Why use a specialist barrister for your student appeal?
Barristers are lawyers who are specialist advocates. The Bar Council (https://www.barcouncil.org.uk) states: ‘Barristers provide clients with high quality legal advice. […] They are independent and objective and their highly competitive training, together with their specialist knowledge and experience in and out of court, can make a substantial difference to the outcome of a case.’
Here are reasons why students may wish to engage the services of barristers to assist them in their university appeals, right from the initial stages of a dispute with the Department or University.
1. The stakes are high
If you have been withdrawn from university or obtained a poor grade in your examinations, the consequences for your future can be serious. The decision, if not reversed, can lead to poorer job prospects and significant loss of earnings.
For example, a recent study showed that graduates with 2:1 or higher can expect to earn 7%-9% more than graduates with lower degrees (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/feb/14/degree-class-employers-pay-study). So if a lower classification results in a salary of £3,000 a year less than would otherwise be the case, a 22-year-old man with a retirement age of 68 would lose approximately £146,000 of earnings over a working life (using the current discount rate of -0.75% and an additional discount factor of 0.92 to reflect contingencies other than mortality).
If the issue relates to academic misconduct, there is additional reputational damage that may affect future employment.
2. Barristers are experts in the identification of arguments
Barristers are skilled at identifying arguments and counter-arguments, and may spot angles of attack or defence that you, or others, may not have seen, and develop those to bolster your case.
For example, they may identify breaches of the principles of natural justice that may not be apparent to non-lawyers.
Barristers will also give you objective advice as to the prospects of success, the weaknesses of your case, and any further evidence necessary to prove your case. They can also advise on tactics.
3. Barristers are experts in written and oral advocacy
The Bar Council states: ‘The recognised expertise of barristers in advocacy means that their services are in high demand in the international legal market.’
Barristers will study the documents, the university rules and regulations, statutes, and case law and, using the techniques of advocacy, will construct a well-argued and persuasive case on paper.
If permitted to represent you at a hearing, barristers can make oral representations on your behalf in a way that is likely to be attractive to the Panel.
Finally, all barristers are subject to strict professional and ethical rules, as contained in the Bar Standards Board Handbook.