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Making an extenuating circumstances claim

  • The guidelines on this page are for all undergraduate, taught postgraduate and pre-sessional students.
  • There is separate information for  postgraduate research students .
  • There is separate guidance about  late submission (coursework or online exams) .

What are extenuating circumstances?

Extenuating circumstances are circumstances beyond your control which have had an impact on your assessed work. Generally, they are circumstances of a medical or personal nature which cause you to perform less well in the assessment, to miss an assessment event (eg. an exam) or not to submit an assessment.

It is important to realise that only the most serious extenuating circumstances will have any significant impact on your overall performance, particularly when degree classifications are being considered.

You must formally submit a claim

Even if you have discussed your difficulties with staff, you must formally submit an extenuating circumstances form by the published deadline, even if you are still awaiting evidence. Informal notification will not be considered.

Forms submitted after this date may not be considered and you cannot appeal a decision if you could have been expected to declare your extenuating circumstance before the deadline.

You must also fully explain the impact of extenuating circumstances on your work. If you do not sufficiently explain their impact then you cannot subsequently appeal and ask for additional information to be considered.

Your claim will be considered by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee who will then make recommendations to the Board of Examiners regarding the effect your circumstances have had on your performance (including non-submission of assessment). Find out more about how your claim is considered .

How to submit a claim

1) read the extenuating circumstances policy.

  • Extenuating Circumstances Policy (.pdf)

In general, extenuating circumstances will be of a medical or personal nature affecting you for any significant period of time and/or on the day of the assessment event, or immediately preceding the time of the deadline.

It is important to realise that only the most serious extenuating circumstances will have any significant impact on your overall performance, particularly when degree classifications are being considered. Therefore, the Board of Examiners is unlikely to take any action unless it is believed that the extenuating circumstances have had a material effect.

Judgements can only be made about the impact of extenuating circumstances in light of the evidence of your academic ability demonstrated in non-affected work. Judgement cannot be made about your potential to have gained a higher mark if there is no evidence in the rest of your performance to support this. Unless it appears that the extenuating circumstances have had a material effect on your results, it is unlikely any action will be taken. You should therefore consider carefully before submitting a form (see also how extenuating circumstances claims are assessed ).

2) Check what is not a claim

It is not possible to list every circumstance that would not be accepted or taken into account. However, some of the more obvious examples are listed below:

  • general pressure of work is not taken to be circumstances beyond your control, as you are expected to plan your work schedule. This includes claims related to increased workloads due to trailing failed modules from 2021-22. This is because you had an opportunity to undertake reassessment prior to continuing into your next year
  • a short-term problem or illness which has occurred during the year and which is not deemed to have had an overall effect on your performance
  • personal disruptions or events which could have been anticipated; such as holidays, weddings, changing address or employment, religious holidays or festivals which are usually known in advance
  • excessive demands on time or pressure of one’s employment, which could have been anticipated
  • financial constraints commonly experienced by students
  • missing an online examination because you misread the timetable or overslept
  • having more than one deadline on the same day or on consecutive days (unless you were already suffering from illness or injury)
  • problems with the teaching timetable where you have not taken the necessary action to ensure that appropriate module choices are made
  • where extenuating circumstances have affected you throughout your time at University, making it difficult to determine what your marks might have been like otherwise. In such cases, it is unlikely that any action will be taken
  • where you have chosen to undertake reassessment without attendance or to trail failed modules (without attendance) from 2020-21, extenuating circumstances claims regarding prior disruption to your learning caused by the pandemic will not be considered.  This is because you had the opportunity to repeat your failed modules with attendance but have chosen not to

3) Check the deadlines

You need to apply by the published deadline below. We cannot guarantee that forms submitted after this date will be considered.

It is essential to formally declare any extenuating circumstances by the deadline because you cannot subsequently appeal against any decision of the Board of Examiners on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you could reasonably have been expected to declare them prior to the deadline.

Undergraduate students

Please ensure that you submit your claim before the relevant deadline (below) even in the event that you are still awaiting evidence so that your claim can be considered. It is important that you press submit on your claim.

If you are still awaiting evidence, please note this in your claim, the type of evidence expected, and when your evidence is likely to be ready for upload.

If you submit your claim after the deadline – please contact your department to see whether it is too late to be considered.

Incoming Study Abroad students

East 15 (Loughton and Southend) students

Edge hotel school.

Deadline: Monday 12 June 2023, 12pm.

Accelerated Courses Reassessment: within seven days of the published assignment submission deadline.

