Higher education student contract
Produced in partnership with Kris Robbetts of VWV
Higher education student contract

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Kris Robbetts of VWV provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Higher education student contract
  • Legal status of relationship with students
  • Student contracts
  • When does a contract form?
  • UCAS
  • Matriculation
  • Contractual considerations
  • Consumer legislation
  • Regulations, policies and procedures
  • Academic rules
  • More...

The UK higher education (HE) sector has been slow to adopt the sort of standardised contractual documentation that has been commonplace in other education sub-sectors for decades. This Practice Note considers the legal relationship between students and their HE providers and, in particular, why student contracts are now being reconsidered despite well-established opposition.

Legal status of relationship with students

The legal relationship between a university and its students will depend in part on the way the university is constituted. Generally, universities have been created either by statute or Royal Charter. They may also be companies registered under the Companies Act 2006. See Practice Note: University governance in England.

HE corporations were created by the Education Reform Act 1988, which gave further education (FE) institutions meeting statutory enrolment criteria the status of bodies corporate. The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 gave all HE corporations full university status, making provision for internal governance but no change to their legal character. HE corporations have no charter nor provision for a Visitor.

Student contracts

Whichever position applies, universities have a perpetual and distinct legal personality as corporations that can enter into contracts and the university-student relationship is now accepted as being primarily a contractual one. The typical 'student contract' is not a single document but rather a combination of the terms of the Prospectus (and other documents) and conditions attached to registration

Popular documents