Analysis of the Causes of Conflicts at Universities and Alternative Methods of Resolving Them. Part II: Academic Ombudsman and Adjudicative Methods

Ewa Gmurzyńska


This study is the second part of the article entitled: Analysis of the Causes of Conflicts at Universities and Alternative Methods of Resolving Them. Part I: Mediation in Academic Disputes. The first part analyzes the causes of conflicts at universities and the basic alternative method of solving them – mediation. The second part focuses on the issue of academic disputes in the context of the court proceeding, and discusses the institutions of the academic ombudsman, arbitration in academic disputes and mixed methods, in particular the Office of Independent Adjudicator. Due to the changing expectations of students towards universities, contractual nature of these relations, increased number of court proceedings brought against universities or anticipation of such an increase, as well as the development of ADR methods in various fields, universities around the world started to look for new ways of solving academic disputes that would protect the independence of universities and at the same time fulfill an educational function. ADR methods such as mediation, ombudsman or arbitration may effectively replace or supplement insufficient internal procedures, as well as court proceedings characterized by high costs, lengthy procedures and formalism. These methods are better adapted to the nature of the academic community, take into account the voice of the participants, give them the opportunity to influence the proceeding and outcome of the dispute, ensure the equality of the parties. They also fulfill educational purposes, especially in disputes involving students, as they give the possibility of ending the dispute through dialogue and taking into account the point of view of the other party.


academic disputes; ombudsman; academic ombudsman; arbitration; mediation



Abramson H., Mediation Representation: Advocating in a Problem – Solving Process, Boulder 2004.

Academic Freedom, ed. J. Lacky, Oxford 2018.

Annex: A Survey of Campus Ombudsmen in continental Europe, North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand, [in:] Evidence of 1994 Group, Pathway 3: Towards early resolution and more effective complaints handling, OIA, Reading, October 2012.

Bamzai A., The Origins of Judicial Deference to Executive Interpretation, “Yale Law Journal” 2016–2017, vol. 126(4), DOI:

Bauer F., The Practice of One Ombudsman, “Negotiation Journal” 2000, vol. 16(1), DOI:

Bickel R.D., Lake P.F., The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University: Who Assumes the Risk of College Live, Durham 1999.

Burnett C.W, Matthews W.L. Jr, The Legalistic Culture in American Higher Education, “College and University” 1982, vol. 57.

Charmatz M., Binding Arbitration: Bad for Students, Bad for Schools, “Disability Compliance for Higher Education” 2019, vol. 26(6), DOI:

Conrath R.C., In Loco Parentis: Recent Developments in this Legal Doctrine as Applied to the University-Student Relationship in the United States of America 1965–75, Dissertation submitted to the Kent State University Graduate School of Education, June 1996.

Conway M., Canadian and US Ombuds: What Are We Doing and Why Are We Doing?, “Journal of the California Caucus College and University Ombuds” 2013 (11 July).

Dagley D.L., Veir C.A., Subverting the Academic Abstention Doctrine in Teacher Evaluation: How School Reform Legislation Defeats Itself, “Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal” 2002, no. 1.

Delgado R., Dunn Ch., Brown P., Lee H., Hubbert D., Fairness and Formality: Minimizing the Risk of Prejudice in Alternative Dispute Resolution, “Wisconsin Law Review” 1985, no. 1359.

Dutile F.N., Law, Governance, and Academic and Disciplinary Decisions in Australian Universities: An American Perspective, “Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law” 1996, vol. 13(69).

Dutile F.N., Law and Governance Affecting the Resolution of Academic and Disciplinary Disputes at Scottish Universities: An American Perspective, “Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law” 1997, vol. 14(1), DOI:

Espada Recarey L., The Ombudsman for Spanish Higher Education Institutions, Vigo 2006.

Finkin M.W., The Arbitration of Faculty Status Disputes in Higher Education, “Southwestern Law Journal” 1976, vol. 30(2).