Health and Social Care

Deadlines for the submission of extenuating circumstances forms have been set based on the date of the Board of Examiners meeting for each course/CPD module.

Please check the ‘Board of Examiners Dates & EC Deadlines’ document on the Health and Social Care Information for Current Students Moodle page for your courses’ extenuating circumstances deadline.

Postgraduate taught and research students

Postgraduate taught.

Contact your department for information on the deadline for submitting your claim.

Postgraduate research

Postgraduate Research students should follow the extenuating circumstances procedures for postgraduate research students . If you are enrolled on the first year of an Integrated PhD course, you should follow the procedure for postgraduate taught students. If you are registered on a Professional Doctorate course and your extenuating circumstances impacted a taught module, you should also follow the postgraduate taught students procedure.

4) Check you have the evidence you need to include

You should include on the form details of specific assessments or online exams affected by your extenuating circumstances. Make sure you explain the impact these circumstances had on your performance. It is not the role of the Board of Examiners or Extenuating Circumstances Committees to try to work this out or to seek further information on your behalf. Make your submission clear and concise.

Remember that Extenuating Circumstances Committees and Boards of Examiners are trying to determine whether the circumstances are likely to have significantly affected your academic performance.

Where you are able, it is in your interest to submit independent and reliable supporting evidence as part of your extenuating circumstances application. Supporting evidence should be relevant to the circumstances described in both nature and timeframe. Without supporting evidence, the Extenuating Circumstances Committee/Board of Examiners may not be able to take action on your claim.

  • It is your responsibility to obtain evidence to support your claim and to ensure that it is submitted within the deadlines set by the University. All evidence should be submitted along with the relevant Extenuating Circumstances form.
  • All evidence provided must align with or support the dates that you have outlined as part of your claim.
  • Evidence should be presented appropriately, please see our guidance on the types of documentary evidence required (.pdf).
  • For cases of a medical nature, the University has an agreement with the Health Centre on the Colchester Campus that their staff will use the medical evidence proforma. However, please note that other health centres and GPs may operate differently and may charge for supplying evidence.
  • The University reserves the right to ask to see original copies of supporting evidence and/or check on the validity of the document(s) you submit.
  • All supporting evidence must be provided in English. It is your responsibility to arrange for documents to be translated and to incur any costs associated if they are not written in English. Translation should be undertaken by an accredited translator, e.g. by a member of the Association of Translation Companies .
  • The University appreciates that, in some situations, there may be legitimate reasons which make it impossible to provide documentary evidence. If this is the case, you should explain why in your application.
  • We ask that you are mindful of uploading pictures which staff reviewing your claim may find distressing. We would also like to emphasise that relevant evidence will normally be in a written format, rather than images.


The policy on Self-Certification for Extenuating Circumstances recognises that in the case of medical extenuating circumstances for minor illnesses or COVID-19, you may not need, or be able to seek, medical attention and therefore will be unable to provide supporting evidence. In such cases, you may self-certify on the following basis:

  • you are only able to self-certify on two separate occasions each year (the dates for the two separate occasions should not be sequential)
  • you are only able to self-certify for up to five days per claim
  • you may self-certify for any form of assessment (coursework or exam)
  • self-certification should only cover illness for which medical help would not normally be sought

We ask that you do not upload supporting evidence which includes images that staff reviewing your claim may find distressing. We would normally only need to receive documentary evidence to support a claim. You can always write that further evidence is available if we wish to request it.

5) Seek advice if needed

Seek advice from the Student Service Hub or SU Advice if necessary.

Additional information

There is further information that you need to consider:

False claims

You should note that submitting a false claim or false documentation is a serious matter and would be regarded as an attempt to gain unfair advantage. This would be a breach of student conduct and would be dealt with under the Code of Student Conduct . The University reserves the right to check on the validity of the document(s) you submit by contacting the third party directly.

Data protection

The University is committed to a fair and confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling of sensitive personal information. Information will be processed in line with the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. For further details about how the University processes your personal data please see our Privacy Statement .

Equality Act 2010 and information for disabled students

If you find that you are unable to submit an electronic copy of the Extenuating Circumstances Form, you can contact your department or Student Services Hub to ask for the form to be emailed to you. The form should be submitted to your department and please note that you should still submit any relevant evidence alongside the form.

If you have any queries about a claim which has been rejected, please email the Assessment Team at [email protected] or your department to request further information. You can also discuss this feedback with staff in the Student Services Hub if you believe that your individual needs have not been understood or adequately taken into account.

