Key things to consider

Important note: before submitting a claim, you should read the full guidance below and the Mitigating circumstances FAQs.

The full University regulations governing mitigating circumstances are available in Section 11 of the Handbook of Academic Regulations:

Self-certification

If your claim relates to a short-term illness or circumstance that occurs within five days of the assessment being due, you can self-certify for your absence. Self-certification is not available for every type of assessment and you can only self-certify twice in any one academic year.

Documentary evidence

If you are not eligible to self-certify, you will need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim supported by documentary evidence.

Coronavirus

The University currently accepts mitigating circumstances claims for Coronavirus-related absence for coursework extensions (‘allow late’) and deferral of individual assessment tasks without the need for documentary evidence. You still need to submit a claim in the normal way, via the online Mitigating Circumstances task (not the self-certification task).

Fit to sit

If you choose to submit/undertake an assessment, you are declaring yourself fit to do so. This will invalidate your MC claim and your mark for the assessment will stand.

Timing of your claim and communicating our decision

If you submit a claim close to the assessment deadline it is possible that you will not receive a decision until after the work was due. However, you should be reassured that if you have submitted a valid claim based on the agreed criteria for MCs and provided the required documentary evidence (where needed), the MC will be accepted.

What are mitigating circumstances?

Mitigating circumstances (MCs) are serious unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances that significantly disrupt student performance in assessment.

You are expected to plan your academic work so that you can meet assessment deadlines at the same time as any obligations you may have both inside and outside the University. The mitigating circumstances process should only be used if you experience significant disruption to your studies due to circumstances that were unforeseen and out of your control.

For a claim to be accepted, you must demonstrate that the mitigating circumstances meet all the following criteria:

  1. were outside your control
  2. were unforeseen and unforeseeable
  3. were serious
  4. were evidenced to be true
  5. were related directly to the timing of the assessment affected (ie that they occurred at the same time as the assessment date, or during the preparation period immediately prior to the assessment date)
  6. either prevented you from submitting or taking the assessment by the due date, or where you have undertaken the assessment, adversely impacted on your performance such that if it had not been for those circumstances you would have performed significantly better. Please check the ‘fit to sit’ policy below for further details

The following are the most common examples of mitigating circumstances for which a claim might be accepted (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Serious short-term illness
  • Death of a close relative or friend
  • Sudden deterioration of a long-term condition

The following are examples of circumstances which will not normally be accepted (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Medical circumstances that occurred outside the relevant assessment period
  • Holiday/employment commitments
  • Poor study practice
  • Ignorance of due dates/times
  • Poor time management
  • Late disclosure of circumstances on the basis that a student felt unable or uncomfortable confiding in a University staff member about their mitigating circumstances

What can I apply for in my mitigating circumstances?

  • Late submission of an assessment (“Allow Late” on the MC task) – A short extension for coursework deadlines of up to 5 working days, without penalty. You may be eligible to apply for self-certification which does not require evidence. Further information regarding self-certification can be found below
  • Non-attendance or non-submission of an assessment – A deferral of the assessment to the next available opportunity, without penalty. If your claim is accepted during the academic year, the next available opportunity will be in the resit period in July. If your claim is accepted in July, the next available opportunity will be in the following academic year
  • Defer a whole module to the next academic year –The opportunity to re-attend and re-attempt all assessments in the module during the following academic year.

Please note:

  • The outcome of any Mitigating Circumstances claim may be different from what has been requested.
  • If your claim to defer assessment to the following year is successful, this may mean you will not have completed the minimum amount of modules/credits to progress to the next level (see our Mitigating circumstances FAQs for further information). You may have to return as a part-time or ‘assessment only’ student for up to one year to retrieve any outstanding assessments. If you're a final year undergraduate student and you defer your assessment, you may not be able to complete your award this academic year.
  • Any deferral of assessment can also affect your eligibility for SLC funding and may also affect the conditions of your Visa (if appropriate). Please contact Student Advice for further information.
  • The procedures for adjusting assessment for disabled students are separate from the procedures for mitigating circumstances. A student requiring adjustments to assessment due to any circumstances arising from a disability must contact Disability Learning Support; you should not use your evidence of a disability in support of a claim for mitigating circumstances.

Read our Mitigating circumstances FAQs.

The full University regulations governing mitigating circumstances are available in Section 11 of the Handbook of Academic Regulations:

Self-certification

Self-certification allows students the opportunity and responsibility to submit a claim for a short absence, in appropriate circumstances. This is in recognition that it is not always possible or appropriate to seek an appointment, or consult with a GP, for short-term illness. The ability to self-certify for a mitigating circumstances claim is only permitted twice in one academic year. Subsequent claims in any one academic year will require supporting documentary evidence.

The option to self-certify is not available for every type of assessment. It can be used for a short extension of 5 days to your coursework submission deadline (‘allow late’), or deferral of an exam, test or presentation that has been missed. The option to self-certify is not permitted for an illness which lasts longer than five days. Self-certified claims will not be accepted retrospectively, more than five days after the assessment was due. It must not be used for an illness for which it would be reasonable to seek medical attention. In such circumstances, medical certification must be obtained, to support any claim for mitigating circumstances.

