A law student used Harry Potter-style invisible ink to sneak 24 pages of ‘unauthorised notes’ into exam

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She was caught by students and the invigilator

A university watchdog report has revealed a law student was caught with “unauthorised notes” written in Harry Potter-style invisible ink during an exam.

According to the latest annual report by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), the unnamed female student used “invisible UV ink” to heavily annotate her law statute book, equating to about 24 pages of notes.

Legal Cheek understands that the student may have used a revealing charm smuggled an ultraviolet light into the exam, allowing her to read the secret annotations. Continuing, the report — which used the invisible ink incident as a case study example — states:

She was seen using the notes by other students and the invigilator, who retained the statute book as evidence.

But if you think this is an appropriate exam technique, take note (no, not of the invisible ink variety) of the student’s punishment. Her university, which is not named in the report, failed the student “in all modules for the year.”

However law exam faux pas aren’t just reserved for university students. In 2014 Legal Cheek reported that an Australian lawyer had been struck off after attempting to smuggle notes into a bar ethics exam.

Hendrick Jan van Es, arriving at the exam room with an “unusually large” bundle of notes, was turned away by invigilators. Nipping outside, the hapless lawyer — who initially denied any wrongdoing — separated his papers before shoving some down his trousers and returning to the exam room. Unfortunately he failed to spot the CCTV recording his every move.

Struggling with exams? Read our revision tips open thread here.

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I solemnly swear I am up to no good

– every lawyer ever



“She was caught by students”. Little grasses.

Snitches get stitches.



1.) 5,500 training contracts vs 30,000 fresh graduates every year. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I feel anything but support for the ‘grasses’

2.) SPA Code of Conduct O(10.4): “you report to the SRA promptly, serious misconduct by any person or firm authorised by the SRA, or any employee, manager or owner of any such firm (taking into account, where necessary, your duty of confidentiality to your client);”

3.) Bar Standards Handbook Part 2 THE CODE OF CONDUCT CD3 – “You must act with honesty and integrity”


Pissed off of Tonbridge Wells

When I was in my third year at uni I lived with a girl who was doing the same exam as me. Having sat up for most of the night revising I went into her room to see her writing out the entire syllabus on her (really fat) thighs, then putting her jeans on over the top. She thought it was hilarious. and I saw her go to the loo about half a dozen times. No shame at all.

I heard she got a TC as a corporate solicitor. I don’t know what happened after that but if she’s reading this now she will probably recognise herself. I’d like to hope she feels bad but she was an appalling human being for all sorts of reasons so I doubt it. I guess sometimes bad guys have all the fun.


Jones Day Partner

I heard about her willingness to remove her trousers on a regular basis and got her a TC on the spot. And to respond to your last sentence – yes they do.


Pissed off of Tonbridge Wells

I don’t think you did. She was very large, pink and shiny. I imagine she would oink if you squeezed her.


Jones Day Equity Partner

Those are my favourite! 🐖✊🏻💦



I’m really confused about all these ‘Jones Day Partner’ comments. Is there a rumour going around that they sleep with all their trainees or something?


Totally useless link


This is brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? Imho she’s the innovative mind often considered desirable in the ideal corporate lawyer. Think outside of the box… and in the trousers?



Frankly, if you *can’t* think of something like that you are either too innocent or too dim for commercial law.

It’s not lack of imagination which stops most lawyers from doing this.



I find this a really tragic example of how our assessment process is flawed at LLB level. Currently on the LPC and I would say it’s about right – you’re expected to know a lot of the course content but do not have to solely rely on your memory to make the grade – the focus instead is shifted on how you APPLY that knowledge (whether stored in memory or your textbook). LLB has an unhealthy obsession with making students remember as much as possible AND asking that they fully apply that (somehow) recalled knowledge in the exam. In practice, you will not often be expected to remember and recite all your knowledge of contract law. Instead, it is more likely you will be asked to research a particular topic (with access to Chitty, etc.) and report back (irrespective of time frame, it is EXTREMELY unlikely you will not be permitted to access resources or materials). I am not sure why course providers think the LLB assessments in their current format are in any way (a) a good, accurate reflection of students’ understanding of a given subject (on the basis that a struggle to recall it does not necessarily mean a struggle to understand it) (b) an indicative test of their application skills and how they might USE the law effectively and accurately when asked.

TL;DR – LLB assessments should be binned for more LPC-style exams.



On no, someone who can not memorise!

Boo hoo.



In practice you don’t have time to research everything all the time. Remembering the background information necessary to do your job is required.



Oh the lawyers that have claimed to me to have flawless memories – my, how I laughed.



good universities do not set exams you can pass on memorisation alone without application and distinguishing cases and precedents.



cheating in uni exams are plain blatant…and most unis don’t do anything about it

I was in Uni of ____ and people were just whispering around me and writing when time’s up.

kids nowadays.



4 letters… hmmm is it Kent or Hull?

Must be Kent because Hull is not a real university ha!



Wrong, it was the same place you went, the University of ‘See you next Tuesday’. (I actually heard someone say that, innocently, a couple of days ago, and couldn’t help myself…)



The only thing Harry Potter related here is the snitches.


Richard Von Krafft Ebbing.

12-15 year olds again. This includes a pre-teen audience.


Metropolitan Police




People who cheat in exams tend to get caught out when they have to work in the real world.



It would be nice to think so, but the truth is that those who lie and cheat will prosper.

Look at ‘successful’ politicians and businessmen, for example.



Nowhere in Harry Potter does anyone use uv reactive invisible ink.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.


Knackered of the Yard

I hope you’re referring to 6th or 7th year HG, else the Metropolitan Police have a cozy cell waiting for you.


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