If you are providing information about your disability on your extenuating circumstances form, please note that this does not count as disclosure to the University as these forms are intended for use only by the Board of Examiners. We strongly urge you to disclose any persistent medical condition, specific learning difficulty or disability to the Student Services Hub.

Professional suitability and fitness to practice

Important - information about you that may affect professional suitability:

The University is committed to a fair and confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling of sensitive personal information.

All University students are required to comply with the University’s Code of Student Conduct Regulations and other regulations of the University regarding conduct. Students enrolled on courses where a practical professional placement is required have additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding their professional suitability. Failure to meet these responsibilities can lead to the Breach of Professional Conduct, Fitness to Practise and Termination of Training Procedure being invoked. You will have been informed when you registered as a student if your degree scheme is subject to this Procedure

Breaches of professional standards by students may involve a range of actions or omissions but may include:

  • actions that are harmful to service users, other members of the public or service provides
  • actions that are likely to constitute an unacceptable risk to students or others
  • failure to disclose information about previous matters relating to professional suitability prior to enrolment on the course
  • contravention of the relevant professional code of conduct
  • actions that are prejudicial to the development or standing of professional practice

In addition, for students studying law, the University has an obligation to report relevant information related to professional suitability to the Law Society.

Any information that is provided on any extenuating circumstances form that raises issues of professional suitability, whether it has been disclosed by you and about you or by another student on another form but relates to you will be disclosed as necessary to the relevant internal or external authorities. Information will only ever be disclosed on a need to know basis to ensure the University is able to comply with its obligations related to professional suitability. These authorities may include the Professional Practice and Conduct Committee, your employer if your registration as a student relates to Continuing Professional Development or any relevant Professional or Regulatory Body.

What happens next

Extenuating circumstances will normally be considered by a pre-board or small designated group within each department; the Extenuating Circumstances Committee. 

Find out more about how your extenuating circumstances are evaluated .

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If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub or SU Advice who will be happy to assist you.

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Essex Law School

Guest post: a guide to late submissions and extenuating circumstances from our undergraduate education team..

Now that submission deadlines for coursework are fast approaching, Joshua Gauci from our Undergraduate Education Team, is here to remind you all of the late submission and extenuating circumstances process.

Please note that the University of Essex does not allow any extensions to coursework submission deadlines to be granted in advance, this is both for summative assignments and formative.

Please note that postgraduate taught students may be allowed an extension on their dissertation. For more details on postgraduate dissertation extensions, make sure you read your School of Law Postgraduate Taught Student Handbook .

What is a late submission?

If you are unable to submit your assignment on time you must fill in a late submission form , via your MyEssex account. This will need to be submitted within seven calendar days from the submission deadline, but you will still need to upload your assignment to FASER within the same period of time.

If you don’t submit a late submission form you will receive a mark of zero for your work and you will only receive feedback for formative purposes. A guide to the late submission’s policy can be found here .

What is an extenuating circumstance?

An extenuating circumstance is defined by the University as “ circumstances beyond a student’s control which cause the student to perform less well in their coursework or examinations than they might otherwise have been expected to do”. An extenuating circumstance form can be filled in, via your MyEssex account.

The extenuating circumstances policy provides lots more information on the process, what to include in your claim, as well as the claims deadlines.

What details do I need to include in the form?

Please provide as much information as you can on your situation and the impact it has had on your work. Evidence will need to be submitted where possible, but don’t wait to submit the form until it is available; just keep us updated. This is because the committee won’t be aware of any of your circumstances and information in as much detail as possible will help them to reach a decision on your claim.

I’m still feeling unsure – where can I find help?

You can visit the Law Education Office in 5S.5.5 and ask to speak to Dan or Liz, or email them at [email protected] .

Alternatively, SU Advice offer guidance on extenuating circumstances procedures and can assist you through the process. You can book an appointment by emailing [email protected] . Make sure you attach any relevant documents to your email, or take them along when you visit.

What happens once I’ve submitted a form?

Once you have submitted either a late submission or extenuating circumstances claim, it will be sent to the School of Law to be considered at the next Extenuating Circumstances Committee. The purpose of this committee is to consider all claims made by students and decide whether or not a claim is valid in lines with the University’s policies and that it can go forward for consideration by the exam board. At this stage, it is not the role of the committee to implement any requested changes because this is the role of the exam board. You will receive a confirmation at this stage as to whether your claim has been accepted or rejected. However, the exam board will not meet until the summer, when requests are discussed.

When can I make an extenuating circumstances claim?

