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UCL has a disciplinary code for all students. It sets out what is expected of students, what UCL deems as unacceptable behaviour and conduct, and the procedure used when allegations of misconduct arises. Where misconduct relates to examinations and academic work, such as plagiarism or cheating you should refer first to our Guide to Examination Irregularities

This will link you to the full UCL Disciplinary Code and Procedures .

You can get advice and support from the team at the Advice Service at any stage of the disciplinary procedure. We can answer any questions you might have, explain the regulations, help you to put together your case, and attend meetings with you. Use our contact form to book an appointment to see an adviser.

Disciplinary code

UCL’s Statutes (the rules that govern how UCL works) prescribe that UCL Council is responsible for ‘maintaining good order within the College’ and that it ‘shall have disciplinary powers over the conduct of students of the College which the Council considers to affect the interests of the College, its Staff or Students’.

The Provost has the power to suspend a students from any or all of their studies in College, and to exclude a student from the College, including any buildings owned by the College. If a student is suspended or excluded for any reason outside of academic insufficiency the Provost has to report the suspension/exclusion to the Academic Board and the Council to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken using the Disciplinary Procedure. The Provost can delegate these powers.

The Disciplinary code allows UCL to penalise a student even if that misconduct has already been the subject of criminal prosecution and penalty. However, UCL will not normally investigate alleged ‘serious’ misconduct which may relate to a criminal offence through the Disciplinary Procedure unless there has already been a police investigation or prosecution.

Definition of misconduct

The Disciplinary Code defines ‘misconduct’ as ‘improper interference with the proper functioning or activities of UCL, or of those who work or study in UCL, or action which otherwise damages UCL and or its staff or students’ The full details are set out in the Disciplinary Code and Procedure .

This may include: 

  • disrupting any UCL activities, or the duties of UCL staff and students.
  • violent or disorderly behaviour
  • threatening or offensive language
  • fraud
  • reckless and unsafe behaviour likely to cause harm
  • harassment, including sexual or racial harassment
  • breaching UCL regulations
  • damaging or misusing UCL property
  • bringing UCL into disrepute
  • failing to disclose your name to UCL staff when it’s reasonable that this information is given.

Disciplinary procedure

Delegated Powers

The Deputy Registrar (Operations and Planning) has delegated responsibility for the Disciplinary Procedure. All references to the Registrar in this Code and Procedure should be understood to include also the Deputy Registrar (Operations and Planning). The Provost can delegate responsibility to the Vice-Provost.

Suspension and exclusion pending a hearing

  • Suspension and Exclusion are NOT penalties. They are a means to ensure the safety and fair investigation of a disciplinary matter until the matter has been carried through the procedures in full and a decision made. They are only applied where it is felt that there is an urgent need to take this action, and written reasons for this decision will be recorded and should be shared with you.
  • Suspension is being stopped from attending, accessing or participating in UCL activities, such as lectures, the library, events, labs. Suspension can allow for certain activities, such as being allowed to attend exams.
  • Exclusion is selective restriction on attending or accessing UCL, or particular functions of UCL such as membership of a committee. The details of the exclusion must be specified in writing.

If you are the subject of a complaint or if you are the being investigated by the police, or have a pending criminal charge, the Provost can suspend or exclude you from UCL until your disciplinary hearing, or criminal trial has been completed.

You cannot be suspended or excluded without being given the chance to represent your case to the Registrar. The Registrar will then make a recommendation to the Provost as to whether you should be suspended or excluded. You have the right to represent your case to the Provost in writing if the Registrar recommends suspension or exclusion.

Usually exclusion from restricted activities or spaces will be used, but if the Registrar feels this is inadequate then suspension may be applied.

Suspension or exclusion can include a requirement for you to have no contact with a particular person, for example the person who put in a complaint.

The Provost can suspend you with immediate effect if there is great urgency to do so. You can make a representation of your case, in writing, to the Provost. This must be done within 10 days of receiving written notification of your suspension.

The suspension/exclusion will be reviewed every four weeks by the Provost or Registrar (whoever took the original decision), and will take into consideration any developments or representations. This will be reported to the next meeting of Academic Board and Council.


Procedure for handling complaints of misconduct : first stage

Complaints about misconduct are sent to the Registrar, who makes the decision as to whether further action under the Disciplinary Code needs to be taken, including making a referral to the Disciplinary Committee. If the Registrar finds that the alleged misconduct should be dealt with under the Disciplinary Code they will hold a preliminary interview with you before deciding whether and, if so, how to proceed. you have the right to be accompanied by a ‘friend’. Your ‘friend’ must be a member of UCL, so can be a member of UCL staff, an Advice Service team member, a sabbatical officer or a friend. It is important that you attend this interview, because failing to attend can be a disciplinary offence in itself.

The Registrar can take informal action, and can impose any one or more of these penalties:

  • an oral or written reprimand - recorded by the Registrar
  • a written reprimand - recorded on your student file and copied to your Head of Department
  • payment of compensation for damage
  • a fine of up to £300
  • a community service order - weeding gravel, clearing litter, shelving library books, photocopying
  • a ‘good behaviour’ agreement
  • exclusion from areas of UCL not directly interfering with your academic work
  • conditions on your access to UCL facilities where this is necessary for safety and security of the UCL community

The Registrar will send you a letter outlining their decision and stating the penalty which will be imposed (if any).

