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Serious Adverse Circumstances (SACs) - Supporting Evidence

Nature of evidence to submit a claim for Serious Adverse Circumstances

This document is to guide students and staff in deciding whether it is appropriate to submit a claim for SACs, and the nature of the evidence that will be required. Please read out FAQs for futher information.

Please note that this guidance is not relevant if a student has already submitted their assessment as different evidence is required for any Fit to Sit Exemption Claims. (See UPR AS14 Section C.3.8.3 and C3.8.4). 

Requests can only be considered if all evidence provided, including medical certificates, clearly relates to the assessment date(s) for which the claim is being made.   

Please note that Section B of this document describes circumstances that are not acceptable reasons to submit a claim for Serious Adverse Circumstances and you are advised to study this section carefully.  

Students should be aware that making a fraudulent claim of Serious Adverse Circumstances will result in a referral being made under the UH Student Academic Misconduct policy and/or Fitness to Practise policy.

Section A: SAC reason codes and appropriate mandatory supporting evidence  

Reason Code Type of SAC reported Examples Mandatory evidence required Comments

Serious/Urgent physical or mental health condition at the time of assessment   

Broken Limb 

Influenza “flu” 

Clinical depression 


Medical certificate or evidence from the exam invigilator’s log. 


Letter provided by Endsleigh Health Assured 


Students may self-certify a serious or urgent condition using the University's Self-Certification Form

(please note this must be submitted to a maximum of 7 days after the assessment submission date)










This is not for disabilities that are already recognised as these are covered in Section 2 

  •  Influenza (‘flu’) does not refer to the common cold or conditions with similar symptoms.
  • Some conditions may be able to be accommodated by separate arrangements (e.g., the use of an amanuensis) if they are reported before the cut-off date for adjustments published on StudyNet. If adjustments cannot be accommodated after the deadline but before the assessment, then the evidence would be considered.
  • If you have received support from Endsleigh Health Assured, please contact them directly via 
  • Pregnancy is not an illness but students may experience pregnancy-related symptoms which will be considered with appropriate medical evidence. If the birth of a child prevents a student from sitting an examination /submitting assessment,  evidence of the birth will be acceptable.  
  • Covid-19 infection which causes incapacitating symptoms would be acceptable. Students may provide a positive covid test which must be supported with evidence from the NHS.
  • For examinations that take place on campus, evidence of a positive Covid-19 test from the NHS App or a request for self-isolation from the NHS will be acceptable evidence to support a request for Serious Adverse Circumstances.
  • Students may only self-certify twice per academic year, after which medical evidence will be required.
  • Students may self-certify only for a condition occurring in the 7 days before an examination or submission date and the SAC request and self-certification form should be received no later than 7 days after the examination or submission date.
  • If a condition persists beyond the 7 days covered by the self-certification period, then medical evidence would be required 


Disability including mental health disabilities.  




Students need to provide evidence of the impact of a disability or mental health condition at the time of assessment (see section 2c) as the diagnosis alone is not valid grounds for a SAC. 


An agreed adjustment as described in a Study Needs Agreement (SNA) was not implemented. 


Confirmation in writing from an appropriate staff member that the agreed adjustment was not implemented. 




A late request (after the published deadline) for a disability-related adjustment – you can choose to take the assessment OR not take the assessment and submit a SAC. 


If submitting a SAC, confirmation in writing from Student Wellbeing that the circumstances are valid. 



You were unable to take the assessment for reasons directly related to your disability / mental health. 


Medical certificate or confirmation in writing from Student Wellbeing (if you have already engaged with them), that you were unable to sit or submit.  

If a student is unable to take exams or assessments on more than one occasion due to disability or mental health problems, the medical evidence of this condition will only be required at the first SAC request. Thereafter, students may self-certify.


Death and Bereavement 





Death of an immediate relative or of a close friend. 


Death certificate, burial certificate or letter from a religious leader or doctor, obituary or other additional information to support the claim.  


Exceptionally a personal tutor who has been aware of the situation may be able to provide a supporting statement.  