Examples of short-term illness for which self-certification would be acceptable are short-term illnesses for which the student is unable, or for which it is not appropriate, to obtain contemporaneous medical advice or evidence, such as:

  • Migraine
  • Norovirus
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Acute period pain
  • Flu
  • Food poisoning
  • Diarrhoea

(This list is not exhaustive).

Other examples are a sudden bereavement in the family or unforeseen carer responsibilities on the day of the coursework deadline, exam, in-class test or presentation.

Self-certification must only be used where absolutely necessary, and the University still expects students to manage minor ailments themselves e.g. coughs or colds.

What is the 'fit-to-sit' policy?

The University operates a ‘fit to sit’ policy, which means that if you submit a piece of coursework or sit an exam / in-class test etc, you have deemed yourself fit to do so. It is your responsibility to determine if you are fit to participate in assessments or if a mitigating circumstances claim should be submitted.

Where due to the nature of the circumstances you were unable to determine that you were not fit to be assessed when deciding to submit or present for assessment, a mitigating circumstances claim may be submitted where this can be supported by independent documentary evidence.

Such claims must demonstrate with evidence that not only were you unfit to undertake the assessment, but also that you were unfit to appreciate that fact at the time. 

The full University regulations governing mitigating circumstances are available in Section 11 of the Handbook of Academic Regulations:

Please contact your Campus Registry Office if you need further advice or guidance.

How to submit an MC claim/Self-certification claim

To submit your claim, you'll need to:

  • log in to My Student Record
  • go to the 'My Profile' tab
  • in the 'My Self-Service' box, click on the 'Submit a Mitigating Circumstances Claim' link
  • complete the MC claim submission process

You will not be able to submit your claim online after results have been processed prior to the Assessment Board meeting. You must contact your Campus Registry Office for further advice on the procedure to submit your claim.

Please note: for claims that require documentary evidence, you may be required to present your evidence to the registry for authentication if requested.

If you are unclear about the process, you should seek advice and guidance from your registry office and/or personal tutor or course leader before submitting a claim. Misinterpretation or lack of awareness of these regulations will not be considered a valid reason for non-compliance.

You should be aware that discussing your circumstances with staff does not constitute a submission of a mitigating circumstances claim.

You will find a link to the MC regulations and FAQs at each step of the process should you need to refer to them for help.

Deadlines for the 2020/21 academic year

Self-certified claims must be submitted within five days of the assessment date/deadline.

The final deadlines provided below are only for claims that require documentary evidence. These should be submitted as close as possible to the timing of the assessment, and normally within one month of the mitigating circumstances occurring.

You should normally receive the decision of the Mitigating Circumstances Board within five working days of the submission of the claim. During busy times of the academic year, you may be notified within ten working days.

If your claim has been rejected, details of why the claim was unsuccessful will normally be made available to you via e:Vision and email. If you require additional information, you must contact your Campus Registry Office.

In the case of a rejected claim that required documentary evidence, you will have only one further opportunity to re-submit the claim. This must be based on new additional evidence. In addition to the new evidence you submit, you can request the Mitigating Circumstances Board to consider previous evidence submitted; please make this clear in your statement.

The submission of a second claim should normally be made within one month following the outcome of the first claim. Where a second claim is submitted after this period, you will need to explain why it is late, and your evidence should also support your reasons for the late submission.

Late claims after the final published deadline will only be considered in highly exceptional circumstances, where there is credible and compelling evidence supporting the reason for late submission, the evidence should also explicitly support the inability to submit the claim by the University’s published deadline.

If your mitigating circumstances claim has been rejected twice for the same assessment, you will not be able to submit any further claims for these pieces of assessment.

If you believe that you have a valid case, based on evidence, that a material irregularity has occurred in the conduct of the mitigating circumstances process, you may be able to submit an Academic Appeal. Details of the academic appeal procedure and deadlines can be found on our Academic appeals page.;

Before submitting an Academic Appeal, you should contact the Students Union Advice Service who can provide free, confidential advice and are completely independent of the University. The advice service can assist in discussing your case and the procedures applied. To book an appointment go to or email [email protected].

  • Semester 1 — Friday 15 January 2021 (for all Semester 1 assessments and January scheduled exams)
  • Semester 2 — Tuesday 18 May 2021 (for all Semester 2 assessments and exams)
  • Referrals/deferrals — Friday 9 July 2021
  • Summer School — Friday 30 July 2021 (for all study abroad summer school modules)

LPC claims should be submitted within three days of the date of assessment as required by the professional body.

If you are a student studying Legal Practice within the Westminster Law School please note there are specific MC regulations that apply to you, in particular when you are required to sit deferred examinations, which may not be in line with the normal university deferral periods.