UCL halls of residence

Wardens of UCL houses/halls can take action within their house/hall of residence. If there has been an allegation of misconduct the Warden will have an interview with you, and you have the right to be accompanied by a ‘friend’. Your ‘friend’ must be a member of UCL, so can be a member of UCL staff, an Advice Service team member, a sabbatical officer or a friend. If the Warden finds that there has been misconduct they can impose any one of more of the following penalties:

  • an oral or written reprimand from the Warden
  • a written reprimand from the Warden copied to the Registrar
  • a community service order
  • compensation for damage
  • withdrawal of house/hall privileges
  • a fine of up to £300
  • recommendation to the Registrar that no further UCL accommodation is granted in the future
  • recommendation to the Registrar that the misconduct is referred to the Disciplinary Committee or that UCL takes eviction proceedings.

The Warden must tell you about your right to appeal the decision. The process for appealing can be found in the Appeals section below.

A Warden cannot evict you from UCL Halls of Residence. This must be referred to the Registrar who must request the Director of Student Accommodation initiates legal proceedings. You have legal rights against eviction, so if this is the case seek advice early from the Advice Service.

Appealing the decision of a warden or registrar

If the Registrar or a Warden has imposed a penalty on you according to the above you can appeal that decision, but only on the following grounds:

  • that the penalty imposed was outside of the scope of the Disciplinary Code
  • that new evidence has become available that wasn’t available at the time
  • that the penalty was excessive
  • that the penalty wasn’t one which is prescribed in the Disciplinary Procedure

The appeal will be heard by the Disciplinary Committee.

To appeal a decision of the Registrar you need to write to the Provost, setting out your grounds for appealing. You must write within one week of receiving the letter from the Registrar stating the penalty.

Usually the Registrar will consider an appeal if it is made against the decision of a Warden in relation to Halls of Residence.

The Registrar can exclude a student from UCL buildings and premises until a meeting of the Disciplinary Committee, or for up to 4 weeks. During this time you may be permitted by the Registrar to enter UCL premises at stated times in order to prepare your case - for example where you have an appointment with the Advice Service.


Procedure for handling complaints of misconduct : second stage

Who are the discipline commitee?

The Discipline Committee are a panel who make decisions on cases of discipline under the Disciplinary Code and Procedure.

The Disciplinary Committee is 5 people:

  • Chair: the chair holds this role for three years, and is appointed by Council
  • Student: an elected sabbatical officer of the Union
  • Two Academic Staff: chosen from a panel of UCL staff across all faculties
  • An external person: appointed by the Provost from a panel of nominees approved by Council.

There is also a Secretary of the Discipline Committee who is not part of the decision making process, but can advise on procedures, and record the hearing. There is usually a single audio recording made of the meeting to make sure that there is an accurate and available record. No recording will be made when the Discipline Committee withdraws to make it’s decision.

The Disciplinary Code and Procedure  sets out in full the details of what happens if the Discipline Committee needs to appoint new or different members.

You have the right to seek support from what is often known as a ‘McKenzie Friend ’. This is a person who can attend the hearing with you to provide moral support - not legal representation.

You may also choose to take a friend or family member to support you, however, they would not usually be allowed to speak on your behalf or represent you.
You must tell the Secretary of the Committee if you want to bring a representative, and inform the Secretary who they are.
If you do not want representation then you need to confirm this in writing to the Secretary.

You may submit documents, including a statement representing your case, and documentary evidence such as emails, or letters. Any documents you have sent in response to being notified of the alleged offence will also be shared with the Discipline Committee, so it is important that you think carefully, and get advice before sending anything in writing once you have been informed of alleged misconduct.
Any documents received by the Discipline Committee from UCL will be shared with you ahead of the meeting. This includes witness statements from staff or students if this is relevant.

What happens at a discipline committee meeting?

If the matter needs to be heard by the Disciplinary Committee then you will be informed in writing by the Chair of the Committee. They will give you the details of the alleged misconduct, what regulations this may have broken and you will be sent a copy of the Disciplinary Code and Procedure in full.

The Registrar will present the case on behalf of UCL to the Committee.

The Secretary will tell you in writing where and when the Discipline Committee meeting will be. You must be given at least 14 days notice of any meeting.
You are expected to attend the meeting, and the Discipline Committee can go ahead and hear the case without you there if you do not attend.

