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March 25, 2019 | by  | in Homepage News | [ssba]

Law School Apparently Not Good at Following Rules

Late law results have affected students’ academic and professional lives, and may have even breached university assessment guidelines.


LAWS 358, an insurance law course in the first half of summer school, failed to return results to some students until the beginning of March.

The VUW Assessment Handbook sets out that Trimester Three (Summer School) courses which run November–December must have results entered by the first teaching Friday in January.


LAWS 358 ran from November 19 to December 23 in 2018, so it would be required to meet that deadline. That is, Friday 11 January 2019.

Courses running the length of Trimester Two, or in the second half of that Trimester, must be entered by the first Friday after the examination period. In this case, March 1 2019.

Salient talked to two LAWS 358 students, who both wished to remain anonymous. Both only received their results on March 4, the first day of Trimester One 2019.


One of the students required the results for his academic transcript; the late release preventing him from applying for jobs, internships, and similar positions.

The other student failed the course, but the late results required to her to apply last-minute for courses, placing her on waitlists and disrupting her academic study. She described the delays as “completely unreasonable”.

The students said late results were commonplace, and had been “happening for years”.

It is unclear how many people were affected by late LAWS 358 results.

Manager for Student Academic Services at the Faculty of Law, Kylie Hooper, replied to questions from Salient.

She explained that the faculty will “always endeavour to get results out as quickly as we can”, but “a range of operational factors” lead to the late release of results.

However, she also said VUW has been discussing solutions with VUWSA. The law school is consequently planning to make scheduling changes to Trimester Three courses so that results can be released “within the appropriate timeframes.”

“All courses will comply with the assessment handbook”, said Hooper.

These changes would not come into effect until 2020, as the 2019 courses have already been scheduled.

VUWSA Student Representative Co-ordinator Joseph Habgood told Salient that when students contact their advocacy services on the issue, VUWSA works with the Faculty of Law on a case-by-case basis to obtain earlier provisional grades.

However, there are also ongoing discussions with the VUW community to find a “long-term solution to grades being returned late”.

The VUW Law Students’ Society (VUWLSS) discussed the issue with Salient, following a law school faculty meeting.

VUWLSS understands that the Faculty of Law releases all Trimester Three papers at the end of February, even if they run in the first half of Summer School.

When raised by VUWLSS, the university explained the even later results were a consequence of the course being largely lectured by adjunct professors (out-of-school academics).

Despite these and other factors, the society still considers that “the lateness of the LAWS 358 grades seems abnormal and to have breached the Assessment Handbook deadline.”

VUWLSS have also been made aware of the law school rescheduling plans, suggesting that all future summer law courses would be classified as “full summer papers” to effectively push back results deadlines.

In the case of LAWS 358 2018, that would have meant the results deadline would have been March 1, rather than January 11. Even if that rescheduling had occurred, returning results on March 4 would still be late (diagram below).

In short, students taking a class that ends in November could have to wait ten weeks for their results.

VUWLSS, VUWSA, and the Faculty of Law have all made themselves available to students having problems with late grades.

The Faculty of Law has said they will communicate information on courses and marking processes as clearly as possible to students.


If you have been affected by late grades from the Faculty of Law, or any other courses or faculties, please contact Anonymity is assured on request.


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