Academic Concessions & Accommodations

Occasionally, life events arise which prevent a student from writing an examination at the scheduled time or submitting a paper or assignment on the deadline. Or, a student may require accommodations due to a disability or ongoing medical condition. The law school and university have policies and procedures in place to assist in such situations. In addition to the information below, students may wish to consult the supports available on the Law Student Wellbeing page.

Academic Concessions – Exam Deferrals, Paper Extensions & Attendance Waivers

The Allard School of Law at UBC recognizes that a student’s ability to write examinations, meet assignment deadlines or to participate in class activities may be seriously affected by illness, family emergency, or other special circumstances. In the Faculty, requests for academic concessions are directed to the Academic Procedures Committee (through the Assistant Dean, Students) rather than through a student's professor.

Students requesting academic concessions should review the Procedures Governing Requests for Academic Concession by JD Students. Requests should be made promptly and for already missed deadlines or examinations requests based on medical or compassionate grounds must be made no later than 3 days after the due date or examination date. Any questions about academic concessions should be directed to the Assistant Dean, Students.

Requests for academic concession should be made using the appropriate form and providing the required supporting documentation:

The Declaration of Illness Form can be used to replace the requirement for a medical note in certain circumstances. The Declaration of Bereavement Form can replace the requirement to provide a medical note, certificate or legal documentation verifying death of a close family member or friend in certain circumstances. The Declaration of a Serious Medical Care Form can replace the requirement to provide a medical note, certificate or legal documentation verifying the severe illness of a close family member or friend in certain circumstances. The applicable completed Declaration should be returned with the appropriate Request form.

The law school recognizes that circumstances may arise (eg. incidents of sexualized violence) where documentation is unavailable or not appropriate, and encourages students with questions about documentation requirements to reach out to the Assistant Dean, Students, for advice in advance of making an academic concession application.

Back Up Your Work

The Academic Procedures Committee reminds students to regularly back up your computer. In the past, there have been a number of incidents of students losing paper drafts or CANS due to a failure to back up work on their computer. Requests for Academic Concessions due to a failure to back up work will not be considered.

Illness During an Exam

Students are expected to make requests for an exam deferral prior to entering the examination room. Once a student sees an examination paper, the student has committed to writing and completing that exam.  If during the exam, a student experiences a sudden, debilitating illness, which renders them unable to complete an exam, the student must alert the invigilator immediately and ask to be taken to Academic Services Staff for assessment.  All attempts will be made to have the student complete the exam that day. 

Requests from students for retroactive exam deferrals or concessions after an exam is written or submitted (eg. claiming an in-exam illness or incident) will not be reviewed unless the student alerted the invigilator during the exam as per the above process.

December Exams for First-Year Students

First-Year December exams are mandatory.  If a student experiences a circumstance that makes them unable to sit for a December 1L practice exam, the student should request an exam waiver using the Examination Deferral form (located above).  Due to the fail-safe nature of December practice exams and the intensive nature of the first-year program, exam deferrals are not available for December practice exams. The student's April exam in that course will be worth 100% of their final grade.

For first-year courses where the December exam counts towards the final mark in the course, an exam waiver is not available. If a student experiences a circumstance that makes them unable to sit for this exam, the student should request an exam deferral using the Examination Deferral form (located above).

Course Withdrawals

Withdrawal from a course after the last date to drop with a W is available as an academic concession and only in exceptional circumstances (for example, inability to complete the course due to a sudden health condition or tragedy, or you are experiencing unforeseen circumstances which are impacting your studies).  Late withdrawals can only be granted with approval from the Assistant Dean, Students. Students requesting a late withdrawal should do so promptly and are expected to provide supporting documentation. Late withdrawals are not available if you have written the final exam or completed the final assessments in the course.

If you remained registered in the course past the withdrawal deadline, and do not qualify for academic concession, you have committed to completing the course.

Accommodations – Disability or Ongoing Medical Condition

UBC’s Centre for Accessibility assists students with a disability or ongoing medical condition overcome challenges that may affect their academic success. Law students who think they may be eligible for academic accommodations while in law school should contact Centre for Accessibility as soon as possible and ideally prior to the start of their law studies to set up an appointment and register for accommodations.

The types of conditions supported by Centre for Accessibility include, but are not limited to:

  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders or bi-polar disorder
  • Neurological disabilities such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, head injuries and Asperger's syndrome
  • Chronic health conditions including ongoing medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, or migraines
  • Physical disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing loss, or mobility impairments

Academic accommodations in the Allard School of Law are processed through Academic Services rather than through a student’s individual instructors. Once a student receives a letter outlining his or her academic accommodations from Centre for Accessibility, the student should follow up with the Assistant Dean, Students (accommodations) or the Director, Academic Services (exams) about implementation within the Faculty. 

If a student experiences a temporary injury, such as a broken or sprained limb or mild concussion,  the student should reach out to the law school first to explore accommodation or concessions (such as exam deferrals or retroactive course withdrawals) prior to approaching Centre for Accessibility.