Unfair, Unlawful or Just Unhappy? Issues Surrounding Complaints of Discrimination made by Students Against their Universities in Australia

Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association (ANZELA)
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Journal Article
Australia and New Zealand Journal of Law and Education, 2009, 14 (1), pp. 5 - 22
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Unfair treatment, discrimination or unsatisfactory results? Recent years have seen a Significant increase in complaints ofdiscrimination made to external bodies by students against Australian universities. Some complaints start and finish in specialist tribunals, others move to re-examination in the courts. Whatever course the actions take, they have many jactors in common. Overwhelmingly, the complaints are precipitated bya decision ofacademicjudgement. Almost universally, the students represent themselves while universities retain legal counsel. Frequently the tribunals concerned pay heed to the difficulties faced by a student in such a position, expressly recognising the possibility of a miscarriage ofjustice and stressing the need to ensure against this occurring. Invariably. while the members ofthe tribunal or thejudge may show sympathy for the student in his or her plight, they are not satisfied that there was unlawful discrimination. Almost always, the complaints are dismissed or the actions are unsuccessful.
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