Offering essay-writing or related services to students in Higher Education.
Identification of companies
As part of a separate project we identified approximately 1000 distinct websites offering essay-writing or related services to students in advanced schooling. We analysed the sites to determine those that indicated they are owned by companies listed at Companies House when you look at the UK, which means that they can run as ‘legitimate’ businesses and that they are susceptible to regulation by UK law, having been ‘incorporated’ under the Companies Act 2006 (UK Government 2016b). We analysed 26 sites operated by a complete of 21 companies that are apparently distinct each had separate listings at Companies House. We also analysed a handful of additional sites from Australia and the USA, making a complete of 31 sites. We have not included the identity regarding the companies that are specific this publication for listed here reasons: 1. We try not to wish to further advertise the services of the companies, either through this publication or through any publicity related to it. 2. We haven’t any guarantee that the company number given on these websites is actually that of the organization which runs the site. In some cases the names are exactly the same however in others this isn’t the situation. 3. The content of the article is academic opinion and not the cornerstone for legal proceedings. We have shared, confidentially, the identities associated with companies using the reviewers for this manuscript and in addition aided by the UK Quality Assurance Agency who also identified a number of UK-based companies within their report that is recent on mills (QAA 2016).
In 2016 we accessed the websites of those companies to address a series of questions (Table 1) which would then allow us to consider the relevant sections of the Fraud Act july. Questions were addressed by one author (VI) with cross checking by an additional (MD). For the final question “Is the advertising potentially misleading (compared to disclaimer/terms + conditions)?”, the authors considered the advertising to be misleading if it (for example) gave the impression that work purchased from the site could be submitted just as if it were a student’s own work, without citing the organization.
Shown here are questions that we asked associated with the websites. We then considered the Fraud Act at length, informed by answers towards the relevant questions below.
The Fraud Act
The Act (UK Government 2006) offers up a offence that is general of, defined through the three methods of committing it, which are (1) by false representation, (2) by neglecting to disclose information and (3) by abuse of position. Each is dealt with in a separate area of the Act. Additionally it is an offence, under the Act, to dishonestly obtain services and/or to possess, make or supply articles for usage in fraud(s).
We will consider Section 2 associated with act (‘fraud by false representation’) later in this paper but at this time it is appropriate to briefly address Section 3 for the Act rendering it an offence to neglect to disclose, to another, information which is why there is a duty that is legal disclose. As an example failing woefully to disclose information pertaining to a contract of insurance or a doctor failing to disclose to a hospital that certain patients referred by him or her for treatment are private patients, thereby avoiding a charge for the services provided. A legal duty to disclose information can arise as a result of a contract between two parties or due to the existence of a certain variety of professional relationship between them; for example, a solicitor/client relationship. In its report on Fraud (Report on a reference under section 3(1)(e) associated with Law Commissions Act 1965 No. 276 Cm 5560 2002) what the law states Commission made the following comments about the circumstances for which a legal duty might arise:
“7.28 … Such a duty may derive from statute (like the provisions governing company prospectuses), from the fact that the transaction at issue is amongst the utmost good faith (such as for instance a contract of insurance), from the express or implied terms of a contract, through the custom of a specific trade or market, or through the existence of a fiduciary relationship between your parties (such as that of agent and principal).
7.29 For this purpose there is certainly a duty that is legal disclose information not just in the event that defendant’s failure to reveal it provides the victim a factor in action for damages, but additionally if the law gives the victim the right to set aside any change in his or her legal position to that he or she may consent as a result of the non- disclosure. For example, an individual in a position that is fiduciary a duty to reveal material information when getting into a contract buy an essay together with his or her beneficiary, into the sense that a deep failing to create such disclosure will entitle the beneficiary to rescind the contract also to reclaim any property transferred under it.”
Thus a question that is key whether essay mills owe a legal duty for their customers to reveal information? For example, if they submit the purchased essay without proper attribution that they are committing academic fraud whether they are under a legal duty to disclose to customers that.
There is no obvious legal relationship that is fiduciary the assistor and also the customer (a fiduciary is anyone who has undertaken to act for or on the behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which bring about a relationship of trust and confidence). Thus the partnership between student customer and essay mills seems to be entirely contractual. In the first instance therefore the legal duty regarding the the main company is simply to comply with the conditions and terms for the contract which when it comes to part that is most are set into the conditions and terms of business drafted by them. These try not to routinely place a legal duty on the organization to reveal information regarding the possible consequences of good use by a student and in any event as discussed below they routinely warn from the submitting associated with the essay without proper attribution.
Section 3b (i) and (ii) associated with the Act go on to offer that an offence is only committed if by failing continually to disclose information the defendant “intended to create a gain for him or even cause loss to another or expose another to a chance of loss”. By failing to give information that use regarding the essay through submission at an educational institution can result in an academic misconduct claim a company intends to make a financial gain, i.e. continue in operation and there’s potential for risk of loss because of the student customer. However essay mills are not usually under a legal duty in the initial destination to provide these records as well as in fact as discussed below the conditions and terms of business usually specifically address this point through disclaimers in relation to utilization of the essay (Similarly an offence under section 4 associated with Act – abuse of position – is effectively negated).
We consider the position with regards to advertising used by essay mills later in this paper – there clearly was a legal duty not to mislead established other than through the Fraud Act 2006.