APPEALING TO THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Please consult a qualified legal adviser before acting on the advice provided on this web page.
The British Council fails to appear in court in India and loses the case: IELTS student victory
Language testing providers such as IELTS and Pearson are subject to the same laws in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom as other bodies that sell goods and services.
If you are not happy with the way that a global language provider has dealt with your appeal and grievance, you may consider taking action at a local small claims court in the relevant jurisdiction.
In most jurisdictions, the small claims court has many advantages. Examples may include:
Applying to the small claims court may cause a language provider to take another look at your exam scores and how you have been treated. It is in their interests to do so. The language tester does not want to send a staff member to court if they can fix a genuine mistake that they have made prior your court case.
Free legal advice
You may be able to obtain free legal advice from one or more of the following sources:
Freedom of Information Laws and Privacy Laws
It is advisable to provide minimal facts of the case on your court application form if you prefer to have your case heard in court. If you provide too much detail, your case may be decided in your absence behind closed doors and the judge may not have access to all relevant facts.
This hypothetical example shows the minimum amount of factual detail that may suffice:
"The language provider has breached local consumer protection laws and anti-discrimination laws and will not rectify this injustice in response to a complaint that I have lodged with them".
Examples of legal arguments relevant to your case may include:
In some legal jurisdictions, it is unlawful for a language tester to refuse to sell you a service because you refuse to provide private demographic data (such as your first language) that is not relevant.
Please be clear what outcome you would like the court to order on your behalf.
It is unlikely that a small claims court will force the language tester to change your grade. You may succeed in receiving one or more of the following outcomes. The court may order the language testing provider to:
The bigger picture
Try to see your application to the court as part of a bigger process in the pursuit of justice, even if you are not successful. If thousands of people appeal to the small courts and they are all making the same claims, it becomes difficult for the court, the public, the media and public regulators to ignore what is happening.