Stage 2 Complaint

This section should be read in conjunction with the General Principles for students who wish to submit a complaint.  

What is a Stage 2 complaint?

A formal Stage 2 complaint can be submitted if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1, or with the way your complaint was dealt with during Stage 1, or where an informal resolution is not possible or appropriate due to the complexity, seriousness or sensitivity of the case.

How do I submit a Stage 2 complaint?

Stage 2 complaints should be submitted in writing, using the Student Complaint Form (Stage 2)‌ to the Head of Academic Affairs either by email to or in hard copy to Academic Affairs, Level 6, Administration Building, Queen’s University Belfast.

What evidence should I submit as part of the Stage 2 complaint?

You should submit all relevant evidence that supports your complaint such as emails, details of witnesses and their statements (the Students’ Union can advise you on this).  The Investigating Officer will rely on your evidence, so it is important that you include all relevant documentation at this stage of the complaint.

Are there any time limits for making a Stage 2 complaint?

A formal Stage 2 complaint should be submitted to Academic Affairs within 10 working days of the outcome of Stage 1 and normally not later than 25 working days after first becoming aware of the incident or issues giving rise to the complaint. 

The University will consider complaints from students up to one month after graduation or receipt of their final results, whichever is sooner.

What happens next?

You will receive an email to confirm receipt of your complaint.  

Your complaint will be reviewed by the Head of Academic Affairs and, where appropriate, you may be asked to attempt to resolve the complaint informally (Stage 1 of the Student Complaints Procedure) before invoking the formal stage of the procedure.  Informal resolution will also be encouraged where it would, in the opinion of the Head of Academic Affairs, be a more efficient and effective way of addressing your issues.

If, in the opinion of the Head of Academic Affairs, you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the complaint and no other University Policy or Procedure is appropriate, your written complaint will be referred to the relevant Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) or Director of the relevant Service, who will appoint a member of staff to carry out an investigation into the issue(s) you have raised.  The Investigating Officer may wish to meet with you, any person(s) against whom the complaint has been made and any witnesses. 

The Investigating Officer will prepare a report, taking into account all the evidence presented, normally within 15 working days of receiving the complaint.

You will be allowed to see a copy of this report and to respond to it before a decision is made.  You should ensure that all the issues in your complaint have been addressed fully in the Investigating Officer’s report but you cannot question the findings of the report, or any recommendation, at this stage.  Your response should be received by the Investigating Officer within five working days of your receipt of the report.  Following receipt of your response, the Investigating Officer may make further enquiries, where necessary.

The Investigating Officer’s report (which may or may not contain a recommendation), with any further comments from you, or any other parties, shall be forwarded to the relevant Faculty PVC/Director, who shall make a decision.

Can I bring someone with me to the meeting with the Investigating Officer?

Yes.  You have the right to be accompanied by a registered student of the University (including a Sabbatical Officer from the Students’ Union) or by a member of staff of the University or University Chaplaincy at any stage in the procedure.  The role of the person accompanying you is one of support, not representation, and you will normally be expected to present your own case.

If you are a student against whom a complaint has been made and who has been called to an interview or a meeting in relation to the complaint, you have the right to be accompanied and represented by a member of the University staff or University Chaplaincy or by a registered student.

You can also seek assistance and support from the Students’ Union Advice Centre

How long will it take to make a decision?

A Stage 2 investigation will normally be completed within 15 working days from receipt by the Investigating Officer of the written complaint. The outcome of the formal (Stage 2) investigation (the decision by the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Director of Service) will be communicated to you in writing, normally within five working days of the decision by the Faculty PVC/Director.   

However, it may not be possible to meet these deadlines when key staff are on leave or otherwise indisposed.  Where it is not possible for the University to meet the deadlines, for whatever reason and regardless of the time of year, you and anyone against whom a complaint has been made will be informed.

If you want an update on the progress of your complaint, then you should contact Academic Affairs (

What type of finding can be made at Stage 2?

The Faculty PVC/Director of Service will provide you with an outcome to your complaint and may decide to do one of the following:

  1. Seek to resolve your complaint through mediation.
  2. Uphold your complaint in whole or in part (and take action accordingly).
  3. Dismiss your complaint if there is no case to answer.

The Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Director may also dismiss your complaint if it is judged to be frivolous, vexatious or mischievous (in which case action may be taken against you under the University's Conduct Regulations).

What should I do if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 2?

If your complaint is not upheld or you are unhappy with the finding at Stage 2, you may invoke Stage 3 of the Student Complaints Procedure by appealing to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs.