The academic life of LL.M. students at the MU School of Law is governed by a Code of Honor. The Honor Code has been adopted by the School of Law. Enforcement depends on the willingness of individual students to conform their conduct to the standards set by the Code.
This Honor Code for LL.M. Students is authorized under the Rules of the University of Missouri-Columbia, which includes a general Student Conduct Code. If there is any inconsistency between this Honor Code for LL.M. Students and the University Student Conduct Code, the stricter requirement shall apply. The University Student Conduct Code regulates a wide range of activities applicable to LL.M. students and thus students are advised to take notice of its provisions
LL.M. HONOR CODE AND PROCEDURE
This Honor Code is intended to promote the following objectives:
(1) to guide behavior of LL.M. students; and
(2) to provide sanctions for behavior inconsistent with this Code.
(1) “Law School” shall include the LL.M. Program.
(2) “Academic Matter(s),” when referred to under this Code shall mean:
(a) all matters relating to any Law School class; and
(b) all matters relating to any Law School examination; and
(c) all matters relating to any class or examination outside the Law School for which credit toward the LL.M. degree is or has been sought; and
(d) all rules and regulations of the law library, specifically including times for use of the library or any facilities thereof. This definition does not include regulations regarding eating or drinking.
(3) “Plagiarism,” when referred to under this Code, shall mean the act of copying literally or with insubstantial variations the written work of another and passing it off as one’s own, without regard to the quantum of copying involved. Further definition is provided in “PLAGIARISM–A COMMENT” set out below.
(4) “Person(s) in Authority,” when referred to under this Code, shall mean the Dean of the School of Law, the Assistant and Associate Dean(s) of the School of Law, the Director of the LL.M. Program, all regular or adjunct faculty of the School of Law, all professional Library Staff members, and the Career Services Office Director, acting within the scope of their authority.
Standards of Conduct for LL.M. Students
(1) The following standards are applicable to all LL.M. students:
(a) all LL.M. students shall be responsible for learning the content of any course in which they are enrolled.
(b) in learning such matters and in all academic matters, all LL.M. students shall strive to develop a sense of professionalism by refraining from any activity that seeks, directly or indirectly, to gain an unfair advantage over any other student.
(2) The following conduct is deemed to be a violation of these Standards and this Code, without regard to knowledge that the conduct constitutes a violation:
(a) plagiarism in an academic matter. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that there was no intent to deceive, to misrepresent, or to gain any unfair advantage by the conduct.
(b) use of any WESTLAW, LEXIS/NEXIS, or other copyrighted computer software of which the Law School is a licensee on a non-academic matter unless such use is authorized by the license, the Law School, or a person in authority.
(c) violation of any examination procedure adopted by any person in authority or by the Law School, specifically including writing overtime on an examination. This provision does not include regulations regarding eating or drinking.
(d) destruction, mutilation, unauthorized secretion, or removal of any Law School property, library material, or personal law-related materials.
(e) failing to report a known violation, by another student, of this Code within a reasonable time.
(f) failing to give information or testimony in an Honor Code proceeding when called by any authorized University official or committee, except upon a showing of good cause by the person called to give information or testimony.
(3) Any conduct, not set forth in (2) above is a violation of these Standards and this Code if it is shown that:
(a) the conduct violates an oral or written instruction from a person in authority; and
(b) the conduct relates to an academic matter; and
(c) the conduct was done either for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage over other students or under circumstances which a reasonable student would know was likely to result in such unfair advantage.
(4) The evidentiary standard for adjudging a violation of these Standards and this Code is a preponderance of the evidence.
LL.M. Honor Committee
(1) The principal functions of the LL.M. Honor Committee are to hold hearings on alleged violations of the Honor Code, to make findings of fact with reference thereto, and in case there is a finding of violation, to impose sanctions as in this Code.
(2) The LL.M. Honor Committee shall consist of two members of the Faculty of Law and two LL.M. students.
(3) The members of the LL.M. Honor Committee shall be appointed by the Dean. The selection of the members shall be made as soon as practicable after the beginning of the academic year, and they shall hold office until new members are selected the following academic year. If for any reason a permanent, temporary, or summer vacancy occurs during a normal term of office, the Dean shall fill such vacancy accordingly.
(4) One of the faculty members of the Committee shall be selected Chair of the Committee by a majority vote of the entire Committee to serve at the pleasure of the Committee. The Chair shall be entitled to vote on all matters before the Committee.