  1. The representative for UCL (usually the Registrar) will make a statement about the alleged misconduct, and any general evidence as relevant.
  2. You will be asked by the Chair whether you confirm or deny the allegation that was stated.
  3. If you choose to confirm the allegation, you will be then asked if you have any statement to make in mitigation - which means you can tell the Committee if there were any reasons, or circumstances that caused your action, or anything you believe should be taken into consideration, such as an excellent academic record, no previous problems etc.
  4. If you deny the allegation the Registrar will then be allowed to introduce any witnesses if this is relevant. You or your representative will have an opportunity after this to say if you do not think the case was made clear enough or established well enough by the statements and evidence put forward, however the Chair can rule this out if the Committee feels the case was set out acceptably.
  5. You will also get an opportunity to make a statement, bring forward a witness and highlight evidence. Your representative can do this on your behalf. It is very important that you include as much as you can in your statement and evidence submission to the Discipline Committee BEFORE the meeting. The Committee will need the time to review this information, and may choose not to allow any new evidence, unless that evidence could not have been available when you submitted your statement.
  6. There will be some time set aside for the Discipline Committee to ask questions, to the Registrar, to yourself and to any witnesses. This is to make sure that they have all of the information they need to make a decision about the case, and to ensure they fully understand everything that is presented to them.
  7. You will also be allowed to ask questions of any witnesses. You will need to direct your questions to the Chair of the Committee. You will only be allowed to ask questions once the evidence has been set out in full, apart from questions of clarification. If you are unsure you can check with your representative.
  8. Once all the evidence has been set out, and all the questions asked, you or your representative may make a final statement to the Disciplinary Committee to say whether the complaint has been established. The Registrar will have the same opportunity on behalf of UCL.
  9. The Discipline Committee will withdraw to discuss the case and make their decision. They have two questions to decide 1/ has there been a disciplinary offence committed? 2/ what penalty should apply to this offence?

You will usually be told the decision of the Committee on the same day as the hearing, however if the Committee need to see additional information or need further time to make a decision you will be informed at a later date in writing of the decision. This will be no later than three days after the hearing.

Penalites

The Discipline Committee can dismiss the complaint on the grounds that no disciplinary offence was established by the evidence presented.

If the Discipline Committee decides a disciplinary offence has been committed they have the power to impose one or more penalties from:

  • a reprimand from the Committee, recorded and sent to your Head of Department
  • a fine no more than £600
  • community service to be decided by the Committee
  • exclusion for a stated period from UCL premises and buildings, subject to conditions set by the Committee
  • exclusion from membership of UCL, and permanent exclusion from UCL premises and buildings
  • compensation payment for damage to people or property
  • requirement to agree to certain specified conditions in order to be allowed to progress on with your studies at UCL.

Discipline review body

There is a second group of people, called the Discipline Review Body, who hear appeals against the decisions of the Discipline Committee.

The Discipline Review Body is 3 people

  • 1 Chair - a member of the legal profession, not a member of UCL Council or UCL staff, appointed for a three year term
  • 1 person from a panel of people nominated by Council, who is not a member of UCL Council, UCL staff or a UCL student
  • 1 registered student of another University, usually from the University of London.

Your appeal must be received by the Secretary of the Discipline Review Body within 28 days of the written notification of the decision of the Discipline Committee.

Nobody in the Discipline Review Body is allowed to have any involvement in the Discipline Committee procedure, such as being on the panel, or being a witness to your case.

You will be given 14 days notice of the meeting.

You have the right to attend the meeting, and you can be there throughout all of the meeting except when the Disciplinary Review Body withdraw to discuss and make their decision.
As with the Disciplinary Committee meeting you have the right to bring a ‘friend’ as a representative.

The case for upholding the decision of the Discipline Committee will be presented by a UCL Representative, the details about this can be found in the full Disciplinary Code and Procedure .

The Discipline Review Body reconsiders the findings of the Discipline Committee. This will be based on looking at a note of the evidence heard and seen by the Discipline Committee, documentary evidence, a note on the submissions made by both parties, and a note on the findings and decision of the Discipline Committee.

You do not have the right to submit any fresh evidence to the Discipline Review Body, neither does the UCL Representative. The only exception is where evidence might establish matters of fact already raised. If this new evidence does become available you will need to give a good reason as to why it was not available to the Discipline Committee.
You have the right to see copies of all the documents listed here. You must request this no less than 4 working days before the date of the Review meeting.

What happens at a discipline review body meeting?

The procedure is set out in full detail in the Disciplinary Code and Procedure .The Chair of the Discipline Review Body makes the decision on how the meeting will be held.
Yourself, your representative and the UCL representative will be admitted to meet the Discipline Review Body.

  1. You will be invited to summarise your grounds for appeal - it is important that you think carefully about what you say, and you may wish to discuss this and prepare a statement with the Advice Service adviser. Your representative can make this statement for you.
  2. The UCL Representative will also be asked to make a statement as to why the decision of the Discipline Committee should be upheld.
  3. The Discipline Review Body can ask you and the UCL Representative questions, and everyone other than the Discipline Review Body will be asked to leave the room whilst the Body make their decision.
  4. You will be invited back into the meeting, with your representative and the UCL Representative, and the Chair will tell you the decision of the Discipline Review Body.

You will be issued with a completion of procedures letter within 10 working days of the date of the meeting. This means that UCL has completed all of it’s internal procedures and will not review the matter any further.


Complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

You have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if you believe you have grounds to do so. This must be done within 3 months of the date of the completion of procedures letter.

If you want to know more about this you can see our Guide to the OIA, and contact us for an appointment with a Advice Service adviser.