Gajda A., The Trials of Academe: The New Era of Campus Litigation, Cambridge–London 2009.

Gmurzyńska E., Analysis of the Causes of Conflicts at Universities and Alternative Methods of Resolving Them. Part I: Mediation in Academic Disputes, „Studia Iuridica Lublinensia” 2021, vol. 30(1), DOI:

Grier J., Wohl J., Leidenfrost J., Thirty Years of Solitude? University Ombudsmen’s Pioneering Past, Confident Present, Challenging Future, Report of the 12th ENOHE Annual Conference, Innsbruck 2015.

Grillo T., The Mediation Alternative: Process Dangers for Women, “The Yale Law Journal” 1991, vol. 100(6), DOI:

Herfs P., Ombudsman at Canadian Universities Through the Eyes of a Dutch Ombudsman, “Journal of the California Caucus of College and University” 2016, vol. 13.

Howard Ch., The Organizational Ombudsman. Origins, Roles, and Operations: A Legal Guide, Chicago 2010.

Leas T., Academic absence, [in:] Encyclopedia of Law and Higher Education, ed. Ch.J. Russo, Los Angeles 2010.

Leas T., Higher Education, the Courts and the ‘Doctrine’ of Academic Abstention, “Journal of Law and Education” 1991, vol. 20(2).

Lee J., Classical, Advocate, and Organizational: An Overview of Ombuds from Scandinavian Origins to the Governments, Corporations, and Universities of America, “New Mexico Lawyer” 2018, vol. 13(1).

Leidenfrost J., Rothwangl A., The Austrian Student Ombudsman, “student rights” and synopsis “student obligations” in the Austrian Higher Education Area: Between soft administrative control and proactive syntegration, „Zeitschrift für Hochschulrecht“ 2016, no. 15.

Lewis C.B., Procedural Fairness and University Students: England and Canada Compared, “Dalhousie Law Journal” 1985, vol. 9(2).

Limbury A.L., Hybrid Dispute Resolution Processes – Getting the Best while Avoiding the Worst of Both Worlds?, “New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Journal” 2009 (Spring).

Lovell N.B., Greviance Arbitration in Arbitration, Bloomington 1985.

Malear K.B., The Contractual Relationship Between Student and Institution: Disciplinary, Academic, and Consumer Contexts, “Journal of College and University Law” 2003, vol. 30(175).

Mankin L.D., The Role of the Ombudsman in Higher Education, “Dispute Resolution Journal” 1996, vol. 51(46).

Marinovic J., An Overview of the Student Ombudsman at the University of Zagreb, [in:] Common objectives – Different Pathway: Embedding Ombudsman Principles and Practices into Higher Education Institutions, eds. M. Conway, J. Leidenfrost, Vienna 2010.

Marshall W.P., Abstention, Separation of Powers, and Recasting the Meaning of Judicial Restraint, “Northwestern University School” 2013, vol. 107(2).

Meankel-Meadow C., Love L.P., Schneider A.K., Mediation: Practice, Policy and Ethics, New York 2005.

Moore Ch., The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflicts, San Francisco 1996.

Morek R., ADR – w sporach gospodarczych, Warszawa 2004.

O’Neil R.M., Judicial Deference to Academic Decisions: An Outmoded Concept, “Journal of College and University Law” 2010, vol. 36(727).

Palazón J., Las Defensorías Universitarias como un instrumento para la mejora de las universidades, “Revista Rueda” 2017, no. 2, DOI: ttps://

Raven B.H., A power/interaction model of interpersonal influence: French and Raven thirty years later, “Journal of Social Behavior and Personality” 1992, vol. 7(2).

Raven B.H., The Bases of Power and the Power/Interaction Model of Interpersonal Influence, “Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy” 2008, vol. 8(1), DOI:

Riskin L.L., Westbrook J.E., Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, St. Paul 2002.