Procedure – Reports of Violations, Informal Resolution, Investigations, Notice
(1) Reports of Violations
(a) A report of a violation of the Honor Code may be made by anyone.
(b) A report of a violation of the Honor Code may be made to any member of the LL.M. Honor Committee or the Director of the LL.M. Program. Any member of the Committee receiving a report of a violation shall report the alleged violation to the Chair of the Committee. The Chair of the Committee shall report the alleged violation to the Director of the LL.M. Program.
(2) The Director of the LL.M. Program shall give the accused student the opportunity to present a personal version of the incident or occurrence. The Director of the LL.M. Program and the student may agree on an appropriate resolution of the case and may agree to use the assistance of a third person to discuss possible resolutions. There is no requirement that any resolution be offered or that the assistance of a third person be engaged. Any negotiated resolution is subject to the approval of the LL.M. Honor Committee by majority vote. Such a resolution may involve sanctions that could be imposed by the Committee under this Code, other actions, or a decision not to proceed with the case. If the Committee does not approve of an informal resolution, it may proceed with an investigation.
(a) As soon as is practicable after receipt of a report of a violation, the Chair of the LL.M. Honor Committee shall appoint one or more members of the LL.M. Honor Committee, which may include the Chair, to investigate the alleged violation.
(b) The person(s) assigned to investigate shall conduct an investigation as soon as is practicable and submit to the Chair of the LL.M. Honor Committee a written report.
(c) The written report shall detail:
(1) the facts alleging a violation of this Code;
(2) the statements of any witnesses;
(3) any information supporting the allegations;
(4) any statements in response to the allegations or in mitigation thereof;
(5) the provisions of this Code which are alleged to be violated.
(4) Sufficient Cause Determination
(a) As soon as is practicable after receipt of the investigation report, the Chair of the LL.M. Honor Committee shall call a meeting of the Committee to consider the report.
(b) Prior to the meeting, the Chair may determine that additional information, including testimony, is needed for such meeting.
(c) The LL.M. Honor Committee shall review the investigation report and any additional information and thereafter determine, at the meeting, by majority vote, if there is sufficient cause to believe that a violation of this Code may have occurred so as to warrant a formal hearing of the matter.
(d) If no sufficient cause is found, the Committee shall forward a notice to that effect and a copy of the investigation report to the Dean.
(5) Procedure After a Finding of Sufficient Cause
(a) If sufficient cause is found by the LL.M. Honor Committee, the Committee shall set a date for the hearing.
(b) Notice thereof shall be sent to the person charged.
(c) Any challenges made to the members of the LL.M. Honor Committee shall be ruled upon by a majority vote of the Committee, not including the challenged members.
(d) Any challenges to the Notice of Hearing or any challenges to the members of the LL.M. Honor Committee must be made prior to the start of the hearing or are waived.
Procedure – Hearings in General
(1) At the formal hearing before the LL.M. Honor Committee, the generally accepted standards for a fair and impartial hearing shall be observed. These procedures shall be interpreted and administered to accomplish this objective and provide for prompt consideration and disposition of Honor Code cases. The proceedings are not to be construed as adversary proceedings or judicial trials, but care shall be taken to comply as fully as possible with the spirit and intent of the procedural safeguards set forth herein.
(2) An accused appearing before either Committee shall have the right:
(a) to be present at the hearing;
(b) to have the full membership of the Committee present;
(c) to hear or examine evidence presented to the Committee;
(d) to question witnesses present and testifying at the hearing;
(e) to present evidence by witness or affidavit;
(f) to be informed in writing of the findings of the Committee and any sanctions imposed; and
(g) to petition for review or appeal as hereinafter provided.
(3) Formal rules for inclusion or exclusion of evidence are not controlling. Thus, testimony of witnesses, affidavits, written reports, other memoranda, photographs, drawings and any other relevant material may be considered. Additionally, the accused may present any evidence relevant to a defense or in mitigation of the charge(s).
Procedure – Hearings
(1) The Office of the General Counsel may serve as legal advisor to the Committee. The Director of the LL.M. Program, who shall not be a member of the Committee, shall be in charge of presenting the case against the accused. The Dean may designate some other person not a member of the Committee to serve in the place of the Director of the LL.M. Program. An accused shall have the right to have an advisor or legal counsel at the hearing. These persons may perform the usual functions of legal counsel.
