University and Law School Rules

Students are subject to the rules and regulations of the university and Duke Law School that are currently in effect, or those that in the future may be promulgated by the appropriate authorities of the university. A copy of Duke Law School’s rules is available for review in the law school library and on the law school’s website at Every student, in accepting admission, indicates a willingness to subscribe to and be governed by these rules and regulations. The student also acknowledges the right of the university to take such disciplinary action, including suspension and/or expulsion, as may be appropriate, for failure to abide by these rules and regulations of academic misconduct, or for other conduct adjudged unsatisfactory or detrimental to the university.

Duke University is a drug-free workplace as defined by federal regulations.

Student Professional Misconduct


These rules apply to all students enrolled at Duke Law School. Upon acceptance for admission to the Law School, entering students shall be informed that these rules exist. Students shall be charged with notice of, and be bound by, these rules. Copies of these rules shall be available from the Duke Bar Association and at the School's Admissions office.

These rules apply only to alleged misconduct of the types identified in Rule 5-2(1). The faculty retains final authority in addressing student misconduct, including conduct not covered in these rules and including referral of matters for resolution in the civil or criminal justice systems. See also Rule 3-22.

Every student should comply with these rules, and should assist in ensuring compliance with them by taking personal responsibility for their faithful discharge including full cooperation with and support of the procedures established for their enforcement.

Types of Misconduct

  1. The following acts, or attempts at such acts, are subject to these rules. Many of the acts are further described in the Law School's brochure entitled Academic Integrity, which is distributed to all first-year students at Orientation.

    • the use of any materials not expressly authorized by the instructor with respect to an examination or other academic exercise;

    • the failure to adhere to the time limitations and any other procedural aspects of an examination or other academic exercise;

    • unsanctioned collaboration on any examination or other academic exercise;

    • any discussion of an examination with or in the proximity of a student who will take the examination at a later time;

    • the unauthorized submission of work, in whole or in part, in more than one course;

    • the unauthorized submission of work created in whole or in part for an employer;

    • the improper sequestration, mutilation, or destruction of library or other study, teaching, or research materials;

    • the unauthorized access to, use of, or impersonation of a law school computer account;

    • plagiarism;

    • failure to comply with an order of the Judicial Board or Judicial Panel;

    • obstruction of any judicial proceeding, including making any deliberately false or misleading statements at any hearing;

    • any violation of rules as established by the Law School Committee on Student Career & Professional Development.

  2. Except as expressly provided by these rules, the Faculty retain authority to govern the affairs of the School. In the event any alleged misconduct occurs in which the jurisdiction of the Judicial Board is contested or in doubt, the question of jurisdiction shall be referred to the Administrative Committee, or any other three members of the Faculty that the Faculty may from time to time designate, plus two representatives of the Judicial Board, such representatives to be chosen by the Judicial Board, to determine the jurisdiction.

  3. Any party wishing to contest or confirm jurisdiction of the Judicial Board must do so at the earliest opportunity, but in no event later than his or her appearance at the pre-trial conference prescribed by Rule 5-4(3) of these rules.

Composition of Judicial Board, Advocate Panel, and Appeals Board

  1. The Judicial Board shall be comprised of five members. The qualifications for office and the election procedures shall be governed by the DBA Constitution, Article II, Section 2, and Article III. The membership of the Board shall select the Chair of the Judicial Board from its ranks. The Chair will direct the proceedings of the Board and will rule on matters of procedure.

    • Four elected members shall constitute a quorum for purposes of decision.

    • The term of office for the Board shall be one year. The rising second and third year members shall begin their term after the end of the academic year in which they were elected. The first year member shall commence his or her term immediately upon his or her election in the fall. All members will end their terms of office at the end of the academic year.

    • The second and third year members shall elect the Chair before their terms begin.

  2. The Student Advocate Panel shall be comprised of three students who are in good academic standing. The Executive Committee of the Duke Bar Association shall appoint the members with the advice and consent of the Dean of the Law School. The appointments shall take place in the spring. The one-year term commences immediately after spring finals. Only rising second and third year students are eligible for consideration.

  3. The Appeals Board shall be comprised of five members. Three of the members will be faculty representatives selected by the Faculty. The other two members of the Board will be students. The entire student body shall vote for those who desire the position. The election shall be held at the same time as the DBA officer elections, and shall be conducted in the same manner as the officer elections are conducted. Only rising second and third year students are eligible for a seat on the Board.

    • The Chair shall be internally selected from within its membership.

