Scots law
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Hi everyone.

My girldfriend was doing a Social Work course at Uni this year but has recently been withdrawn from the course and I want to know if anyone has any advise for her.

Basically in February this year she stupidly was caught for shoplifting. This was her first and only offence and she ended up with a Fiscal Fine. The Fiscal fine states that it is not a criminal record.

When she applied to Uni she was asked if she had any criminal record, and on the advise of her FE lecturer at the time was told not to disclose it until there had been a result. At this point she was totally unaware of what would happen to her, be it let of with a warning, sent to court etc. However the letter from the Procurator Fiscal was delivered after her interview date so she was not being deceptive, she had no information to disclose at that time.

In July when the Uni offered her a place she contacted them and asked what she should do about the fiscal fine. As uni had not started yet she spoke to the department secretary who told her to send an email. She did this but unfortunately the email she sent was sent to a generic email address and apparently these are not forwarded on to the correct people. This I think is hardly her fault if the contact us page of a uni website points to a generic email address it should be forwarded on.

Anyway when she started at Uni on enrolment day she informed the woman enroling her about this and she was told to have an informal chat with her personal tutor later on. She was not enroled at this time as she was still waiting on her SSSC registration coming back.

Further on she had an interview with her pesonal tutor and informed her of the situation who advised her that providing the SSSC would register her there were no problems with her attending uni. She was later asked for another informal chat where the first woman she told about her fiscal fine questioned her about an apparent difference in the story she had told her personal tutor. She explained the situation once more and at the time was satisfied that the confusion had been sorted out. Bearing in mind her first contact regarding the issue was done in a corridor on enrolment day where she was already on edge being the first day of uni, and having to admit she had a fiscal fine. She was told that she would be refered to the SSSC conduct committee and providing they registered her there would be no problem with her carrying on in the course.

My girlfriend then recieved a letter from the SSSC asking her for her take on the shoplifting fine, and to make any comment regarding the letter her head of department had sent to them.

In the letter the head of department stated about the confusion between the two stories she had given but made no declaration regarding that this had been cleared up, she also implied that she had not declared the fiscal fine to the SSSC which was totally untrue as this had clearly been done, and then went on to imply that she withheld information at the interview when she had already told her lecturer that she could not discose something that had not yet been resolved yet.

As she was given the chance to reply to this letter she pointed out all the errors in the email and explained why she commited the offence, how it was the first time she had done anything like this before, and the last! and that she only did it because it was for her son's birthday and she was on benefits at the time and could not afford both food and a present. (she stole a 4.99 book!) She freely admits there was no justification for what she had done, and she has now had to borrow money from her parents to pay the fine, as well as all the other humiliation that goes with this...she has already paid punished for her mistake.

Last Friday she contacted the SSSC who informed her that she had not broken any coduct rules, she does not have any criminal convictions, only a fiscal fine which she was open and honest about, and providing that Disclosure Scotland came back clear they would have no hesitation in approving her registration. The SSSC also said they were waiting on a reply from the university that they had sent the previous Friday to them. She then contacted discosure who said they had her form and were just waiting on confirmation of the offence from the police station and court, and as she had already had an enhanced disclosure from the previous years saw no reason why it would not be done within two weeks.

My girlfriend and I for that matter though she was home and dry. She went into Uni on Monday and asked if they had heard anything from the SSSC, the secretary said no but she would ask the senior lecturer if she had. She was asked into the lecturer's office for a chat, her personal tutor was also invited in and was then informed that they had sent a letter on the 5th of November hoping that she would get it before she returned on the Monday, however she was already on the way to uni when the letter was attempted to be delivered. She was told that she was off the course and handed a copy of the letter.

Basically it implied that she withheld information in her enrolement form and that her offer of a place had been revoked. When she asked if there was any right to appeal the decision she was told no. She was then escorted of the university premisis by two security guards.

I am sorry its taken so long, but I had to try and explain everything. I do hope someone will take the time to read all of this and even more hopeful that some advise can be given. My girlfriend is totally devasted, and so am I for that matter.

Can the Uni revoke her place without any right of appeal.

She was allowed to attend the uni for 2 months, she was on the register, allowed into all the classes etc just like any other student, but she was not allowed to matriculate until the SSSC had made a decision on registration. In my view the uni implied admittance on the course by allowing her to attend, therefore shoud she not be entitled to the same rights as any other student, which is the right to a fair hearing, the right to be represented by someone, the right of appeal!

The uni have always stated that providing she can get registered she will be allowed to stay on the course, how can they then go and change their mind on this.

They have blocked her chance of either getting employment or taking a place on an HND course which she had intended to do if uni did not take her, however it is now November and it is to late to change.

Apparently her personal tutor said in the meeting on Monday that she knew this was a possibility but this had never been disclosed to my girlfriiend, does her personal tutor not have a duty of care and if she suspected this could happen, should have informed her.

We are going to write a letter of complaint, however I would like to know if anyone could offer some advice please.