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Central Appeals Committee

NTNU's Appeals Committee handles appeals against individual decisions and other appeals by students.

På norsk: Klagenemnda

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NTNU’s Appeals Committee  #

All institutions subject to the Act on Universities and University Colleges must establish an appeals committee to deal with appeals against individual decisions. If there is a Board resolution specifying this, the appeals committee may also deal with other appeals by students.

The Appeals Committee at NTNU is the appeals body for all individual decisions made at the institution in connection with students. Under a Board resolution, in some cases the Appeals Committee also makes decisions as the first level to process the case (the body of first instance). In these cases, the Ministry or a national committee is the appeals body.

Mandate of the Appeals Committee #

The Appeal Committee’s mandate includes:

Internal guidelines #

Appeal procedures in general #

NTNU’s Appeals Committee handles appeals against individual decisions and other appeals by students. The Appeals Committee also makes individual decisions as the body of first instance in cases under sections 4-7, 4-8 and 4-10 of the Universities and University Colleges Act. For cases in these areas, the Ministry has created a joint appeals committee (Felles klagenemnd) at national level. The Ministry has also created a national appeals committee for admissions through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS).

The national appeals committee will not deal with appeals on local admission. It will also not deal with appeals against decisions on admission based on prior learning and work experience or appeals against assessments of specific admission requirements that include skills or entrance tests. Appeals against this type of decision are handled by the Appeals Committee at NTNU.

Notification of decision - time limit for appeal #

The unit (department, faculty or administrative division) that makes an individual decision on behalf of NTNU must ensure that the person(s) to whom the decision applies is notified as soon as possible. Together with the notification of the decision, information must be provided about the right of appeal, the time limit for appeal, the appeals body and the procedure for appeals. The time limit for appeal against an individual decision is three weeks from the date on which notification of the decision has reached the person concerned. An absolute time limit of one year applies to appeals.

Right of appeal #

The person who appeals must be a party to the case or have a legal interest in appealing the case. The requirement for a legal interest in appealing the case means that the decision must have clear effects for the person who appeals against the decision. In cases of expulsion and exclusion, the student to whom the decision applies is always a party to the case.

The basic principle under the Public Administration Act is that individual decisions can be appealed. An individual decision is an administrative decision relating to the rights or duties of one or more specified persons (see Section 2, first paragraph, letter b of the Public Administration Act [Forvaltningsloven]). This means that the decision must have a genuine and direct impact on a person’s rights and obligations.

Section 7-6 second paragraph of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges has a list of administrative decisions that are regarded as individual decisions. These include decisions on claims for access to documents, decisions on the annulment of exams, decisions on exclusion and expulsion, decisions on insufficient suitability and decisions on loss of a study place. However, this list is not exhaustive. In addition, there are decisions that concern students’ rights and obligations. Grading of exams is also an individual decision, but specific rules apply here.

Grounds for appealing individual decisions can include both procedural errors and the content of the decision.

Criteria for having an appeal considered #

Within the appeal time limit, the appeal must be submitted to the unit that made the decision (the body of first instance). For NTNU students, this will generally be the department, faculty or administrative division. If the first instance finds that the criteria for considering the appeal are met, it must carry out the investigations required and reconsider the case in the light of the appeal. The body of first instance may annul or alter the decision if it considers the appeal legitimate.

If the body of first instance (the department/faculty/administrative division) finds no basis for changing the previous decision or upholds the appeal and the student maintains the complaint by not withdrawing it, the case must be submitted to NTNU’s Appeals Committee for a final decision - without undue delay. If the decision was initially made at department level (after delegation from the faculty), the appeal is usually submitted to the department, which forwards it to the faculty for reconsideration, before it is submitted to the Appeals Committee if applicable.

If the first instance rejects the case, this is regarded as a new individual decision that can be appealed separately to the Appeals Committee.

Even if the time limit for appeals has been exceeded, both the body of first instance (department, faculty, administrative division) and the appeals body (the Appeals Committee) can choose to consider the appeal if the person making the appeal cannot be held responsible for exceeding the time limit for appeals or for other specific reasons (see Section 31 of the Public Administration Act).

Deferred implementation of decision (suspensive effect) #

The main rule is that the decision will take effect immediately. The fact that the decision takes effect immediately does not mean that any reactions must apply from the date of the decision. For example, the decision may specify that an exclusion period will not begin before a specified date.

Deferred implementation is a separate decision not to implement the decision made by the first instance until the time limit for an appeal has expired or the appeal has been decided. The rules for this are set out in Section 42 of the Public Administration Act. Both the body of first instance and the appeals body can decide on deferred implementation of the decision.

Duty to provide information #

NTNU has a duty to inform students about their rights in connection with appeals. The general rule is that information must be provided well in advance about anything that could be considered important to the student’s legal security. This applies to information about the right of appeal, the time limit for appeal and formal requirements for the appeal, as well as information about any specific rights, such as the right to free legal aid. Lack of information about such rights may cause the decision to be declared invalid due to procedural errors; see Section 41 of the Public Administration Act. Lack of information about the right of appeal and the time limit for appeal may also mean that the appeal must be considered even if the deadline for appeals has been exceeded.

Appeals concerning grades and the implementation of exams #

Appeals concerning grades and procedural errors in the exam process are regulated under Section 5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act. Procedures and possible consequences of appeals are briefly described below.