    • The term of office of the Appeals Board shall be one year. The term shall commence immediately after the end of the academic year during which the student members were selected.

  4. Any student member of any of the above boards or panels may be dismissed with or without cause in accordance with the procedures set forth in the DBA Constitution, Article III, Section 4. Vacancies will be filled in accordance with Article III, Section 5.

Initial Procedures

  1. Allegations that misconduct of a type governed by these rules has occurred shall be made to the Dean by any person. The Dean (or Associate Dean) shall present the allegation orally to the accused student(s) for a response.

    • If the accused student(s) admit(s) the wrongdoing, and no issues of fact remain to be investigated, then the student Advocate Panel shall be informed of the facts and shall proceed pursuant to Section 2 et.seq.

    • If the accused student(s) does/do not admit wrongdoing, or if the facts and circumstances warrant investigation, the Dean shall instruct the Student Advocate Panel to investigate the allegation.

  2. The Dean and the Advocates will discuss the findings. After this meeting, the Advocates shall determine whether to recommend a hearing by the Judicial Board. Two-thirds of the Advocate Panel must vote for further judicial action by the Judicial Board.

    • At any time before the pretrial hearing, the Dean, in consultation with the Advocate Panel before settlement terms are proposed to the student, may settle with the student any charge of misconduct on such terms as the Dean believes just.

    • If two-thirds of the Advocate Panel recommend that further action be taken, it shall report its findings to the full Judicial Board. The Board must determine from those findings whether a reasonable basis exists for pursuing the Panel's claim. The Judicial Board may question the Advocates as necessary. A majority of the Board, present and voting, must agree that a hearing should be granted for the claim to continue.

  3. Upon determining that a hearing be held, the Judicial Board's Chair shall present the accused with the charge as soon as possible. The charge shall include a concise statement of the facts and nature of the allegations. This statement shall also state that the party charged has three days in which to prepare an answer to the allegations, that he or she may choose to be represented by another person or persons in any proceedings under these rules, that the charges shall be heard by the Judicial Board, and that the Advocate Panel or the Judicial Board may grant a reasonable extension of time in which to answer the allegations, for good cause shown. Failure to answer within the time provided shall be an admission of allegations. The Chair of the Judicial Board shall also set the time for the pre-trial conference.

  4. In the event the person charged selects a person to represent him or her other than a law student, the Dean, in consultation with the Advocate Panel, may select a person other than a law student to present the charge or assist in presenting the charge.

Pre-Hearing and Hearing Procedures

  1. Any charge of misconduct shall be heard by a quorum of the Judicial Board.

  2. The Advocate Panel shall be responsible for preparing the evidence supporting the charge of misconduct and for presenting this evidence at the hearing on the charge, and for this purpose shall appoint one of its members to be lead Advocate for each charge that goes to pre-trial conference.

  3. Within five days after the time for answer to the allegation has lapsed, the Judicial Board shall convene a pre-trial conference of the advocate, the party charged and his or her representative if any.

    • At this conference, the lead Advocate shall indicate, on the basis of his or her knowledge at that time, what witnesses the Advocate Panel will introduce, and whether the Panel requires additional time to prepare the evidence. The person charged shall do likewise with respect to his or her case or defenses.

    • The Advocate Panel and the person charged ("the parties") may elect to interview the witnesses of the other party, and the Advocate Panel may elect to interview the person charged. In the event either party so elects, the Judicial Board shall establish a schedule for such interviews. Each interview shall be recorded, and, except as provided in Rule 5-43.(f), the recording of the interview shall be admissible as evidence at the hearing on any basis the Judicial Board determines to be relevant and helpful to its deliberations. The scope of the inquiry permitted at the interview shall be the same as that governing discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Judicial Board may issue orders to compel students to testify at an interview or at a hearing, or both, upon application by either party or on its own motion, except as provided in Rule 5-43.(f).

    • In no event shall the schedule established for interviews under Rule 5-43.(b) extend longer than seven days after the termination of the pre-trial conference. The Judicial Board may limit interviews in any manner it considers just. The Judicial Board may adjust the schedule, modify its limitations, or otherwise enter additional orders governing the interview schedule at any time prior to the hearing, on noticed motion by either party. Other than set forth here, there shall be no discovery procedures under these rules.

    • At this conference, either party may request permission to submit a written argument to any matter of interpretation of these rules relevant to the disposition of the charge. To make such a request, the party must state the nature of the matter he or she wishes to brief, why it is relevant to the disposition of the charge, and the position with respect to the matter he or she takes. If the Judicial Board believes it would be substantially assisted in its deliberations, it may grant the request, and shall invite the other party to submit a brief in opposition. Briefs shall be submitted to the Judicial Board at a time determined by the Board at the hearing, but in no event later than five days after the termination of the conference.

