My visually impaired brother attends university ("UNI") in England. In Jul 2017, he requested Alternative Formats. As of Apr 11 2018, UNI's Library still hasn't contacted the publishers, but avowed that they probably can by May 1. They haven't explained this 8-month stonewall. Still without PDFs, he deferred exams to Aug 2018.

The Chief Librarian emailed that he must wait patiently for the publishers to email the Library the PDFs, which can take weeks and will delay him further.

We filed a formal complaint, but UNI denied wrongdoing and any financial compensation. The Student Union uselessly couldn't help.


  1. How can he convince the university to expedite?

  2. How ought he seek compensation? We worry that litigation may offend them and make them victimize my brother. But haven't they infringed Consumer Rights Act 2015 s 52?

(2) In that case the contract is to be treated as including a term that the trader must perform the service within a reasonable time.

(3) What is a reasonable time is a question of fact.

  • It is for the publisher to supply the pdf files - that is not the Uni’s fault.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 10, 2018 at 6:08
  • Similar question : academia.stackexchange.com/q/107269/72855
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 10, 2018 at 6:12
  • 1
    Firstly: Legal advice is not in the scope of this site. Secondly (and @SolarMike) over 10 months is clearly not "weeks". Does the answer by the Chief Librarian mean, that they are unable to request/buy the PDFs without a decision by another entity (then this entity is who you need to contact) or does it mean that they just didn't do/delayed it (then it might be their fault) or they did in July 2017 and the publishers all did not send anything yet (sounds unlikely).
    – skymningen
    Apr 10, 2018 at 10:56
  • @SolarMike Please see the edited post.
    – user24096
    Apr 11, 2018 at 4:50
  • @skymningen Please let me know if the edited post answers your question? The answer: 'they just didn't do/delayed it (then it might be their fault)'.
    – user24096
    Apr 11, 2018 at 4:51

2 Answers 2


Although it might appear that you are purchasing services from the university, I don't think this is true, legally (although I'm not a lawyer).

If you have complained to the university through the official channels you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (http://www.oiahe.org.uk/).


Do you have a human rights tribunal? In Canada, this would likely go to a human rights case around discrimination and accessibility. Usually universities have clear policies on this - is their an omsbudman? I would perhaps think about contacting a lawyer to see their opinion.

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