The Trainers

Dr Daniel Sokol, founder of Alpha Academic Consulting

Dr Daniel Sokol, founder of Alpha Academic Consulting

The training team is led by Daniel Sokol, PhD, a barrister and former academic with experience of supervising and examining undergraduate and postgraduate students and conducting university appeals and complaints.  He has sat as a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics, as well as on committees for the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence and the Metropolitan Police.  He is uniquely placed to understand the viewpoint of both students and staff.  He still lectures, appears regularly as an advocate in court, and is also an accredited mediator.

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan is a barrister and Senior Adviser at Alpha Academic Appeals.  He sits as a Chairman on the Judicial Panel of the Rugby Football Union ("RFU") and acts as an advocate in court on a daily basis.  He regularly advises clients on complex legal issues, drafts supporting documents and pleadings.  He has a wealth of experience in academic appeals in both tertiary education and vocational training.

For more on Aidan O'Brien, please click here.

Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle

Chris has a First Class degree and Masters with Distinction from Ulster University.  He has been in practice as a barrister for 10 years, appearing in court regularly.  He has been called to the Bars of England & Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  He has previously been a University Lecturer and Director of an Institute for Professional Legal Education.

For more on Christopher Coyle, please click here.

Amy Sloan-McCann

Amy Sloan-McCann

Amy holds two First Class degrees and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales, and the Bar of Northern Ireland.  She has extensive experience of student appeals and appears in Court regularly.

For more on Amy Sloan-McCann, please click here.

Edward Dobson

Edward Dobson

Edward has a BA in Politics & History and an LLM in Law.  He is a practising barrister, appearing in court regularly.  He previously worked for the University of Durham.

Susan Jones

Susan Jones

Susan studied law at Queen's University Belfast, where she came top in her year.  She won the Sweet & Maxwell Prize for most distinguished student in LLB final examinations.  As a barrister, Susan has practised in the areas of crime, personal injury, criminal negligence, and inquests.  She appears in court regularly.

Ann Crighton

Ann Crighton

Ann was called to the Bar in 2015 after a long career as a solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service.  Ann was one of the first CPS Crown Advocates, dealing with a wide range of cases involving dishonesty, violence, racially aggravated offences, public order and sexual offences.  She also has employment law experience and has been a member of the Employment Tribunal since 2010.  Ann specialises in University appeals and complaints, as well as criminal matters for both prosecution and defence.

Angus Stewart

Angus Stewart

Angus was called to the Bar in 2002 and has practised for the last 17 years in civil and criminal law.  He has been a University Lecturer in Criminal Justice and Evidence.  In 2006, Angus was appointed a Crown Advocate, prosecuting and advising on cases such as fraud, misrepresentation, proceeds of crime, mental health disposals and violent offences.

Julian Hunt

Julian Hunt

Julian was educated at Cambridge University and has been in practice for over 14 years.  He specialises in university appeals, property law and criminal law, and appears in court and tribunals on an almost daily basis.

Becky Agates

Becky Agates

Becky was called to the Bar in 2007.  Following her pupillage, Becky spent 7 years with the Crown Prosecution Service, first as a Crown Prosecutor, then as Senior Crown Prosecutor and Direct Duty Prosecutor, prosecuting serious sexual and violent crimes.  Becky specialises in university appeals, complaints and misconduct claims, especially those with a quasi-criminal element.

Glen Hodgetts

Glen Hodgetts

Glen graduated with a First Class degree in Law from Lancaster University receiving a Law Society Prize for best degree result. After his call to the Bar in 1995 he now has over 20 years’ practice as a barrister specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law, prior to which he worked as in-house counsel for a national immigration charity, responsible for training its 50 in-house lawyers. His extensive immigration practice includes offering advice and representation to students having difficulty with immigration status issues, including matters relating to human rights, and he also advises on university academic appeals.

Warren Bergson

Warren Bergson

Warren has been a lawyer since 1981, starting his career in Manchester as a solicitor specialising in criminal and civil matters. He later qualified as a Solicitor Advocate and then as a Barrister dually qualified in the English Bar and the Irish Bar.  He has developed a niche practice advising university students on appeals and complaints, whether at the university stage, the OIA or litigation.  Warren is also a qualified Civil and Commercial Mediator.

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A selection of reviews from past delegates:

  • “Daniel was fantastic! He put Academic Advice into a proper legal context, making me realise that this is a subject that needs to be taken more seriously and all academic advisers should be required to attend training. I would highly recommend this training to all student union advisers as well as university appeals and complaints staff.”
    Wendy Dant, Loughborough University Student Advice & Support Service
  • “I found Daniel’s training invaluable. His vast experience both in the courtroom and at appeal hearings means he is perfectly placed to offer example-based guidance on ensuring that University procedures are fair and equitable. Highly recommended.”
    Richard Booth, Student Casework Manager, Birmingham City University
  • “I can highly recommend the Student Appeals Training. The information shared was accessible, interesting and appropriate. The trainer was generous with the information he provided. I have improved my handling of complaints and appeals as a result of the training.”
    Warren Rodell, Student Disputes Officer, Oxford Brookes University