Mitigating Circumstances

The following is a summary of the EMC Procedure (Exceptional Mitigating Circumstances)

The EMC procedure exists to support you if you encounter short term, unforeseen personal mitigating circumstances that affect your academic performance (or your ability to submit or attend university classes).

If, for example, you are due to submit a piece of work or sit an exam and you are being affected by something such as a serious illness, a recent bereavement, a divorce, being made homeless, or an incident causing you to be hospitalised, you can submit an EMC to ask that those circumstances are considered should you fail to submit or perform below your normal standards.


What counts as exceptional mitigating circumstances?

It’s not possible to draw up a definitive list of mitigating circumstances. As a general guide, however, exceptional mitigating circumstances will usually relate to:

  • Circumstances arising which are out of your control, such as illness or the death of a close relative
  • Sudden events which could not be planned for, such as accidents or emergencies, especially in relation to caring responsibilities
  • Significant changes in your circumstances since you began your course, such as the diagnosis of a chronic medical condition

If you’d like to take a look, the mitigating circumstances form can be found at the bottom of this page under Resources.

The form should be completed, and where possible, co-signed by your tutor, to show that they are aware of the issue(s) affecting you.

In all cases, a statement should accompany the EMC form, either using the box within it or via an attached word document, in addition to time-appropriate supporting evidence.


When to submit an EMC

Absolute deadlines for submitting EMC applications are set by Academic Registry and are found on the University’s EMC webpage.

We advise you to submit your application at the earliest opportunity and certainly no later than the deadlines set.


Supporting Statement

Your statement should clearly address how the mitigating circumstance are affecting you and your studies at that time.

For example, it is not always enough to simply state that a family member has passed away. The faculty need to know how you are affected and why your studies are affected. (e.g. Depression, grief, stress or anxiety affecting your ability to retain information or to write submit to your usual standards).

If you contact us at the Advice Centre and provide us with a draft statement, we can review this and offer advice and suggested amendments for you to consider.



You must provide evidence when submitting a mitigating circumstances request.

Evidence should address the following:

  • In cases related to illness, you must provide a medical certificate from your doctor. We would normally expect this to have been obtained at the time you were ill.
  • For other circumstances, you need to have written objective validation of the events that have affected you. Where this relates to the death or illness of a close relative, you still need to provide evidence to support your application.

It is your responsibility to provide the evidence to support your application. Neither we nor the University will not contact third parties on your behalf.

If your application does not include evidence and the EMC panel believes it could reasonably have been provided, your application may not be accepted.

We feel that we need to emphasise that (a) supporting evidence is vital and (b) that the evidence must be time appropriate to the affected assignment / exam.


Next Steps

If the EMC is upheld EHU will allow you a further opportunity to submit the work or sit the exam to the same level as the affected assignment/exam (meaning if it was your 1st attempt at that assignment / exam you would be offered another 1st attempt (uncapped). If it is your 2nd attempt that is being affected (capped at 40%) you would be offered a further second attempt.

If your EMC is rejected, there is no appeal process, but if the affected assignment is failed you may be able to submit an academic appeal (based on mitigating circumstances) if you are able to supply new information and evidence that was not submitted with your EMC.

The EMC procedure does not take into account long-term illnesses or disabilities unless there has been an unusual spike in your condition (which can be evidenced) at the time of the relevant assignment. Students with long term illness’s or disabilities should contact the EHU inclusion team to request information on support available, on 0169565 4190.

If you would like to speak to an SU adviser about an EMC you can now book a 30 minute appointment online here or here.  





Further information can be found here: