Having been evacuated immediately from the building, the students – who had completed two hours and ten minutes of the three hour paper – were forced to wait outside for 30 minutes as staff dealt with what is believed to have been a false alarm.
Upon re-entering the exam hall at 12.40pm, the students sat down expecting to be able to complete the last 50 minutes of their papers. But an invigilator then decided that the exam had to be terminated immediately.
Afterwards, a meeting of the university’s LPC staff resulted in a cryptic email being sent out to the approximately affected 40-50 students. A copy of the email was obtained by Legal Cheek, and is re-produced below:
“On behalf of the University can we apologise for the severe disruption caused by the fire evacuation that took place during your BLP assessment today. We appreciate that this will cause anxiety, with students concerned that the event will impact on final BLP marks. Please rest assured that we will give careful consideration to the marking process used in this unusual situation and will ensure that the process is fair and does not disadvantage any students.
We are not in a position to inform you of the approach that will be taken in relation to marking as we need to check University policy, consult internally and take advice from the SRA external examiners. However, please try and put this event behind you for now and rest assured that we are acting in your best interests.
If you have any particular questions or concerns please feel free to raise them with a member of the LPC team.”
Speaking anonymously to Legal Cheek, an LPC student who was in the exam said: “The email gives the impression that the paper will be marked as it is. But it also mentions that confirmation needs to be obtained from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the external examiner, so who knows what is going to happen?”
The student added: “I am annoyed, I feel like I am in limbo. After exams you want to feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, but now I feel more stressed than when I went in.”
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) commented: “It is an unusual situation and we will have to look at the whole issue as to determine what the most feasible next step is.”