    • At this conference, the Judicial Board shall set a date for the hearing on the charge, which date shall be no later than eight days after the termination of the conference. The Judicial Board shall also establish the order of procedures of the hearing, including those governing opening statements, presentation of evidence, summation, and such other matters as the Board determines proper. The Judicial Board shall inform the person charged of his or her right of election under Rule 5-43.6.

    • The person charged may elect not to testify at the hearing and, in such a case, may also elect not to provide an interview pursuant to this Section 3. A witness may also elect not to testify at the hearing if he or she believes the testimony would tend to subject him or her to a charge of misconduct under these rules. In such event a witness may also elect not to provide an interview pursuant to this Section 3. The Judicial Board may draw reasonable inferences from a failure to provide testimony.

  4. At the hearing the Advocate Panel shall bear the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that misconduct has occurred. The hearing shall be recorded, and the recording preserved until all proceedings concerning the charge have been completed, or for so long as the Dean believes proper, whichever is longer.

  5. The Judicial Board may admit any evidence at the hearing that it considers helpful and relevant to its deliberations. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.

  6. At the close of the hearing, either party may request permission to submit written argument, in the same manner as set forth in Rule 5-43.(d). If the Judicial Board believes it would be substantially assisted in its deliberations, it may grant the request, and shall invite the other party to submit a brief in opposition. Briefs shall be submitted to the Judicial Board at a time determined by the Board at the hearing, but in no event later than five days after the termination of the hearing.

Disposition of The Charge, Sanctions, Appeals

  1. Based on the record, the Judicial Board shall rule on the charge with a majority vote being sufficient to decide. All Judicial Board deliberations respecting the charge shall be confidential, and the Board may determine its own internal procedures for reaching a disposition. The Board shall make a disposition of the charge no later than two weeks after the conclusion of the hearing or after the submission of post-hearing briefs, whichever is later.

  2. The disposition of the charge shall include a determination as to whether a violation of these rules has been found, a statement of reasons and a recitation of the relevant facts, and a sanction for such violation. Sanctions that may be imposed by the Panel are:

    • a written reprimand, stating the nature of the violation, to be given to the person charged, a copy of which shall be placed in the person's permanent record;

    • suspension from school for a period of either a semester or a year; readmission to be conditioned upon a finding by the Administrative Committee, or such other committee as the faculty from time to time may designate, that readmission is warranted under all the facts;

    • expulsion from school.

  3. The person charged or the Advocate Panel may appeal from an adverse determination of the Board, including an appeal to review the sanction imposed. Notice of intention to make such appeal shall be delivered to the Dean within two days of the notice of the Judicial Boards' determination.

    • Upon notice of appeal, the Appeals Board shall review, as expeditiously as possible, the Judicial Board determination, the recording of the hearing, if the Appeals Boards considers it necessary, and any written submissions presented to the Judicial Board or to it at its request. The Appeals Board may hear oral argument on any matter relevant to its determination, but it need not do so.

    • If the Appeals Board determines that the prior proceedings on the charge have not fairly developed information necessary to the just disposition of the matter, it may conduct such hearings and gather such evidence as it considers necessary, under procedures it shall determine, to permit such a just disposition.

    • If the Appeals Board does not proceed under (b) above, it shall uphold the determination of the Judicial Board unless it finds that clear error has been committed. In such a case of clear error, it may dismiss the charge, reduce the sanction, increase the sanction if the person presenting the charge has appealed on that basis, or order such further deliberations as are necessary to dispose of the case, as it considers just.

  4. If the charge of misconduct concerned an academic exercise for which the person charged was to receive a grade, a finding of no misconduct shall be binding on the person setting the grade. Upon a determination that misconduct has occurred, the person setting the grade may take such account of the misconduct as he or she considers appropriate and consistent with his or her grading practices.

  5. Either party may appeal from a ruling of the Appeals Board to the entire Faculty. The appealing party shall state the reasons he or she believes the Appeals Board determination to constitute error, and the grounds for that belief. The Faculty shall make an initial decision whether the grounds asserted for error merit its review. If it so concludes, it shall accept the appeal, which shall be heard on the record compiled on the proceedings to date, together with any additional arguments the Faculty may request. The Faculty may delegate any of its appellate functions to a committee of the Faculty, or to such other persons as the Faculty may designate.