Anger and confusion as Durham students are given the wrong land law exam

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By Alex Aldridge on

Of all subjects, it had to be land…


Second year law students at Durham University had a nasty surprise this week when they received the wrong land law exam.

An error by invigilators meant that they were given a paper intended for a small group of students who had studied the course the previous academic year and were returning to complete their degree.

Complaints, unsurprisingly, ensued, with several law students contacting the law school to suggest that the gaffe had had a negative impact on their performance. The exam was worth 100% of the land module.

At the same time a rumour began to swirl that the entire year would have to resit the exam.

But an email by the deputy head of Durham Law School, Professor Gavin Phillipson, has since confirmed that the rumour was false. Phillipson wrote:

“I can say categorically that there is absolutely no question of the whole year having to resit the exam — as apparently is being rumoured — or do any alternative form of assessment in this module.”

Absolving himself and the law school of any blame, he added:

“This was not a mistake made by the Law School but we are of course very sorry that it happened; we have been in contact with the students concerned, are investigating whether the different paper might have caused them any disadvantage, and if so will put in place procedures to make sure that they are not prejudiced by this mistake in terms of their result on the module.”

The mistake is the second to have hit Durham law students this year, with an summative essay question having to be changed in February after an answer for it was accidentally published online.

Second year student Jocelyn Hutch told Durham student newspaper Palatinate that she found the latest error “particularly concerning and annoying considering the mess ups that happened earlier in the year regarding summatives”.