UCL is a community and students are expected to adhere to UCL’s rules and regulations; to show respect for persons and property and act in a way that does not hinder the normal operations within the university. Where there is reason to believe that UCL’s rules and regulations have been broken and the behaviour of a student falls below the expected standards, the Disciplinary Code and Procedure will be instigated.
Where misconduct relates to examinations and academic work, such as plagiarism or cheating you should refer first to our Academic Misconduct advice page.
You can find the full UCL Disciplinary Code and Procedures here.
At all stages of the procedures, the test used to decide if an offence has been committed, is 'on the balance of probabilities'. That means the person(s) deciding the case should consider whether it's more likely that the offence was or was not committed.
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.
What is '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’.
This may include:
- Disrupting any UCL activities, or the duties of UCL staff and students.
- Violent, indecent, threatening or disorderly behaviour.
- Threatening or offensive behaviour and language.
- Fraud, deceit, deception or dishonesty.
- Action likely to cause injury or harm.
- Harassment, including sexual or racial harassment.
- Breaching UCL regulation.
- Damaging or misusing UCL property.
- Behaviour that brings UCL into disrepute.
- Conduct which constitutes a criminal offence on UCL property.
However there are other offences that are included in the Disciplinary Code.
Offences will be classed as 'Minor' or 'Major', which affects who deals with the allegation. If its a 'Major' offence, then this will be dealt with by the Discipline Committee.
The Registrar of UCL has the responsibility for dealing with disciplinary matters referred to them. Authority to refer a matter to the Discipline Committee rests with the Registrar.
Where a disciplinary offence is also subject to a criminal investigation, UCL may suspend the disciplinary process until the criminal investigation and legal proceedings have been concluded.
What precautionary action can be taken in advance of a Disciplinary Hearing?
If an alleged disciplinary offence suggests that there may be risk to the safety of others, or where you are at risk of harm, the Registrar will undertake a risk assessment.
The Registrar might suspend and/or exclude you pending a hearing – at this moment, this exclusion is not a penalty. Suspension can involve a ban on attendance or by limiting access to UCL premises. Exclusion includes the withdrawal of the right of access to buildings, facilities and the services of UCL for a fixed period.
You cannot be suspended or excluded without being given the chance to appeal against the decision. To appeal, you must submit a written request stating the reason for the appeal within five working days of the date of issue of the notice of suspension/exclusion.
You will then be notified of the decision within ten working days of the receipt of the letter requesting the appeal.
What Disciplinary action can be taken?
Complaints about misconduct are usually sent to the Registrar, who makes the decision on 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. This is your chance to address your offence by either mitigation or explanation before deciding whether and, if so, how to proceed. It is important that you attend this interview, because failing to attend can be a disciplinary offence in itself.
The Registrar can impose a penalty if they think misconduct did take place. These may include:
- An oral reprimand recorded by the Registrar.
- A written reprimand recorded by the Registrar.
- A written reprimand recorded on the Student’s UCL file and copied to the Head of your department.
- A payment of compensation for damages to person or property.
- A fine of up to £300.
- An order of service to UCL for a specified period.
- Requirement from you to enter into a ‘Good Behaviour’ agreement.
- Exclusion from a part or parts of UCL for a specified period provided that such exclusion does not directly interfere with your academic work.
However, if the Registrar believes that a major offence has been committed, they could instead refer you to the UCL Discipline Committee.
For misconduct that takes place in UCL Accommodation, or in UCL Libraries - the Wardens of UCL Houses or Halls of Residence, or the Director of UCL Library Services, may instead deal with the case and can also impose penalties.
It's possible to appeal about penalties given at this stage.
The Discipline Committee
This is usually used for 'Major' allegations.
The membership of the Discipline Committee is made up of three people:
- A Chair, who will be the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs) (or her/his nominee).
- A member of academic staff chosen from a panel of UCL staff across all faculties.
- An elected sabbatical officer of Students’ Union UCL.
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.
What happens at the Hearing?
You will be advised in writing of the nature of the alleged offence and the date of the hearing. This written notification will usually be provided not less than ten working days in advance of the hearing. You have the right to be accompanied by a ‘friend’. Your ‘friend’ must be a member of UCL, a member of UCL or Students' Union UCL staff. This could be somebody from the Advice Service.
You will have the opportunity to invite witnesses to appear before the Committee and/or to provide written statements. The Registrar might also invite witnesses to make a statement. You should notify the Secretary of the Committee at least seven working days before the hearing of the details of any witnesses.
You may be asked to send a written statement responding to the allegation.
Statements and other documentation will be circulated to the Committee and the student not less than five working days in advance of the hearing, although later circulation may be allowed at the discretion of the Chair.
The Committee could dismiss the complaint on the ground that no disciplinary offence has been evidenced or they may find that a disciplinary offence has been committed. If an offence has been committed, you will be subject to penalties.
The Committee can impose the following Penalties:
- A reprimand recorded by your Head of department.
- A fine not exceeding £600.
- An order of service to UCL to be determined by the Discipline Committee.
- Exclusion for a period of time from buildings or premises owned or occupied by UCL.
- Payment of compensation for any damage to person or property.
- A requirement that you agree to specific conditions, determined by the Committee.
- Permanent expulsion. Expulsion involves depriving you permanently of your membership of UCL.
The decision of the Committee will be communicated orally by the Chair to you and the Registrar at the end of the hearing. The decision of the Committee will be communicated to you, in writing, within five working days after the date of the hearing.
Discipline Review Body
The Discipline Review Body hears appeals against the decisions of the Discipline Committee.
An appeal to the Discipline Review Body must be received by the Secretary to the Discipline Review Body within 28 days of the date on the written notification of the Discipline Committee’s decision to the student concerned.
An appeal against a sanction(s) set by the Discipline Committee may be made on one or more of the following grounds:
- That the disciplinary process was not conducted in accordance with the above procedures.
- That new evidence has become available which was not, and which could not reasonably. have been made available at the time the case was considered
- That the penalty imposed was disproportionate to the offence.
The members of the Discipline Committee procedure are not allowed to have any involvement with the Discipline Review Body.
The membership of the Discipline Review Body consists of people:
- A Chair, who shall be appointed by the Council from among a panel of nominees approved by Council.
- One person, not being a member of the UCL Council, UCL staff or a student, to be appointed by the Provost, from among a panel of nominees approved by Council.
- An elected student officer of another University, normally from within the University of London.
The Discipline Review Body will conduct a review of the material/evidence considered by the Discipline Committee, along with its findings and decision. The Discipline Review Body will normally consider appeals by review of the relevant paperwork, although it may, exceptionally, decide to arrange a hearing of the appeal.
What happens at a Discipline Review Body Hearing?
The Discipline Review Body could call you and the chair of the Discipline Committee as witnesses. Other witnesses may also be called by the Discipline Review Body. You will open by summarising the grounds of the appeal against the findings of the Discipline Committee.
After questioning the Discipline Review Body shall reach decisions by a simple majority. The Chair will announce the decision of the Discipline Review Body to you and Chair of the Discipline Committee and the case will be closed.
The Secretary to the Discipline Review Body will notify the student in writing of the outcome of the appeal within 10 working days of the decision of the Discipline Review Body. The Secretary to the Discipline Review Body will also issue a Completion of Procedures letter to the student.