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University sacks lecturer over legal advice challenging exam results

King's College London has sacked a senior lecturer in medical ethics and law after he started up a company offering students legal advice to help them challenge exam results, reports The Independent.

King's College London, based on the Strand in the heart of the capital, is ranked 19th in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2013, and lists 12 former or current staff or alumni as Nobel laureates.

The university has terminated the contract of lecturer Daniel Sokol after learning of Mr Sokol's sideline enterprise offering legal advice to students who wish to challenge their university exam results. 

Mr Sokol's company, Alpha Academic Appeals, offer students legal advice to challenge their exam results for a fee of between £500 and £1000.

Although there was no suggestion that Mr Sokol was criticising his employer, King's College London felt that his position with their university would be seen as an endorsement of his venture.

In a statement, the university said it had terminated Mr Sokol's contract with three months' notice in accordance with the terms of his contract.

Mr Sokol worked at King's as an honorary senior lecturer in medical ethics and law.

Speaking of his dismissal he said: "The wisdom or otherwise of King's decision is of no general interest but the attitude it reflects - the apparent distaste for students seeking paid legal help to appeal against university decisions they consider to be unfair - should be."

King's emphasised that students who were unhappy with their exam results could seek independent and free legal advice through the Academic Advice Service offered by King's College London Students' Union.

This is not the first time in 2013 that a KCL University lecturer has found themselves in hot water for running a sideline enterprise. In July lecturer and consultant obstetrician Dr Rajesh Varma faced disciplinary action after leaking exam answers in a commercial 'smart-phone' revision application that was advertised to students.