In most cases, it is advisable to solve issues with your educational institution in an informal manner. Engaging in a reasonable dialogue with the professor or the person in question can solve many problems. If this does not lead to the desired result, it is good to know what further steps to take. As a student, you have access to a number of legal remedies against certain decisions made by the educational institution. Below, you can find information regarding the general guidelines of the most important legal remedies derived from the Netherlands Higher Education and Research Act (Dutch acronym: WHW). Please, refer at all times to the Student Charter for additional regulations on the procedures. It also includes standard notices of objection and appeal.
Filing a petition to the examination board
You may file a petition to the examination board. A petition implies that you submit a proposal that the examination board chooses to either accept or reject. The examination board is authorized to assess petitions concerned with the (further) progress of your studies. For example: petition for exemption, petition for extension of the validity of exam results, petition to resit an exam. The examination board is required to take a decision on the request presented. You may appeal against a decision by the examination board within six weeks through the CBE. Here you can find a Dutch format for a petition to the examination board. The Student helpline, can help you if something is unclear to you.
Administrative Appeals to the Examination Appeals Board
The Examination Appeals Board (Dutch acronym: CBE) is an internal board within the educational institution. Therefore, your administrative appeal is not to an independent judge, but to a part of the educational institution. When you appeal to a different part of the educational institution than the part responsible for the decision you appeal against, this is called an administrative appeal. Prior to the decision of the CBE on your appeal, the CBE will ask you and the institutional body responsible for the decision if a settlement is possible. You will get three weeks to formulate a settlement. If a settlement is not reached, or if it did not lead to the desired results, the CBE will make a final decision within ten weeks.
When the CBE considers the appeal admissible and well founded, the CBE will amend the decision by the examination board wholly or partially. The CBE is not allowed to make a new decision; this is the job of the body of the educational institution responsible for the original decision. The CBE, however, guides the rectification of the decision. The body of the educational institution that thus needs to remake the decision is required to take into account the ruling of the CBE. You may appeal to the CBE against the following decisions:
- Decisions by an examiner;
- Decisions by the examination board;
- Decisions regarding a special entrance examination (21+ exam);
- Decisions regarding admission requirements;
- Decisions regarding binding study advice; and
- Decisions regarding admission to a graduate/masters programme.
Be aware of the following: these are the most common decisions against which appeals are submitted. If your appeal concerns one of the above-mentioned decisions, you may submit your appeal to the CBE within six weeks. The CBE is exclusively authorized to assess whether the contested decision is reasonable taking into account the interests of the parties involved. It is useless to submit an administrative appeal when you believe errors were made in the substantive assessment of an exam or assignment. The CBE is not allowed to take the position of an examiner or the examination board, because the CBE does not possess the required expertise. You may appeal to the CBHO against a decision made by the CBE within six weeks.
Presenting an objection to the Executive Board
If you disagree with a decision against which no appeal to the CBE is possible, you may petition an objection to the executive board of your educational institution. For example, you may present an objection against a disenrolment or denial of enrolment to the executive board. Next to the executive board, you may also present an objection to the dispute advisory committee. The dispute advisory committee assesses whether or not a settlement is possible between the student and the educational institution. Additionally, the dispute advisory committee may advice the executive board about the decision on the objection. Prior to the executive board reaches a decision on the objection, the dispute advisory committee brings forward their advice. If the case experiences a time constraint, the provision of advice is accelerated.
The student will be heard before the executive board makes a decision on the basis of the advice. The executive board has 10 weeks to make a decision on the objection starting when the objection period has expired, except the possibility to accelerate the procedure in case of immediate urgency. If you disagree with the decision of the executive board, you may submit your objection to the CBHO within six weeks.
The WHW is not responsible for regulations regarding the process of the complaint procedure. The complaint procedure varies per institution. It is wise to consult the Student Charter. A complaint is often declared inadmissible when the decision in question is or was able to be appealed or objected against.