The Law School's academic staff have collaborated to produce some guidance about the way that we work out whether someone is entitled to an extension. We are trying to make sure that all students know how decisions about extensions are made. We are committed to making sure those students who need and are entitled to an extension get one. Extensions are designed to address unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances. The most common examples are illness, injury and personal or family tragedy.
Where a health condition is involved, we will accept a medical certificate from a medical practitioner, hospital or other registered practitioner (eg dentist, physiotherapist, psychologist) that states your unfitness for study for a defined period of time. If someone you are caring for such as a child, partner or other close relative becomes ill and that prevents you from studying, we will accept their medical certificate, or formal documentation stating that you were required to care for that person for a specific time. Medical certificates do not need to say what the illness or condition is. You may be asked to sign a statutory declaration asserting the truth of these claims. Where compassionate circumstances (examples include relationship breakdown, death of someone close to you, violence against you or members of your family, or other serious family or personal stress) are involved, you do not need to disclose them. However, you must provide a letter from a counsellor or registered health practitioner stating that your ability to study was impaired for a specific period of time. Getting support can make dealing with stress easier, speed your return to having a good life and being an effective student or deal with the difficulty you are facing. However, not all difficulties are the basis for an extension. Each student has the responsibility of calculating their own balance between study, work, family responsibilities and other activities.
Access Plans and extensions
If you have an Access Plan which enables you to apply for extensions without having to produce additional medical certificates, please be aware that you still need to apply for an extension.
When to apply
The extension application must be made as soon as you become aware of the circumstances which require an extension. An application made at or after the due date for submission will be granted only if it was not possible for the application to be made earlier. The length of an extension will generally be proportionate to the delay or impairment caused by the circumstances on which the application is based. The fact that you have other assessment due or have not organised your time to get the paper in by the due date will not be grounds for granting an extension. If you are in doubt, please contact the topic coordinator as soon as possible and ask.
What do I have to disclose?
Unless you wish to, and/or consider it necessary, there is no need to provide specific details of your circumstances. For example, if you are seeking an extension on compassionate grounds it does not need to state your circumstances, but rather confirm that you have compassionate grounds for an extension. This allows you the option of sharing your personal information on a need to know basis with a suitable person.
What is not a sufficient basis for an extension?
According to University policy, to achieve an average grade, you should expect to spend two hours per week in classes and in individual study time for each unit point in which you are enrolled. A student enrolled in a full- time load of 18 units for a semester should expect to spend 36 hours on study every week. (Your particular workload may vary between weeks). This includes every week from the beginning of the semester until the end of exams, including weeks in which no lectures are given. You can choose to undertake a study overload or a heavy overall load of study and other commitments. However, the resulting workload is not unforeseen or unavoidable, and will not therefore usually be sufficient basis for an extension in itself. For this reason, a study overload, work commitments, family responsibilities, holidays, overseas travel or participation in sport will not usually be a sufficient basis for an extension. If your overall commitments are more than you can manage, it may be appropriate to withdraw from one or more topics, before the cut-off date. Retrospective Withdraw Not Fail (WN) is only available as a last resort, where medical or compassionate circumstances are such that extensions would not provide an adequate solution. There are a range of other foreseeable matters that will not be sufficient grounds for extensions. You are expected to plan enough time for assignments to allow for minor crises such as printer breakdowns and malfunctions, car breakdowns and so on. Do not leave handing your paper up until the last moment and then expect an extension if you have printing problems five minutes before the deadline.
False Medical Certificates
Submitting a false medical certificate will result in more than simply a denial of the extension. Consequences include all that flows from a breach of academic Integrity, including being listed on the confidential register. Being listed on the confidential register will affect your admission to practice as you are required to supply documentation relating to academic dishonesty and any criminal convictions. Forging any details on a medical certificate is a criminal offence.