this as a matter of urgency.

If, however, a student wishes to make a written complaint about any aspect of Law and Criminology departmental life it should be in writing to the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Manager. If you prefer, you can ask for your complaint to be dealt with anonymously at this stage. However, if your complaint is to be investigated, or if you are not satisfied with the School response and choose to progress to the formal stage, then it will not be possible to deal with your complaint anonymously.

When writing your complaint you need to present full details, including everything that happened, dates, locations, all relevant documentation and, if relevant, witnesses.

The Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Manager for Law and Criminology will arrange for the complaint to be investigated, which may involve discussing the complaint with the person complained against, and heard. The complaint will then be considered by the appropriate Head of Discipline Area in consultation with the Departmental Director of Teaching and Learning and an independent academic member of staff from one of the other discipline areas in the Department.

A meeting comprising the student, appropriate Head of Discipline Area, Departmental Director of Teaching and Learning and independent academic may then be arranged to discuss the complaint. If he or she wishes a student may be accompanied by a representative of the Students’ Union, fellow student or friend. A written record of the proceedings will be made by the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Manager for Law and Criminology.

It is the Department's expectation that the confidentiality of the documentation generated by a complaint will be respected by all parties.

You can expect to receive a written or verbal acknowledgement within five working days and a full response within fifteen working days of receipt of the complaint.

Formal stage

As part of our commitment to ensuring the standard and quality of programmes of study, services, and facilities, the University has an established procedure to deal with complaints from students.

Complaints provide useful feedback information and, where appropriate, will be used to improve services and facilities. If you have a complaint to make, you should raise it directly with the staff concerned at the earliest opportunity, as matters that are dealt with informally at an early stage have the best chance of being resolved effectively. Formal complaints should be made as soon as possible and, in any case, within 40 days of the events or actions (or lack of actions) which have prompted the complaint. The University will not normally consider complaints made after this period unless there is a good reason for the delay.

Most complaints will be resolved by following the above procedure and students are encouraged to seek resolution through these informal procedures. However, it is recognised that there may be occasions where an informal approach is not appropriate and the student may wish to proceed directly to the University General Regulation XVIII which is the formal University procedure. In addition, if you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been resolved by the School you may initiate a formal complaint.

The Department Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Office, the Students’ Union Advice Centre or the University Office of Student Support and Services each provide confidential advice on complaints.

Third parties such as parents, friends, spouses, sponsors or employers may not normally complain on behalf of a student unless accompanied by written authorisation from the student.

Any enquiries relating to student complaints in the Faculty of Humanities should be referred to Adrian Hoffman, in the Faculty of Humanities Office (telephone: 0161 306 1119), a completed Complaints Form should also be submitted.

If you decide to make a formal complaint then please complete the Student Complaints Procedure Form and send to:

Adrian Hoffman, Student Appeals Complaints Coordinator, Room C28, Ellen Wilkinson Building.

The information on the Complaints Form is as follows:

  • details of the complaint;
  • a statement of the steps already taken to resolve the complaint informally and why the response has not been considered to be satisfactory;
  • the form of resolution or redress sought.

Please also refer to The University of Manchester Regulation XVIII Students Complaint Procedure and complaint form.