Rowe M.P., The Ombudsman’s Role in a Dispute Resolution System, “Negotiation Journal” 1991, vol. 7(1), DOI:

Ryor R., Who Killed Collegiality, “Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning” 1978, vol. 10(6), DOI:

Sadler R.J., The University Visitor: Visitorial Precedent and Procedure in Australia, “University of Tasmania Law Review” 1981, vol. 7(2–3).

Steiber C., Variation on a Classical Theme: The Academic Ombudsman in the United States, [in:] International Ombudsman Institute Occasional Paper, no. 38, Edmonton 1987.

Stoehr T., Letting the Legislature Decide: Why the Court’s Use of in Loco Parentis Ought to Be Praised, Not Condemned, “Brigham Young University Law Review” 2011, no. 5.

Warters W.C., Mediation in Campus Community. Designing and Managing Effective Programs, San Francisco 2000.

Warters W.C., The Emergence of Campus Mediation Systems: History in the Making, “Conflict Management in Higher Education Report” 2001, vol. 2(1).

Warters W.C., The History of Campus Mediation Systems: Research and Practice, “Georgia State University College of Law Reading Room” 1999.

Wesley M., The Compleat Ombuds: A Spectrum of Resolution Services, “CPER Journal” 2004, no. 166.

Ury W.L., Brett J.M., Goldberg S.B., Getting Disputes Resolved: The Strategic Use of Interests, Rights, and Power to Resolve Disputes, San Francisco 1993.

Van Alstyne W., The Student as University Resident, “Denver Law Journal” 1968, vol. 45(591).

Wolność akademicka. Materiały Poznańskiego Centrum Praw Człowieka, ed. M. Piechowiak, no. 3, Poznań 1993.


Academic freedom, [in:] Encyclopedia Britannica, [access: 9.02.2021].

Adjudication, [access: 10.01.2021].

Alonso de la Varga M.E., Palazón Espinosa J.M., The Spanish case: One Ombuds office in each university by law, ENOHE webinar, 29 September 2016, [access: 10.04.2021].

Annual Report of the Austrian Student Ombudsman 2017/18 submitted to the Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Research and to the Austrian Parliament, [access: 10.01.2021].

Association of Canadian College and University Ombudsman, [access: 20.01.2021].

Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association, [access: 20.01.2021].

Behrens R., Being an Ombudsman in Higher Education: A Comparative Study, ENOHE, June 2017, [access: 9.03.2021].

Country Report Lithuania: National Research Integrity Landscape, 16 December 2019, [access: 15.04.2021].

Dostępność edukacji akademickiej dla osób z niepełnosprawnościami: analiza i zalecenia, Warszawa 2015, [access: 10.01.2021].

England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions, [access: 10.01.2021].

European Network of Higher Education Ombudsman, [access: 20.01.2021].

European Schools Enforce Loco Parentis’ Doctrine, 21 September 1968, [access: 10.01.2021].

Fish S., The Rise and Fall of Academic Abstention, “New York Times” 2009 (12 October), [access: 10.01.2021].

Georgia State University, Inter-University Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, [access: 10.01.2021].

Greater clarity given on students’ rights to judicial review, 22 February 2017, [access: 10.01.2021].

Grievance Arbitration, [access: 10.01.2021].

Guidance Note: OIA Scheme Rules – April 2018, [access: 10.01.2021].

Higher Education Act 2004, [access: 10.01.2021].

Historia Ombudsmana na świecie, [access: 10.01.2020].

Hutter M., Conflict Resolution and Litigation Rising in Higher Education: What Gives?, November 2000, [access: 10.01.2021].

Informe Defensor Universitario, Anual Septiembre a Junio 2017/2018 vs 2016/17, [access: 10.01.2021].

Inquisitorial System, [access: 10.01.2021].

International Ombudsman Association, [access: 20.01.2021].

International Ombudsman Association, IOA Code of Ethics, [access: 10.01.2021].