Details are provided in the course handbook. Please ensure that you always check the handbook or with the LPC Administration Officer.

Please note in particular that Civil and Criminal Litigation must be taken in the same examination period.

  • Deadline for Postgraduate Dissertations/Projects in Semester 1 — Friday 22 January 2021
  • Deadline for Postgraduate Dissertations/Projects in Semester 3 — Friday 17 September 2021

Deadline for Postgraduate Life Sciences students deferral/referral assessments — Friday 13 August 2021

  • Deadline for first semester work — Tuesday 18 May 2021
  • Deadline for second semester work — Friday 13 August 2021
  • Referrals/deferrals – Friday 17 September 2021

  • Deadline for first semester work — Tuesday 18 May 2021
  • Deadline for second semester work — Tuesday 27 July 2021
  • Referrals/deferrals – Friday 3 September 2021

Please refer to the Research Degree Handbook – applications should be made only through the Virtual Research Environment (VRE). If you have any queries, please email .

What evidence do I need if I've had to self-isolate due to Coronavirus?

The University will accept mitigating circumstances claims for all Coronavirus-related absence for coursework extensions (‘allow late’ up to 5 working days) and deferral of individual assessment tasks to the refer/defer period without the need for documentary evidence.

You'll need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances Claim (MC Claim) in the normal way for each piece of assessment missed.

This temporary change to our Mitigating Circumstances regulations has been made in recognition of the impact that Coronavirus may have on the ability of students to achieve their full potential during these challenging times. Short extensions to coursework deadlines and deferrals to the next assessment period provide the opportunity for students to continue to engage with their studies so that they do not suffer long delays that affect their eligibility to progress or complete.

Long-term and more serious effects of the pandemic that impact on a student’s ability to continue to engage with their studies that may require a longer period of deferral (eg deferral of a whole module with attendance the following academic year) may be still be claimed through the normal Mitigating Circumstances procedure with the appropriate documentary evidence. Longer term deferral has consequences for progression, completion and eligibility for funding, so students thinking of submitting such a claim should discuss this first with Student Advice, their Campus Registry and/or their Personal Tutor.

Independent documentary evidence

For claims that are not eligible for self-certification and require documentary evidence, the following examples of types of evidence are provided for guidance only. It is important that you provide as much evidence and information as possible to support your claim. Where evidence is not presented in English, it is your responsibility to have it independently translated by an accredited translator, prior to submission.

If you require further advice or guidance about the mitigating circumstances process, please speak to your Campus Registry Office or your personal tutor.

If you are seeing a Professional Counsellor, Psychiatrist, Mental Health Clinician, etc for difficulties that have impacted on your studies, you may ask them to provide a confidential statement.

The University's Counselling Service will only provide statements for mitigating circumstances claims where you have received support over a period relevant to the claim in question. Letters will not be provided at the first meeting with a University Counsellor or Adviser.

Please note: any letter provided by the University's Counselling Service is not a guarantee that your claim will be accepted.

In the case of evidence relating to medical conditions, this must take the form of a medical certificate or doctor’s letter that is either obtained at the time of the illness or evidence that makes it clear that you were unwell at the time. Images of prescriptions and medication cannot be accepted alone as evidence for a claim. The evidence must state the time and duration of the illness and include a clear medical opinion. A note from the doctor indicating that the student told them they were unwell will not normally be accepted, and self-certification cannot be accepted.

Where the mitigating circumstances relate to the death of someone related to or known to you, the University normally requires a death certificate or an officially certified copy of a death certificate, or equivalent official document to be provided. If you have been affected by a death of someone other than a partner, parent, child or close family member, the University requires you to explain the relationship to the deceased and the impact upon your studies.

Bereavement will normally be considered to cover the assessments within the semester when the death occurred. If you feel you have been affected by a death beyond this you will normally need to provide additional evidence to indicate how the death has affected you personally eg a doctor’s certificate.

If you are a part-time or evening student in employment and you are prevented by your employer’s action(s) from attending assessments or completing work by the published deadline, you must provide documentary evidence from your employer to support your claim.  Full-time students will not normally be eligible to claim for mitigating circumstances in relation to employment. The University appreciates some students work to finance their studies but assumes that students will make their studies a priority. It is a student’s responsibility to evaluate whether they can comply with the requirements of their chosen course before enrolling at the University.

Financial and accommodation problems must be substantiated by documentary evidence. Claims and evidence for financial and accommodation problems are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Where a scheduled assessment such as an In Class Text, presentation, performance or formal examination is held on a religious observance date, a claim for mitigating circumstances may be submitted in accordance with these regulations. Except where the Faith and Spirituality team is unable to confirm that the assessment coincides with a day of religious observance, the student will be offered a deferral to the next available opportunity. Students should refer to the Religion and Belief Policy.

You may seek a supporting statement from your Personal Tutor (or another suitably qualified member of University staff), in order to help you to articulate your claim, if that individual is aware of the circumstances and their effects, although this cannot, in itself, constitute independent documentary evidence.