Heavyweight Barristers. Fighting Your Corner.


Alpha Academic Appeals combines a professional approach with a friendly service.  We understand the significance of the appeal to your future, and appreciate that appealing a decision can be daunting.  We are here to help you through the process.   Our goal is to provide the best possible chance of obtaining your desired result.  

We assist students and academics with the following issues:

- academic appeals at university and school level

- student complaints

- appeals concerning professional exams (e.g., post-qualification medical exams)

- plagiarism

- academic and non-academic misconduct

- disciplinary matters

- fitness to practice

- scholarly misconduct (inc. research misconduct, fraud, dishonesty)

- breach of contract

- negligence

- misrepresentation


The advisory team is led by Daniel Sokol, PhD, a former academic and barrister with experience of supervising and examining undergraduate and postgraduate students and conducting academic appeals.  He has sat as a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.  He is uniquely placed to understand the viewpoint of both students and staff.  He still lectures and appears regularly as an advocate in court.

Aidan O'Brien is a barrister and Senior Adviser at Alpha Academic Appeals.  He acts as an advocate in court on a daily basis.  He regularly advises clients on complex legal issues, drafts supporting documents and pleadings.  He has a wealth of experience in academic appeals in both tertiary education and vocational training.

For more on Aidan O'Brien, please click here.

Chris Coyle has a First Class degree and Masters with Distinction from Ulster University.  He has been in practice as a barrister for 10 years, appearing in court regularly.  He has been called to the Bars of England & Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  He has previously been a University Lecturer and Director of an Institute for Professional Legal Education.

For more on Christopher Coyle, please click here.

Amy Sloan-McCann holds two First Class degrees and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales, and the Bar of Northern Ireland.  She has extensive experience of student appeals and appears in Court regularly.

For more on Amy Sloan-McCann, please click here.

Edward Dobson has a BA in Politics & History and an LLM in Law.  He is practising barrister, appearing in court almost every day.  He previously worked for the University of Durham.
For more on Edward Dobson, please click here.

Complaints Policy

We are committed to providing a good service at all times.  When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it.  This will help us to improve our standards.

Please note that Alpha Academic Appeals will only consider complaints that are raised within six months of the act or omission complained of.

If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details. We have 8 weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them.

The time limits are:

  • Six years from the date of the act/omission.
  • Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).
  • Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months.

The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Alpha Academic Appeals must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. Alpha Academic Appeals will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman’s time limits.

The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means than only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction.


All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to Daniel Sokol and anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister or member of staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

Complaints Made in Writing

Please give the following details:

  • Your name and address.
  • Which member(s) of Alpha Academic Appeals you are complaining about.
  • The detail of the complaint.
  • What you would like done about it.

Please address your letter to Dr Daniel Sokol, 62 Beryl Road, London W6 8JT. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 14 days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

What will happen next?

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint by email or post within 14 days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
  1. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to Daniel Sokol (or another member of Alpha Academic Appeals if the complaint involves Dr Sokol) who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
  1. Daniel Sokol will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. He will do this within 21 days of sending you the  acknowledgement letter.
  1. Within 14 days of the meeting, Daniel Sokol will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions he has agreed with you.  His reply will set out:

a)      The nature and scope of his investigation.

b)      His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion.

c)      If he finds that you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.

  1. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Daniel Sokol will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including his suggestions for resolving the matter, within 28 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. 
  1. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for a review of the decision by another member of Alpha Academic Appeals not previously involved with the decision.
  1. We will write to you within 21 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  1.  If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the

Legal Ombudsman,

PO Box 6806,



about your complaint.

Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). For further information, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333or at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.

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