Tanya Thomas

Partner - Education Law

Tanya Thomas

Tanya Thomas

Partner - Education Law

Tanya was admitted as a solicitor in 2002. Tanya has a wealth of experience in the Higher Education sector and has represented hundreds of students in higher education to help them achieve their academic goals including return to study after having been withdrawn.

Tanya is particularly knowledgeable about the issues faced by students having worked as a University Advisor within a Russell Group University. In that role Tanya not only gave advice to hundreds of students but was also involved in helping the University draft its regulations to meet the Good Practice Framework requirements set by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (the OIA) which is the Ombudsman for Higher Education. Tanya’s unique insight into the way in which Universities deal with student issues enables her to provide advice on how clients can make use of other relevant procedures to maximise their prospects of success. Tanya has also undertaken training at the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) to develop her knowledge of the external complaints process.

Tanya has succeeded in getting students back on their courses including medical, nursing and teaching students due to undiagnosed or ‘hidden disabilities’ (referred to as ‘extenuating’ or ‘mitigating’ circumstances). She has represented a large number of students in disciplinary cases to appeal against unjust or overly harsh penalties.

In 2016 Tanya represented a cohort of medical students in a widely publicised case. All the students she represented were permitted to return to study and following their representations the university issued a public statement about its failings in relation to Equality and Diversity.

Whilst at the Students’ Union Tanya participated in an NUS pilot study to address ‘lad culture’ on campus. She also collaborated with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office on a domestic violence advocacy pathway by facilitating training and introducing an anonymised referral form. In 2016 Tanya delivered a workshop at the NUS conference in Liverpool about both projects to assist other Student Unions in improving the student experience.

Areas covered:

  • Academic Appeals – mistakes of fact, procedural irregularities and extenuating circumstances (including undiagnosed disabilities)
  • Unfair Practice – Plagiarism, exam misconduct and collusion
  • Student Discipline – misconduct including misuse of social media
  • Fitness to Practise (professional qualifications) - medicine, nursing, healthcare sciences, social work and law etc
  • Complaints against the university – post graduate supervision, procedural irregularity, bullying etc.
  • Complaints to OIA
  • PhD - complaints and appeals about supervision and examination irregularities
  • Appeals against withdrawals / expulsion



"Tanya helped me dealing with a complicated situation. When I thought all was lost she fought for me and got me back on the road. She is professional and loyal, empathetic and SO supportive. She guided me through the procedure of academic appeals and advised me of the pros and cons. Also, she was available even when busy and in emergencies and always showed up. I don’t know what would have happened if our ways would not cross and I am thankful for her hard work. Thank you Tanya!"
YH - June 2022

"Tanya Thomas handled my case with the upmost professionalism and care. Not once did I  feel unsupported by Tanya through the process and not once did she let me down. My case was strung with obstacles which made it very difficult but Tanya was always able to manoeuvre and make sure my voice was heard. I could not have asked for a better outcome from the case and it was all down to Tanya. I highly recommend Tanya for any problems you encounter in University as there is no one with more knowledge and determination to get you justice and help you achieve what you set out to achieve. Thank you Tanya for everything and I definitely would not be back on track without you. 10/10."
HS – Nov 2021

"I had a great experience working with Tanya Thomas during my academic appeal. She took time to explain things in the language I could understand. I will recommend her to any student from any race. Her depth of professionalism, attention to details and competency is great. Thanks Tanya."
Florence A – April 2021

"I cannot thank you enough for taking on our case and helping our son with his university appeal for extenuating circumstances. Tanya Thomas was outstanding and fully understood the challenges of our son's situation, empathetically navigating him through the possibilities and achieving a great result on his behalf."
- Gill McKay Nov 2020

"Ms Tanya Thomas is a brilliant solicitor in Education Law, standing up for students and righting misjustices against them, increasingly perpetrated by universities. I had a prolonged stressful experience of why there is a need for solicitors who understand Education Law when I came up against bias, obstruction, and incompetence from the course leader on my PGCE course. I ended up having to lodge an academic appeal over breach of university policy, procedural irregularity, and an unfair and unjust grade for my final presentation assignment, awarded by the person who was bias towards me. Without Tanya’s expertise and help I would never have made it through the quagmire of laws, policies, protocols, and rules. I was surprised to learn from Tanya some of the national laws that offer some protection to students, which I would never have even considered as being applicable. My career would have been finished but Tanya stepped in and removed a lot of the stress from me and won the case, enabling me to continue with my studies and chosen career in teaching. Tanya actually won my case at review stage, 2nd attempt, because the university previously overlooked some critical evidence which she picked up on straight away. Thank you, Tanya. I would recommend Ms Tanya Thomas to any student who faces university issues over their studies."
T Forrest Nov 2020

"Tanya Thomas, I cannot thank you enough. I know the case isn't quite done yet - but I feel that I wouldn't have gotten as far without your assistance and for that alone I cannot thank you enough. I highly recommend anyone who is having issues with their University to contact Tanya. It is really worth your time and she is incredibly patient and knowledgeable."
SA Nov 2020

"After finding myself in a difficult situation with the university where I studied for 3 hard years, I requested assistance from Tanya. Without Tanya I would have given up and my work would have been for nothing, as the support offered by the university got me nowhere. I can’t thank Tanya enough for her successful efforts to better the outcome of my case. I would highly recommend Tanya to anyone dealing with accusations of academic misconduct!"
CT Nov 2020

"I'm so delighted with the outcome and was always confident with Tanya's exceedingly professional service! My matter was rather complicated and I lost all hope to win my case but Tanya's knowledgeable, efficient thinking made it possible to win. Tanya Thomas always kept me informed and updated me of procedures with legal explanation wherever necessary. I wouldn't hesitate to use your firm again in the future, and will also happily recommend you to others requiring professional assistance in Higher Education."
- A,June 2019



Jurisdictions

  • England & Wales

Specialisms

Education law; Higher Education; fitness to practise proceedings, academic appeals, unfair practice, student disciplinary hearings, extenuating circumstances applications, appeals against withdrawal, university complaints, complaints about PhD supervision, complaints to the OIA and any other procedural irregularities covering students from all institutions across England and Wales.

Qualifications

    • Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales

Career

  • Setfords solicitors
  • HCB Solicitors
  • Cardiff University Students’ Union – Student Advisor
  • Davies Sully Wilkins

Tanya says...

Getting a degree from University is now a huge financial commitment. A degree can positively impact upon your career and your future earning potential. When things go wrong, such as failing your degree, or being expelled, it is often of overwhelming importance to try and put things right. It is therefore really important that you get independent and competent advice as soon as you possibly can. Delay is often the main reason complaints and appeals are not upheld. I help students understand how university procedures work and how to go about challenging them. I have helped a number of students achieve academic success after experiencing serious setbacks such as ill health, mental health issues, disability, bullying and malicious misconduct allegations.