(2) The accused shall have the privilege of having a reasonable number of observers at the hearing.
(3) The Chair of the Committee shall preside at the hearing, call the meeting to order, call the roll of the Committee in attendance, ascertain the presence or absence of the accused, read the notice of hearing and charges and verify the receipt of notice of charges by the accused, establish the presence of any advisor or counsel of the accused, if any, and call to the attention of the accused and their counsel any special procedures to be employed during the hearing. Any objections to the procedure already taken or to be followed shall be made at this time for consideration by the Committee.
(4) Members of the Committee may disqualify themselves from hearing any reported violation. The accused shall also have the privilege of challenging members of the Committee for cause. Such challenges, if any, shall be ruled on by the Committee. Vacancies created on the Committee when a member disqualifies himself or herself or the Committee sustains a challenge for cause by the accused shall be filled by the Dean.
(5) If it appears that essential testimony is unavailable, or that for other good cause the hearing should be deferred, the Committee may continue, recess or discontinue the hearing without prejudice.
(6) The Director of the LL.M. Program shall make opening remarks outlining the general nature of the case and shall present the evidence against the accused.
(7) The accused or their counsel shall have an opportunity to make a statement to the Committee about the charge. Such statement may be made following the opening statement of the Director of the LL.M. Program or at the conclusion of the presentation of the evidence against the accused, at the election of the accused. The accused may then present evidence.
(8) The Committee may permit the Director of the LL.M. Program or the accused to offer any matter in rebuttal to the other’s presentation.
(9) The Committee shall promptly deliberate and make its findings and determinations in executive session. If a majority of the Committee is reasonably convinced by the evidence that the accused has committed the violation charged, it shall impose one or more of the sanctions provided below.
(10) The Committee shall prepare its findings and determination in writing and transmit them to the Dean and the accused.
(11) The Committee shall have the right to permit the incorporation in the record by reference any document, affidavit or other thing produced and desired to be incorporated in the record by the Director of the LL.M. Program or the accused; to question witnesses at any time; to call additional witnesses or require additional investigation; to dismiss any charge at any time; and to remove any person from the hearing who interferes with or obstructs the hearing or fails on request to abide by the rulings of the Chair or the Committee.
(12) Procedural questions which arise during the hearing not covered by these general rules shall be determined by the Chair, whose ruling shall be final; provided, however, the Chair shall present the question to the Committee at the request of a member of the Committee, in which event the ruling of the Committee by majority vote shall be final.
(13) A complete record of the hearing shall be made by any method which is reasonably certain of producing an accurate record. The Committee will choose a method and make provision for it. The accused may request an alternative method, but the accused bears the cost of providing the alternative.
Procedures – Appeal
(1) When a student is expelled, dismissed or suspended from the University by the Committee, the Primary Administrative Officer or the student may appeal such decision to the Chancellor or designee by filing written notice of appeal with the Chancellor within ten (10) calendar days after notification of the decision of the Committee. A copy of the Notice of Appeal will contemporaneously be given by the student to the Primary Administrative Officer or by the Primary Administrative Officer to the student. The appealing party may file a written memorandum for consideration by the Chancellor with the Notice of Appeal, and the Chancellor may request a reply to such memorandum by the appropriate party.
(2) The Chancellor or designee shall review the record of the case and the appeal documents and may affirm, reverse or remand the case for further proceedings and shall notify each party in writing of the decision on the appeal. The action of the Chancellor shall be final unless it is to remand the matter for further proceedings.
(3) Status During Appeal. In cases of suspension, dismissal or expulsion where a Notice of Appeal is filed within the required time, a student may petition the Chancellor in writing for permission to attend classes pending final determination of appeal. The Chancellor may permit a student to continue in school under such conditions as may be designated pending completion of appellate procedures, provided such continuance will not seriously disrupt the University or constitute a danger to the health, safety or welfare of members of the University community. In such event, however, any final sanctions imposed shall be effective from the date of the action of the Committee.
Where a sanctioning authority under this Honor Code finds that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, one or more of the following sanctions may be taken as provided herein. Where there are multiple violations, there can be separate sanctions for each violation.
(1) Dismissal: Dismissal from the LL.M. Program for an indefinite period of time (the dismissed student at any time may petition the LL.M. Admissions Committee for readmission).