International Ombudsman Institute, [access: 20.01.2021].

IOA Standards of Practice, 2009, [access: 10.01.2021].

Keshner A., At least 100 lawsuits have been filed by students seeking college refunds – and they open some thorny questions, 22 May 2020, [access: 10.01.2021].

Law on Higher Education and Research of 30 April 2009, no. XI-242, as last amended on 17 December 2015 – no. XII-2198, [access: 10.05.2021].

Leas T., Evolution of the Doctrine of Academic Abstention in American Jurisprudence, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 6 April 1991, [access: 10.01.2021].

Mayotte B., How Arbitration Helps, Hurts Defrauded Student Loan Borrowers, 14 July 2016, [access: 10.03.2021].

Mitchell F., The OIA and Judicial Review: Ten principles from ten years of challenges, December 2015, [access: 14.02.2021].

Mitchell L.C., Whitney student teachers: An outside perspective, 1998, [access: 10.01.2021].

O’Dell E., Judicial review and exclusive jurisdiction of Visitors, 9 June 2015, [access: 10.01.2021].

OIA publishes Annual Report 2019, [access: 10.01.2021].

OIA Scheme Rules, [access: 10.01.2021].

Ombuds Day, [access: 10.01.2021].

Ombuds-Related Groups & Organizations, [access: 20.01.2021].

Ombudsstelle für Studierende, [access: 10.01.2021].

Ordinance no. 30 of the Rector of the University of Warsaw of 16 August 2011 on the appointment of the University of Warsaw Academic Ombudsman, [access: 10.01.2021].

Regulation of the Board of Governors of State University System of Florida, Section 7(d), Article IX, Fla. Const., 6.011, [access: 10.01.2021].

Report on the Activity of the Office of Ombudsman for Academic Ethics and Procedures of the Republic of Lithuania in the Year 2014, Vilnius 2015, [access: 15.04.2021].

Republic of Lithuania Office of Ombudsman for Academic Ethics and Procedures Activity Report for 2013, Vilnius 2014, [access: 10.05.2021].

Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, [access: 10.01.2021].

Sain A., Court of Queen’s Bench Clarifies Law on Academic Disputes in Al-Bakkal V. De Vries, 2016 MBQB 45, 25 January 2017, [access: 10.01.2021].

Standler R.B., Academic Abstention in the USA – List of Casusy, 25 April 2011, [access: 10.01.2021].

Student rights, [access: 10.01.2021].

Studentski pravobranitelj Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, [access: 10.01.2021].

The 2020 Florida Statutes, Title XLVIII: K-20 Education Code, Chapter 1006: Support for Learning, 1006.51: Student ombudsman office, [access: 10.01.2021].

The good practice framework: handling student complaints and academic appeals, [access: 10.01.2021].

The Ombudsperson for Academic Ethics and Procedures may oblige an institution of higher education to revoke an awarded scientific degree if he or she finds gross violations of academic ethics, 3 December 2020, [access: 15.04.2021].

University Act, 1997, [access: 10.01.2021].

University of Central Florida Ombuds Office, Ombuds Office Charter, [access: 10.01.2021].

Uniwersytet Warszawski, Sprawozdanie z działania Rzecznika Akademickiego ds. Studenckich i Pracowniczych w okresie od 1 stycznia do 31 grudnia 2019 r., 31.01.2020, [access: 10.01.2021].

Walsh A., States Should Act to Prohibit Mandatory Arbitration in College Enrollment Contracts, 26 May 2020, [access: 10.01.2021]. [access: 10.01.2020].

Young P., The “What” of Mediation: When Is Mediation the Right Process Choice?, October 2006, [access: 10.01.2021].

Date of publication: 2021-06-30 23:18:52
Date of submission: 2021-02-11 21:59:52


Total abstract view - 1030
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0 PDF (Język Polski) - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Ewa Gmurzyńska

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.