SUMMARY:

  • An appeal against a grade results in independent reassessment of the examination answer paper. The original grade is annulled, and the new grade may be higher, lower or the same as the original grade. Grades awarded following re-marking after an appeal against a grade cannot be appealed, but procedural errors in the re-mark may still be appealed under the rules in Section 5-2 of the Universities and University Colleges Act.
  • If an appeal against procedural errors in an exam is upheld, the appealed grade will be annulled. New grading (if possible) or a new exam must be carried out - maintaining all rights to appeal against the new grade and the implementation of the new exam according to the rules in sections 5-2 and 5-3 of the Universities and University Colleges Act.

Appeal against a grade: #

- Right to an explanation of the grade://

Students who have taken an exam can always ask for an explanation of their own grade.

The student must submit a request for this within one week of being informed of the grade, but never more than three weeks after the announcement of the grade.

- Appeal against examiners’ decision/grading

In principle, a student who has taken an exam can always appeal against the examiners’ decision. After receiving the explanation from the course teacher in writing or orally, the student can appeal against the grade awarded. This appeal entitles the student to a new grading process with a new independent assessment of the answer paper. The deadline for appeals is three weeks after the examination results have been announced.

- New grade awarded

For an appeal against a grade, the grade may be changed favourably or unfavourably for the student who appeals (see Section 3-9 fifth part second sentence of the Universities and University Colleges Act). This is an exception from the principle in the Public Administration Act that a decision cannot normally be changed to the detriment of the person who appeals it. A complaint against a grade thus involves a calculated risk of ending up with a worse grade than the original grade.

Grades awarded following re-marking after an appeal against a grade cannot be appealed. Procedural errors in the new grading can however be appealed according to the rules in Section 5-2 of the Universities and University Colleges Act (see below).

Appeal against procedural errors in exams #

It is possible to appeal against procedural errors in exams under Section 5-2 of the Universities and University Colleges Act. Examples of procedural errors include errors in an exam question, in the way the exam was held, or in the grading of exams. Procedural errors only affect the decision when the error may have influenced the student’s performance or assessment of this. If this kind of error has occurred, the grading is annulled and a new assessment takes place or a new exam is held.

If the appeal concerns both a procedural error and the grade awarded, the normal procedure will be to deal with the appeal concerning the procedural error first. If the appeal is not upheld by the Faculty or the Appeals Committee, the case is sent back to the Faculty for further follow-up as an appeal against the grade awarded (see above).

Previous practice by the Appeals Committee at NTNU was that the grade was not automatically annulled if procedural errors were identified. With a decision that concluded that procedural errors had been documented, the case was returned to the first instance (the Faculty) for implementation. If it then turned out that holding a new exam was the only way to correct the procedural error, and that this would be a disproportionate burden for the student in the form of a great deal of extra work, delay in the progress of studies, etc., the student had the opportunity to “abandon” the case and keep the previous grade awarded.

Although such practice may be flexible and fulfils the student’s interests effectively, it is not formally in accordance with the law. This means that from now on, if the Appeals Committee confirms procedural errors in the exam, this will automatically lead to annulment of the grade. To avoid possible adverse and unintended consequences when an appeal against procedural errors is upheld, it is therefore important to explain to students the possible consequences of submitting this type of appeal and to point out the opportunity to withdraw the appeal before it is processed.

In principle, procedural errors only have consequences for the students who have appealed. However, when procedural errors exist, the Appeals Committee can decide that new assessment must be carried out or that a new exam or test must be held, and it is reasonable to assume that these may have consequences for the academic performance of one or more other candidates or the assessment of their performance.

The new exam and/or new grading due to procedural errors can be appealed under sections 5-2 and 5-3 of the Universities and University Colleges Act.

Deadline for appeals procedures in connection with reassessment #

The Universities and University Colleges Act does not specify a deadline for dealing with appeals in connection with a reassessment. This means that the provisions of the Public Administration Act apply.

Decisions on grades that cannot be appealed #

For some decisions on grades, there is no right of appeal. This applies to grades awarded for oral performance and assessment of practical training or similar, which, because of the nature of the test, cannot be reviewed (see Section 5-3 fifth paragraph of the Universities and University Colleges Act). It is important to note the requirement that the assessment cannot be reviewed. For example, it is possible to appeal against procedural errors even if the actual grade cannot be appealed. The results of preliminary examinations (forprøver) may only be appealed when the examination is failed.

Members #

Under Section 5-1 of the Universities and University Colleges Act of 01.04.2005 (Uhl), the Appeals Committee at NTNU today consists of 5 members with personal deputies. The Chair and the Deputy Chair meet the statutory requirements for Court of Appeal judges (lagdommere) and are not employed by the institution.  Two of the members are students. Representatives of the institution’s owner or members of the institution’s Board may not be members of the appeals committee.

The appeals committee has a quorum when the Chair or Deputy Chair and two other members are present. Decisions by the appeals committee are final.

Members of the Central Appeals Committee at NTNU, 01.08.2018 - 31.07.2021

MemberPersonal deputy
Advokat Børge Tronvold (leder)Seniorrådgiver Robert Envik (nestleder)
Professor Ivar Ståle ErtesvågUniversitetslektor Bente Alm
Universitetslektor Guri KorpåsUniversitetslektor Karen Mari P. Bjerkvold
Student Baldur Kjelsvik (31.12.2018)Student Stein Olav Romslo (31.12.2018)
Student Siri Arnesen (01.07.2019)Student Jostein Gjesdal (01.07.2019)

  

Contact #

  • For questions regarding appeals on faculty level, for example questions regarding cencorship date, contact the faculty directly
  • For questions regarding appeals, time for meetings of the Central Appeals Committee, contact the secretary for the Central Appeals Committee Sofie Holten.
  • For questions regarding "cheating cases", contact senior advisor Anne-Marie Snekvik.

Last update 03.09.2019

 

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