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Students and Noise Nuisance – What are the penalties?

A worrying increase in the reports of noise nuisance from students

Local news often reports unfavourably on parties held by university students which often cause a number of complaints from local residents about noise nuisance. You can read one such story here.

The latest warning from the Nottingham City Council can be found here.

There is always likely to be issue arising when an area has a high number of students living in private rented accommodation within a residential area.

Very few students deliberately set out to annoy their neighbours. Problems with noise nuisance seem likely to result from a combination of alcohol and a genuine lack of thought.

Complaints to the police and the council are on the rise. If you are a student and live in a residential area then you are always likely to be at risk of a complaint if you or your household make excessive noise after 11pm.

What are the consequences of a complaint against you for excessive noise?

The  position may depend on whether or not you are in a university owned accommodation or not.

student halls of residence noise nuisanceMost universities publish codes of conduct that students must sign up to when enrolling. Whilst every university code will differ in some way they tend to follow the same format.  There is likely to be a provision permitting a student to be disciplined for excessive noise in university owned accommodation.

The discipline procedure for excessive noise nuisance is likely to involve a report to a designated university officer.  The officer will have the power to issue you with a reprimand or a fine.

Repeated and persistent breaches or other serious offences can result in you being removed from your university accommodation.  You could also be reported to the university senate disciplinary committee.  This would lead to a disciplinary hearing.   A wide range of penalties are available for serious, persistent offences.  Ultimately this can include exclusion from the university.

Private student accommodation

student private rented noise nuisanceEven if you live off campus in private student accommodation then you could still find yourself at the sharp end of the university disciplinary regulations. Many universities stipulate within their code of conduct that behaviour off campus that damages the reputation of the university is considered an offence under the disciplinary regulations.

For example, the University of Nottingham is quoted in the BBC news article as saying that students would be disciplined if their behaviour ‘compromised the safety of others’.

Statutory Nuisance

Additionally, it is not only the university that can instigate proceedings against a student for excessive noise.  Local Councils have the power to look into complaints about noise that could be categorised as a statutory noise nuisance.

For the noise to be a ‘statutory nuisance’, it must do one of the following:

  • Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • Injure health or be likely to injure health

Councils must serve an abatement noise on persons who cause a statutory nuisance. This means that whoever is responsible must stop the noise. If they do not then they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice giving them the opportunity to pay a fine of £110 within 14 days in order to avoid prosecution.

If you do not pay the notice or fail to pay it within the 14 days then you can be prosecuted. This means that you will be given a court date, and if guilty you could be fined up to £1000 and order to pay the costs of the prosecution.

Civil Injunctions for noise nuisance

Both a council and the police have the power to apply for a civil injunction in the county court against those that create excessive noise that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance. Breach of the injunction can lead to a prison sentence.

Contact a specialist to discuss any aspect of noise nuisance

student accomodation noise nuisance
Education law specialist Clare Roberts

If you are a student and you have a concern about a complaint raised against you then please contact education law solicitor Clare Roberts on 0115 9599550.

Clare, and other members of our team, have experience in advising and representing students who face both university disciplinary matters or allegations that have been reported to the police.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below to seek confidential specialist advice.

A Freshers Guide to staying out of trouble…

…With the university

We have all been there. It is after midnight and in less than nine hours your 3,000 word assignment is due. You’ve given it some thought, procrastinated, and are only now starting to put fingers to keyboard.


The stress involved in meeting last minute deadlines means that many an essay has been produced under chaotic, sleep deprived and less than ideal circumstances.

Although it will be obvious to all that copying an essay word for word from a text book without attribution will lead you into trouble for plagiarism, there are different concerns that might be less apparent.


student plagiarism disciplineFor example, if a student types out your essay and accidently forgets to cite some sources, or make it clear that the text is a quote from another source, then they can also find themselves in deep water with the university plagiarism officer too as well.

There will be a definition of plagiarism in your university student handbook. It will cover blatant instances, but also inadvertent plagiarism. The latter will have been caused by a lack of understanding or carelessness. We have sadly seen students face academic disciplinary hearings for matters which, with some careful understanding on the rules of correct referencing, could have been avoided.


Similar concerns arise in relation to collusion. This may sound a familiar scenario – your housemate intended to write their essay through the night. They weren’t up to the job, taking to their bed with the essay half finished. An hour before the deadline they ask to borrow yours. You feel like you don’t want to say no to your friend. They then use yours to copy content and before you know it, your lecturer has spotted too many similarities and you are both hauled before an academic disciplinary hearing. Your marks for that subject or even your degree at risk.

Read the handbook

student plagiarism legal adviceWe say the same to all students – your university student handbook may be about the most boring document you will ever have read but it is always worth looking up the regulations covering academic misconduct. If you do this at the start of your degree then you will understand what the academic requirements are and what could get you into trouble.

We have sadly seen a foolish mistake cost some students their degree or the marks that they were aiming for.

Contact education law specialists

plagiarism student allegation legal advice
Education law solicitor Clare Roberts

If you do encounter any academic misconduct issues you may want to seek early legal advice.  Please do not hesitate to contact education law solicitor Clare Roberts.  Although based at our Nottingham office she will provide appointments at all of our offices across the East Midlands.  Please call her on 0115 9599550 to make an appointment or do discuss a case.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.