Are Essay Mills fraud that is committing? An analysis of the behaviours vs the 2006 Fraud Act (UK)

Are Essay Mills fraud that is committing? An analysis of the behaviours vs the 2006 Fraud Act (UK)

International Journal for Educational Integrity volume 13, Article number: 3 ( 2017 ) | Download Citation

Many strategies have been proposed to handle the usage Essay Mills along with other ‘contract cheating’ services by students. These services generally offer bespoke custom-written essays or other assignments to students in exchange for a fee. There have been calls for the use of legal ways to tackle the situation. Here we determine whether the united kingdom Fraud Act (2006) might be used to tackle a few of the activities of companies providing these types of services into the UK, by comparing their common practises, and their Terms and Conditions, because of the Act. We found that all the sites examined have disclaimers concerning the utilization of their products or services but there are numerous contradictions that are obvious the actions of the sites which undermine these disclaimers, resume writer online as an example all sites offer plagiarism-free guarantees for the work and also at least eight have advertising which generally seems to contradict their terms and conditions. We identify possible areas when the Act could possibly be used to follow a case that is legal overall conclude that such a method is unlikely to be effective. We call for a new offence to be created in UK law which specifically targets the undesirable behaviours of those companies when you look at the UK, even though principles could be applied elsewhere. We also highlight other UK legal approaches that may be much more successful.


The application of so-called ‘contract cheating’ services by students has been a source of controversy and debate within Higher Education, particularly within the decade that is last. ‘Contract cheating’ refers, basically, to the outsourcing of assessments by students, to third parties who complete focus on their behalf in substitution for a fee or other benefit (Lancaster and Clarke 2016). These types of services offer ‘custom assignments’ of nearly every form, although custom written essays look like the most common. Students tend to be in a position to specify the grade they desire (although there isn’t any guarantee this will be delivered), request drafts, referencing styles and nearly every other custom feature (Newton and Lang 2016). Services available are quick and cheap (Wallace and Newton 2014) and students underestimate the severe nature with which universities penalise the use of contract cheating services (Newton 2015). Possibly the simplest arrangements are directly between students and essay that is‘custom companies’, many of whom are ‘listed’ companies with sophisticated advertising campaigns. However there are lots of ways in which students can use third parties to complete work for them, because of the contract spread across continents; writers may act as freelancers, employed in another country to your student and their institution. These freelance home writers may make utilization of online auction services to market and organise their work and these might be in still another national country, and there may be another intermediary; a person who receives your order through the student and then posts the work on an auction site (Newton and Lang 2016; Sivasubramaniam et al. 2016). Thus you can find multiple actors in contract cheating, more than one of whom may be liable if their actions violate the law; students, their universities, the persons tuition that is paying, writers, those that employ writers, the internet sites which host the writers, advertising companies, those who host the advertising, and so on. Here we focus primarily on UK-registered companies that are essay-writing.

Across education, a student who completes an evaluation to earn credit towards an award is usually expected to achieve this regarding the explicit basis that the submission is their own work that is independent. Ideally, both students and staff are given guidance as to what constitutes academic misconduct and the consequences of these misconduct (Morris 2015), in a manner that promotes a confident, constructive approach to fostering ‘academic integrity’ (Thomas and Scott 2016). If a student submits work that is proven to comprise, in whole or in part, material which is not their very own independent work then that student will normally face a range of penalties, administered by their university, for academic misconduct. In britain these usually include cancellation of marks for the relevant module or perhaps the relevant element of the module susceptible to any mitigating circumstances (Tennant and Duggan 2008). Historically, these behaviours haven’t been dealt with through legal mechanisms in the united kingdom (QAA 2016) and also this applies to plagiarism outside academic circumstances which, within the words of Saunders,”. is not in itself illegal; it really is only illegal if it breaches a recognised legal right, such as for example copyright, or offends against the law of misrepresentation or any other legal rules” (Saunders 2010).

However, a commonly used test in making legal decisions is always to figure out how a ‘reasonable person’ might view a particular behaviour. If asked to describe the purchasing of essays for submission for the purposes of gaining credit that is academic seems logical to close out that a fair person would conclude that such behaviour is ‘fraudulent’, particularly because of the language associated with it (e.g. ‘cheating’). If another individual has knowingly assisted in that activity then they might reasonably be said to have assisted, conspired or colluded this kind of academic fraud, cheating or dishonesty.

Then it is clear that the student commits academic misconduct, but what of the individual or company that supplied the work in return for payment if a student has purchased written work from another individual or a company for the purpose of passing it off as his or her own work? To what extent is that individual or company (an ‘assistor’) complicit this kind of misconduct? What is the potential liability regarding the assistor and can action be studied against them? Would be the assistors by their action inciting academic fraud? An educational institution cannot normally take action against the assistor under internal disciplinary procedures unless the assistor is a student in the same institution. In addition, and maybe more to the point, can there be the chance of fraudulent behaviour into the relationship between the learning student while the company?

Broadly, legal wrongs committed in England and Wales can be addressed through the civil or law that is criminalUK Government 2016a). An action in civil law is taken by a individual that is wronged their initial cost. This cost is oftentimes prohibitive as well as normally requires the formulation of a claim recognised because of the law that evidences loss or injury to the claimant that is individual by the defendant and for which a fix is sought. Thus the ability of educational institutions (or a student for instance) to take action that is civil assistors is limited.

Action pertaining to UK criminal law is normally undertaken by and also at the cost of their state through the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) but requires a criminal offence to own been committed (private prosecutions at private cost are possible but relatively rare). The Code for Crown Prosecutors sets out the basic principles to be followed by Crown Prosecutors if they make case decisions. Crown Prosecutors must certanly be satisfied that there’s enough evidence to provide a “realistic prospect of conviction” and that it’s the public interest to follow a prosecution (UK Government 2013).

A purpose of this paper is always to measure the extent that a business organisation who supplies an essay or written work upon instructions from a student in substitution for money could be liable beneath the criminal law of England and Wales for an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 (The Act) (UK Government 2006). The Act commenced operation on 15 January 2007 because of the Fraud Act 2006 (Commencement) Order 2006 SI 2006/3200. The Act relates to offences committed wholly on or after 15 2007 and extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland january.

The Quality Assurance agency, considered all approaches to deal with contract cheating, a problem which they stated “poses a serious risk to the academic standards and the integrity of UK higher education” (QAA 2016) in August 2016 the UK regulator of Higher Education. Their consideration of possible legal approaches under existing law determined that the Fraud Act was the “nearest applicable legislation”, but they failed to reach a firm conclusion on its use, stating that “Case law appears to indicate a reluctance regarding the the main courts to be involved in cases involving plagiarism, deeming this to be a matter for academic judgement that falls outside of the competence of the court (Hines v Birkbeck College 1985 3 All ER 15)” (QAA 2016).

In their conclusion, the QAA suggest that the UK 2006 Fraud Act is “untested in this context”. Here we explore the detail associated with the Fraud Act further, and compare it into the established business practises of UK-registered essay-writing companies, with a focus that is particular their Terms and Conditions.

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