PhD Appeal in a British University


Does anyone know how to prepare for a PhD appeal hearing?

Avatar for rewt

There is a lot of knowledge on this forum with regards to appeals/complaints. Though it is really hard to give advice without context. Ie, what are you appealing? Is your supervisor on your side?


Have you spoken to the student union?

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Briefly describe the circumstances (minus private details you feel we don't need to know) to provide us with more information?



Thank you “rewt, Treeoflife & Mackem Beefy” for your replies. I have a very long story with my University that started even before my viva. I can summariz it in the following points;
1 - I have been studying for PhD for 7 years; only 3 years ago when I was ready for submission, I had a clash with the research director and I submitted a complaint regarding some administrative procedures. By then, I didn’t know it was a bug mistake.
2 - Then everything changed, even my supervisor, who told me later that they can’t help because it’s beyond them, i.e. some important person is against me.
3 - I have been delayed for more than 6 months without a reason, then I have been allocated examiners that I didn’t agree on and who had a bit different focus than mine.
4 - Then during my viva, they almost critisized everything and asked me to rewrite the whole thesis, otherwise accept an MPhil.
5 - I told them that this is unfair and I will appeal, again I didn’t find any support from the University, including the student union.
6 - The examiners were obviously biased, to the extent of using some insulting words in their report. They recommended totally different orientation of the thesis and recommended a new theoretical framework, methodology, analysis and even update to the data.
7 - I didn’t accept that because it was obvious to me from the relevant circumstances that they decided to fail me anyway, but they will do it through the hardest way. So, they can give an example and warning for anyone who thinks to challenge the system.
8 - I appealed and the appeal was dismissed based on very weak reasoning and almost no response.
9 - I intended to go to the OIA and the court, but after some negotiations, the research team showed their intention to help and end this hard situation!
10 - I accepted their good intentions and I thought that I was wrong from the very beginning, and this is a whol situation of misunderstanding which will now be corrected, and I was wrong once again.


11 - They invited me to spend the period of amendments in full time at the univeristy to do the corrections under their supervision.
12 - I have been assigned a new supervisor and I did the corrections under the direct supervison of the research director who was the chair of the exam board in my second viva.
13 - I recieved help from everyone, including the internal examiner, and the chair, who was the resaerch director with whome I had the conflict before. The chair also told me that he consults the external with my progress.
14 - I did everrhing they asked and I worked very hard to write a new thesis, adding more than 70,000 words to the old version.
15 - I was allowed up to two years to amend my thesis and they recommended to consume the whole period, and I did.
16 - I followed their advice in everything and I didn’t submit until they approved my amended thesis.
17 - The research director, the chair and the same guy who was there in every situation, told me that I had a very good piece of work and I did a great effort with notable contribution to knowledge.
18 - I submitted my thesis along with an amendments sheet listing around 90 comments of the examiners in the first viva and how I tackled evey point.
19 - I had a second viva discussing some minor details, and after the viva they simply told me that I did the corrections wrongly and so I have no contribution and the decision was an MPhil subject to minor corrections, including throwing out around 40% of my thesis, after which it can be approved as an MPhil.
20 - So, after 7 years and two viva examinations with two theses and being supervised by many professors throughout this journey, I ended up with nothing, and am still suffering financially and psychologically.
21 - I hired a solicitor and submitted an appeal and it was referred to an appeal board for a hearing.

Sorry for taking too long, but this the least I can say about the case and I wanted to share my experience and get feedback. I am following with the solicitor who is taking the lead and he is doing a very good job, with a lot of money. But, I will appreciate any advise at this stage.


Hi Kareem, I'm really sorry to hear about your awful experience. It sounds like you've been treated very badly and I really do feel your pain. Have a look at my old posts to read about my journey. I didn't hire a solicitor in the end but I did decide to appeal the decision of my external who asked me for a third round of revisions (making new recommendations 2 years down the line that weren't even in the original viva report).

The best advice I can give you, and it sounds like you've already done this anyway, is to have a detailed and clear document to hand which outlines the failings of your university. Use the university's own rules and regulations to show the ways in which they haven't delivered on their side of the deal. The more evidence you have, the better - make sure you keep emails as proof of who said what etc.

Also make sure you point out the ways in which this process has impacted on your life - your psychological health, loss of earnings etc.

I really hope things get better for you and you can find a way through this. Please let me know if I can do anything to help. Good luck!


Thank you Dr. Faded07 for the valuable advices. I will take this into consideration while preparing for my hearing. I will also check your posts to benefit from your own experience.

Thank you very much for your concern, I really appreciate it.


I wanted to share my happy ending with everyone, I got my PhD finally. Never give up!


Congratulations Kareem. You made it. It might have been a pain to go through appeal but it is worth. Congratulations



I've experienced appeals before and based on my experience and I'm going to be truthful, the chances of winning are slim. What I noticed is that appeals generally favor more on the examiner's feedback than anything else.

It's hard to believe this but don't be surprised if they didn't consider your appeal.

Kind regards.


Thank you eng77. Hi, Azhan, please read my last comment for some good news, I have already won my appeal and I got the PhD after more than 3 years 😊


Hey Kareem congratulations , and really a salute to your braveness and your persistence, but if it's not too much to ask can you please share the name of this university so that it would help people like us looking to apply in , plz.


Hey Kareem. A massive congratualtions to you. I am sure you deserved it. You are perfect example of never give up. I hope the court ordered Uni to compensate you for all the loss.


Hi Sashank, thank you so much for you and for DesperateGenticist. I would prefer to keep the University's name confidential, this is to avoid any effect on the University's reputation. As I believe that it's my university and its reputation shouldn't be affected by individual mistakes, especially if they are trying to make it right. But please if you need any help concerning your PhD, don't hesitate to contact me directly.