How Do Laws on Essay Mills Work?


Most degrees require essay writing. While other students nail the task, some need help to complete it. Completing quality essays on time can be challenging and particularly stressful for international students whose native language isn’t English and those who juggle work and school. 

Those who lack time and skill but still want good marks tend to get help from writing experts on the Studybay, Chill&Study, or similar platform to write a college essay, research paper, etc. They go online to order research papers or whatever they need, send instructions, and wait for the output after buying a paper. The writers on the platform may revise the content as necessary to ensure the client is satisfied with their purchase.  


However, before using a writing service, students must be aware of the legal implications. Otherwise, you may end up in trouble. This article will take a closer look at the legality of essay mills. 

What Are Essay Mills?

Essay mills are companies students can pay to write essays they can pass off as their own. These businesses have been around for a while now. These services are popular among students who struggle with being productive at writing for coursework


If you’re wondering how essay mills work, it’s pretty straightforward. Although the process varies depending on the company, it generally starts with the student sending instructions, a deadline, and other essential information about their order to the platform. 


Afterward, the company will offload the task to a writer. Writers on essay mills are usually freelancers or ghostwriters. They will write your essay from scratch, and you’ll have the full rights to the submitted content.

What Does the Law Say About Essay Mills?

Essay mills are viewed as contract cheating services, so some countries have laws that forbid these businesses from operating or being promoted. Nonetheless, some commercial enterprises that offer these services can legally register and conduct business in many countries.


Let’s look at some countries and their law on essay mills.


United States 

Contract cheating is illegal in 17 states in the US, including California and Florida. However, there is no federal law that makes buying essays illegal. Furthermore, state laws made to prevent cheating are rarely reinforced. 



Essay mills are allowed in Canada. However, some Canadian universities and colleges established in their internal policies and procedural documents that contract cheating is an academic misconduct.


United Kingdom

Essay mills have been made illegal in the United Kingdom. Offering or arranging these services to students pursuing a qualification at a post-16 institution or sixth form is illegal in the UK as well. This also applies to the advertisement of said service.



It is against the law in Australia to arrange or promote the sale of certain forms of academic fraud, such as paid essay writing. The law has severe penalties, including up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $74,000 or $100,000.



In Ireland, promoting or offering essay mill services to students pursuing higher education or training is illegal. Depending on the type of violation, penalties can include fines of up to €100,000 or jail terms of up to five years.


New Zealand

According to the Education Act, it is illegal in New Zealand to offer or advertise essay mills and other academic fraud to students pursuing higher education. If found guilty, the maximum fine is $10,000.


Some countries have actively blocked websites that offer essay mills, and laws against them have sparked crackdowns on commercial companies that provide these services. It means businesses that offer students essay mill services can be located anywhere in the world, even in countries where laws against them are in place.

Using Essay Mills Is a Growing Global Phenomenon

If you’re a college student using essay mills to lighten your burden, you’re not alone. A research found out that as many as one in six students has paid someone else to write their essay. There could be many reasons for this.


  • Using essay writing services frees up student time. Some college students take on jobs to pay for their studies, which leaves them less time to spend on some assignments. You can concentrate on more essential tasks by outsourcing the essay to a professional writer.
  • These services help in overcoming the language barrier. Essay writing services can be particularly useful to international students struggling to express their ideas using a foreign language. 
  • Students use these services to meet tight deadlines. The writing process often takes a lot of time. It involves creating a draft, researching, writing, and editing. Furthermore, writing essays isn’t the only thing you need to do in your coursework. When buying an essay from a trusted service provider, you can eliminate the risk of missing deadlines and facing late submission penalties.
  • Students can deal with challenging topics. Writing service companies typically have a network of writers who are experts in various fields. Hence, students can easily find professionals who can discuss complex essay topics on their behalf. 
  • These services may help students get good marks. Students may have a better chance of getting higher grades when they submit well-written essays. As long as you choose an experienced and professional writer, you’ll likely get a quality essay. 

Essay Mills: Assessing the Risks

Many countries consider essay mills as illegal, and they also have a reason to do so. There are many risks surrounding these services, including the following:


Plagiarism concerns

Plagiarism is perhaps the biggest concern with essay mills. Plagiarism refers to the act of presenting somebody’s work as your own without proper attribution. Educational institutions consider this a serious academic offense. 


If you’re planning to purchase an essay online, you should give plagiarism checking the utmost importance. Plagiarism tools are available online, helping you assess the originality of the submitted work.


Privacy issues

When you use an essay writing service, you often need to share personal and academic details. Hence, there’s a risk of your sensitive information getting leaked or sold. So, it’s crucial to scrutinize how the company handles personal data.


Limited personal growth

Essay mills rob students of the opportunity to research, think critically, and hone their writing skills. Nevertheless, learners have individual strengths and excel in different areas. Writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. 


Financial scams

People ready to commit fraudulent activities are lurking everywhere, including in places where students seek help with their assignments. It means there is a chance that you’ll fall victim to financial scams when you use writing services. That’s why it’s critical to always check the pricing information and signs of scams before placing an essay order and making payments. 


Expertise concerns

Many writing service companies employ a network of writers with established expertise. But some of these companies also hire barely qualified writers to do the work. This means that when you use a writing service, there is still a risk of getting a low-quality paper. 

Deciding to Use Essay Mills

Essay mills can make college life easier. If you’re a student who wants to pay someone else to write your essay, the first thing to do is find out whether it’s legal in your country. If buying essays is legal in your area, choose who you hire carefully. 


You’ll find many essay mills online. Do your research, read reviews, and consider the risks before placing an order. Ultimately, learn where to draw the line so you can enjoy the benefits of using these services without getting in trouble. 



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  2. Department for Education. (2022, April 28). Essay Mills Are Now Illegal: Skills Minister Calls on Internet Service Providers to Crack Down on Advertising. Retrieved from
  3. Deakin, S. (2021). Cheating the System: An Examination of Contract Cheating in Higher Education. Retrieved from
  4. The University of Auckland. (n.d.). Contract Cheating. Retrieved from