(2) Dismissal For a Definite Period: Dismissal from the LL.M. Program for a definite period of time, with a specific date prior to which a petition for readmission will not be considered. (In most cases such action will have the practical effect of a suspension.)
(3) Suspension: Suspension from the LL.M. Program for a definite period of time or until a specified future date, with a statement whether suspension should relate back to the time of the offense, or begin at the time imposed, or begin at a specified future date. (The suspended student may return without petitioning for readmission.)
(4) Probation: Disciplinary probation, subject to any appropriate conditions.
(5) Negative Credits: One or more negative credits assessed against a specific course or the cumulative total of credits but without reference to a specific course.
(6) Reprimand: A written or oral reprimand to be given by the Law School Dean. If written, a copy is to be placed in the student’s file. If oral, a notation to the effect that such a reprimand was given is to appear in the student’s file.
(7) Status Outside the School of Law: The above sanctions apply to the status of the accused in the School of Law. The misconduct may be called to the attention of the proper University authority for appropriate action by that authority.
Confidential Nature of Proceedings
(1) Proceedings under the Honor Code shall be held in confidence.
(2) Upon petition of a person charged under this Code, the Director of the LL.M. Program may, for good cause shown and having first consulted the Dean, post an appropriate report in a public place in the School of Law.
PLAGIARISM — A COMMENT
The Honor Code defines plagiarism as follows:
“Plagiarism,” when referred to under this Code, shall mean the act of copying literally or with insubstantial variations the written work of another and passing it off as one’s own without regard to the quantum of copying involved. Further definition is provided in “Plagiarism — A Comment,” which is contained in the MU School of Law Student Handbook.
The Honor Code makes it clear that plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code:
The following conduct is deemed to be a violation of these Standards and this Code, without regard to knowledge that the conduct constitutes a violation: (a) Plagiarism in an academic matter. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that there was not intent to deceive, to misrepresent, or to gain any unfair advantage by the conduct.
Plagiarism may have two quite distinct consequences: (1) it is an Honor Code violation for which sanctions may be imposed; and (2) it may result in a reduction in the grade assigned by the faculty member. Each of these results is independent of the other; hence, a grade may be reduced even if no Honor Code violation is found, and the student may receive sanctions even though the faculty member involved does not reduce the grade.
This comment is intended to clarify your understanding of plagiarism. Please refer to it whenever you begin work on any Law School writing assignment.
It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the student has changed a few words so as to avoid making an exact copy. As one authority puts it:
Plagiarism is not confined to literal copying, but also includes any of the evasive variations and colorable alterations by which a plagiarist may disguise the source from which [the] material was copied. 20 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts, Plagiarism, sec. 2, at 730 (1968).
Citation of source
It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the student has cited the source from which the material was copied. Even extensive citations to the source do not justify the copying. The only proper way to present copied material is as described in the next paragraph.
Presentation of copied material
There is, of course, no objection to the inclusion in a paper or other assignment of copied material, provided:
it is clearly identified as copied from another source; and
a proper citation to that source is given, either in the text or by way of a footnote.
There are two standard ways of identifying material as copied from another source. They are:
(1) setting the material within quotation marks; or
(2) placing the material in a separate paragraph with block indentation (i.e., with all of its lines indented, not merely the first line). For an example, see the quotation from Am.Jur. Proof of Facts, supra.
Copied material should always be identified as such in one of these ways. Further guidance on appropriate style for quoting both lengthy and brief material can be found in A Uniform System of Citation, sec. 5.1 et seq. (16th ed. 1996).
The reason that mere inclusion of citations alone is no defense to a charge of plagiarism should now be clear: if the text you submit is not set within quotation marks or block indented, a faculty member or other reader is entitled to assume that it is your own composition. If your text is accompanied by a footnote or other citation, the reader will normally assume that the cited source supports the position taken in the text, but will certainly not assume that the text was copied from the cited source. The only proper ways of indicating copying from the cited source are to use quotation marks or block indentation as described above.
It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the act was done negligently or without intent. The absence of intent may mitigate the penalty imposed, but it does not excuse the act. Students should therefore use great care to avoid inadvertent plagiarism.
For example, if you copy material from a law review article, book, or case opinion onto note cards or a legal pad, you must place quotation marks around the material you copy into your notes, so that you will not later mistake it as your own work. You must also include the source citation in your notes so you will be able to give proper attribution in your finished work.