Have I breached the viva rules?


Hello everyone,

I have recently submitted my thesis for examination, the thesis has been sent to the examiners and I am currently awaiting the date for the viva.

The problem:
Last night, I contacted an organiser from a conference that I participated in 2 years ago to get some documents that I lost. Unfortunately, it turned out that the chair of that version of the conference was my external examiner who is supposedly currently reading my thesis. I didn't know that the external examiner was the Chair and don't really have good memory of the conference. The person I contacted copied in the Chair of the conference (my external examiner) in their reply to me to help with my request. As I am currently awaiting the viva, I am not allowed to contact my external examiners in anyways, so I informed the organiser that I am currently not allowed to communicate with the chair of the conference and that I will contact them later. The chair of the conference (external examiner) did not reply to me but seems to have replied to the person I contacted and told him that a copy of the documents I requested will be sent to me after Xmas. I did not add the email of the external examiner in any of my emails with the organiser.

I informed my supervisor of the situation but he has not replied to me and I am really worried that this unintended contact with the external examiner could be a breach of the viva rules.

I would appreciate your answers here.

Thanks in advance.



To me it’s clearly inadvertent, especially if your initial correspondence went to a completely different person. Moreover, when it came to light that the Chair was your external examiner, you took the appropriate action(s). As long as you have a record of this, i.e., the email chain, I believe you should be fine. I would probably run it past your supervisor/advisor of studies though just so he/she is not caught off gaurd if this gets brought up at a later date.

Good luck.

Avatar for rewt

I don't think you will have an issue as you didn't directly or intentionally contact your external examiner. Only the person who replied to you talked with your external and even then you mentioned your conflict so I don't see any issues, it is just a bit awkward.



Thank you @bob86. I am relieved now.


Thank you @rewt