An extenuating circumstances claim can be made at any time during the academic year up to the deadline which is posted on the University’s website .

Do you have any tips for preventing late submissions?

  • Manage your workload – You may find during busier periods of the year that you have multiple deadlines in a relatively short period of time. Whilst the School of Law has worked hard to spread the submission dates across the year, it is likely that you may have more than one deadline during a week. It is important that you create a plan to organise your work in such a way so you meet all of your submission deadlines. If you require additional support planning your work load, why not speak to Bev Jackson in room 5S.5.21 who may be able to offer some tips.
  • Submit your coursework in plenty of time – Don’t leave it until the very last minute to upload and submit your work to FASER. You are more likely to make an error such as forgetting to attach a cover sheet or coming across an IT issue, which is never an acceptable reason to make a late submission. We recommend to student that they give themselves at least a 30 minute window for submitting their coursework, by uploading before 9.30am for a 10am deadline. This allows any issues to be resolved without going over the deadline, especially as many students realise that have made a mistake too late. For example, they may have submitted the incorrect version of their assignment, missed the word count off their cover sheet, or have forgotten to attach their cover sheet!
  • Upload what you have before the deadline – There is a chance that your late submission claim may not be accepted and in these cases you will receive a mark of zero. If you upload a version of your assignment prior to the deadline, that is not the final version, this can still be marked if your claim is rejected. But, please remember to upload your final version too and check that the correct file is uploaded.

If you’re looking for some more tips about writing and submitting assignments, head on over to our blog post called “ How to make writing and submitting an assignment easier (and less stressful!) “. Also, if you’d like a refresher on how to use FASER before submitting your assignment, then read our beginner’s guide to FASER .

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All coursework must be uploaded and submitted to FASer, the University’s Online Coursework Submission system available at   Please ensure that your assignment is watermarked, by selecting the ‘watermark’ tick box on FASer.

The deadline for online submissions is 10.00 on the date stipulated . 

We strongly recommend that you do this earlier to avoid any last minute issues.  You must ensure that you are familiar with this process well in advance of the deadline.  Guidance on how to upload your work is available on the FASer website through the submission system.

When submitting your coursework, please make sure:

1)      that your name, the module code and coursework title is clearly set out at the top of the first page;

2)      that you include the ‘Essay Cover Sheet’ at the front of the assignment or as an additional document.  Copies of the cover sheet can be found on Moodle or the School’s Website at: ;

3)      A word count is displayed at the end of your essay.

No extensions will be granted.  Students who fail to submit their coursework by the stipulated deadline will receive a mark of zero unless they are able to submit a valid claim for late submission.  Details of the University’s Late Submission Policy can be found at .

Every year we have a number of students who are found guilty of plagiarism and the penalties can be severe.  For a second offence it usually means that the student concerned is asked to withdraw.  If you are uncertain about how to reference your work take a look at the following web site:     or speak to one of your lecturers.


SpringTerm Essay

Deadline:         10.00 am, Thursday 17 March, 2016

Return Date:    2.00 pm, Monday, 18 April, 2016

Answer one of the following questions:

  • Drawing on the readings from Week 16 and additional related resources, discuss the legitimacy of a phenomenological approach to the philosophy of mind. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach and make a case for or against relying on phenomenology in this area of philosophical inquiry.
  • Discuss the prospects for a complete reduction of consciousness to an underlying physical basis. What are the motives for such a reduction? What are its chief impediments or problems? Make a case for or against the possibility of such a reduction.
  • Is it possible to have a mind without a body? Drawing on the readings from Week 22 and additional resources, make a case for or against the possibility for a disembodied mind. Be sure to adduce the strongest evidence for each position in the course of defending your preferred position.
  • In week 17 we looked at high-order theories of consciousness.  Argue for or against the claim that such a theory represents an adequate approach to the study of consciousness. Be sure to consider alternative approaches when making your assessment.  
  • Clearly reconstruct the problem of other minds and the debate between the theory theory and the simulation theory. Which approach best accounts for the available evidence? What can the phenomenology of intersubjectivity add to this debate?

Second (Optional) Essay

Deadline:         10.00 am, Thursday 5 May, 2016   No late coursework will be accepted

Return Date:    2.00 pm, Thursday 12 May, 2016

If you wish to write an optional essay and are eligible to do so, then choose a question (not the one you have already answered) from the list above.

Feedback will be provided when your coursework is returned.  If you would like to discuss the feedback received then please do not hesitate to get in touch with your lecturer or class/seminar teacher in their office hours (as shown on their office doors) or by appointment.

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