The SAC Assessment Panel will consider the timing and impact of the death in relation to the timing of the assessment and also the nature of the relationship The Assessment Panel will also have regard to cultural differences around periods of mourning, and the arrangements for funeral ceremonies.


Attendance at a funeral at the time of the assessment. 


Death certificate or letter from a religious leader or other additional information to support the claim. 


The SAC Assessment Panel will consider the timing of the assessment and the nature of the student’s relationship to the deceased.  The Assessment Panel will also have regard to cultural differences around periods of mourning and the arrangements for funeral ceremonies. 


Serious personal/domestic problem

(not medical)  

Separation from spouse/partner, a victim of crime, eviction or housing crisis within the semester, loss of sponsorship 


Letter from a counsellor, doctor, landlord, crime reference number with supporting documentation etc. 


Exceptionally a personal tutor who has been aware of the situation may be able to provide a supporting statement.  


The SAC Assessment Panel will consider the timing of the assessment and the nature of the circumstances  


Transport problems

 - Serious transport problem  

Exceptional circumstances such as a serious or out of the ordinary rail delay or road traffic accident, snow causing serious or out of the ordinary delays to traffic. 


Copy of ticket, traffic or police report 



Serious illness in the family 

(particularly where the student has a duty of care). 


Medical certificate (for student or the family member) or evidence of carer responsibilities from a relevant professional.  


Exceptionally a personal tutor who has been aware of the situation may be able to provide a supporting statement.  


The SAC Assessment Panel will consider the timing of the illness and its impact on the student. 


Commitment outside of the student’s control  


Emergencies, including an unexpected loss of childcare or other carer support on the day of an assessment. 


Letter from nursery or carer/care agency 

Evidence must demonstrate that this was unexpected and beyond the student’s control. 


Work commitments

 (for students registered as being a part-time student or studying on a degree apprenticeship programme only) 



Letter from employer 



Religious reasons,

 where activity is proscribed or limited 



Please note the following guidance about religious observance and the deadlines for contacting the exams and awards office. See link Religious observance





Booking or ticket details 

This is only an acceptable SAC if the holiday was booked before acceptance of a place at the University.  The evidence provided should make this clear. 


Re-instatement following barring of access to StudyNet 

(but only prior to the withdrawal of the student for debt by the University) 



Explanation of relevant dates.  



Computer problems





Failure of own computer or software – leading to loss of time to complete coursework, loss of files/data/work


Failure of own computer, software or Internet Service Provider (ISP) during an online assessment



Receipt from the repairer, or evidence of legitimate warranty claim, evidence from ISP etc.



Failure of UH/partner supplied equipment, infrastructure or software. 



Evidence of communications with UH/Partner 



Failure of 3rd party equipment, infrastructure (could be ISP or power failure, or failure of 3rd party online assessment system/invigilation) or other software.



Evidence of communications with 3rd party 



Technical or other difficulties during a practice quiz that is set up to test arrangements for the summative quiz.   


Technical or other difficulties that prevent completion once a summative quiz has been started 


Evidence of technical or other difficulties.  


Students should complete the SAC form and submit it by midnight (GMT applies) on the day following the practice quiz.


The following are NOT acceptable situations to support a claim of Serious Adverse Circumstances, and students should seek the advice of academic or Ask Herts Hub staff.  

  1. Minor or ongoing medical conditions such as a cold or asthma unless the symptoms are so bad on the days of a test/examination that the student is too unwell to attend. In this case section, 1 would apply and appropriate evidence would be required.
  2. Death of a relative or friend outside the semester or attendance at a funeral at a different time from the assessment.
  3. Misunderstanding of the examination timetable.
  4. Oversleeping and missing exam or assessment submission.
  5. Financial reasons.
  6. Routine or minor transport problem: predictable or partly predictable transport problems such as traffic jams, late train or bus etc, planned transport strikes.
  7. Complaints about University of Hertfordshire staff which impact upon assessments (e.g. supervision).
  8. Technical difficulties were reported outside the time period indicated above in 12(d).
  9. Holidays, house moves or other events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected.
  10. Computer or printer failure where the student should have backed up their work.
  11. Uploading work onto the wrong site or uploading incorrect work onto the correct site.
  12. Normal exam or assessment stress. 

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