CoL Birmingham criticised over exam paper theft

The College of Law’s Birmingham centre has come under fire from students over the loss of exam papers when a tutor’s car was stolen.

18 students on CoL’s part-time Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the centre were told last week that the completed scripts had been stolen along with the tutor’s car on 29 August and they would have to resit their criminal and civil litigation exams.

Students were surprised to hear that the unnamed tutor had left the papers in the car overnight when it was stolen.

A student told Lawyer2B “the College has adopted a dismissive attitude believing that it is not their fault – but we think they should accept some responsibility.

“It is beyond belief that the College thinks it is reasonable to leave exam scripts overnight in a car and in addition, the College have not accepted any responsibility.”

Students are apparently considering making a formal complaint to CoL having been told that compensation for the loss of the papers would be “highly unlikely”.

“A lot of people are working part-time while on the course and they will have to take time off to revise, pay for extra train fares, and experience the stress of having to do the exams again” the student complained “the final place for such a complaint would be the independent adjudicator for education – if we have to we will take this as high as we can.”

A CoL spokesperson said “The College reported the incident to the Solicitors Regulation Authority as it is obliged to do and the SRA and the SRA-appointed external examiners have advised that although this is a most unfortunate incident, there is no alternative but for the affected candidates to re-take the exams as a 1st attempt. However we deeply regret the upset caused to these students as a result of this incident and we are working with the SRA to see if we can possibly find an alternative solution.

“The College constantly keeps under review all of its policies and procedures and is currently investigating the incident” adding “we don’t want any students to be out of pocket due to this incident and will consider any claims for reasonable out of pocket expenses on a case by case basis.”

The news follows a series of exam blunders earlier this year in which BPP Law Schools’ Birmingham centre distributed the wrong 50-page lease document in a commercial property exam (19 June 2012) and CoL students were supplied the wrong information in a commercial dispute resolution exam (15 June 2012).