PhD Fail viva Appeal


In 2007 I enrolled on the PhD degree in a University in London, UK. My director of studies/lead supervisor was a lazy ignorant idiot who never provided me with proper guidance and supports. My enrollment and registration were delayed by him for one full year. Despite having started the course in September 2007, he provided me with the relevant registration documents a year later meaning that, one year of my study was not counted. The supervisor never replied to several emails from me which were to assist and guide my work. He only had three face to face meetings with me in two years with each meeting lasting 10-15 mins. In 2012, I failed the viva because the thesis was poorly written and data were not adequately presented. I latter found out that the supervisor and the in fact the external examiner have no skills and knowledge of my methodology even though the supervisor approved the methodology. The lack of working knowledge of my methodology and the deficient supervision were my grounds for appeal against the failure. I took the matter to the Old Bailey, High Court in London for Judicial Review. The University were served the court papers. At that point, the university sent me the internal appeal forms which I completed, signed and sent back to them. As the internal appeal system seemed underway, I wrote to the court asking for deferment whilst I pursued the internal grievance procedure.The three-man panel agreed that injustice had been done to me by the supervisor which caused my failure. I was given one year to resubmit the thesis. I fail very ill for one year as a direct result of the shock of failing my PhD. A new supervisor was appointed. I had another viva in 2014 and passed. I was conferred with the PhD. It was not easy to tackle the might of a university via a legal process but as a lawyer, I believed that it was a big test of my profession to fight for my right. If I were not to be a lawyer, It would have cost me hugely, if I had to use the services of lawyers. My advice for anyone facing wicked PhD supervisors are: Request for a change of supervisor early in the program otherwise, withdraw your studentship and go elsewhere for a fresh start, It is of no use to put up with a bad supervisor who will eventual cause you to fail the PhD or cause you to be awarded a lower degree (MPhil).


Well done in passing your PhD in the end, sounds like a nightmare - never give up!


Good for you, DJPorsch. Congratulations. I'm now working on major corrections which shouldn't have happened tbh. Concur with what you said. You've got to have good supervision and of course a good work ethic but no replacement for a bit of good guidance along the way. It shouldn't be all up to the student.


My supervisor was exactly the same. I got out with a lot of fighting, and my graduation delayed. But I recently found out she was giving me bad references for potential jobs (I was stuck with her as a referee, which she agreed to), plus a whole list of negligent behaviour that I have recorded.

Is it worth the hassle/expenses of going through the courts, even if the PhD has been awarded and certificate received?


Something not adding with this story- the Old bailey is a criminal court and not involved in judicial review. Assume a lawyer would know that!

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It comes across as slightly precious!