The College of Law has ordered that 18 students retake two exams after papers were left overnight in a car that was then stolen.

The scripts were driven off-site by a tutor from the Birmingham centre on August 29 but taken after burglars stole her handbag and the keys inside. The college has apologised to students but has insisted they must retake the exams in civil and criminal litigation. Students have been offered a weekend in November or dates in February to take the tests again.

But questions are being asked why the college took two weeks to inform the Solicitors Regulation Authority – as it was obliged to do – and a further week to write to students. The Gazette understands that some students may seek compensation and are unhappy with the college’s response.

‘I cannot understand how the college thinks it is reasonable to leave examination papers in a car overnight,’ said one, who wished to remain anonymous.

‘The college has been dismissive and refused to take any responsibility for something which has had a considerable impact on students.’

He added that many of those involved had work commitments and were struggling to find the time to revise for the resits. In a statement, the college said the scripts had been stored in a locked and alarmed car.

A meeting was held this week with students to discuss their concerns but they were informed they had no choice but to retake, after getting advice from SRA-appointed external examiners. A college spokesperson said: ‘The students were contacted by the college as soon as the regulatory body and external examiners had advised on the procedures.

‘We are very sorry that this happened and we will support the students in whatever ways we can. The college constantly keeps under review all of its policies and procedures is currently investigating the incident.

‘We don’t want any students to be out of pocket due to this incident and will consider any claims for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses on a case-by-case basis.’