A separate committee, the Examinations Appeals Board (College van Beroep voor de Examens, Cobex), has been established for the legal protection of students with respect to decisions about final examinations and interim examinations. The Cobex is a committee of the AHK under the direction of an external expert (lawyer).
You can contact the Cobex if you do not agree with decisions of examiners, exam committees, faculty directors or the Executive Board. This may concern, among other things examinations, sanctions in the event of fraud, exemptions, or a negative binding study advice. You call this lodging an appeal. Please take into account that you must have lodged an appeal within six weeks after a decision.
If you do not agree with an assessment, you are advised to first engage in talks with the teacher or examiner that gave the assessment. If you still have objections against the assessment after this, you can raise this with the examinations board. The examinations board decides what is done with your complaint. If you want to lodge an appeal against the decision of the examinations board, you will end up at the Cobex. If you go to the Cobex directly, it will want to know why you did not first go to your teacher and subsequently the examinations board.
If you would like to lodge an appeal against a decision, the study programme does not have to wait before enforcing the decision (the appeal procedure has no suspensory effect). If you lodge an appeal against a negative binding advice, you may not, for example, be enrolled in the study programme and you may not attend lessons pending the judgement of the Cobex.
There may be situations where you need clarity very quickly about whether or not your appeal will be upheld or rejected. You may then request a provisional judgement (see Cobex regulations).
The Cobex will first request that the person who took the decision explores an ‘amicable settlement’. There will then follow a conversation between you and the person who took the decision based on your appeal. The term ‘amicable settlement’ entails that the person who took the decision reconsiders this decision in response to what is in the appeal and what is addressed in the settlement conversation. That does not mean that it is a negotiation that will lead to a compromise.
If an amicable settlement does not turn out to be possible, then the appeal will be taken up by the Cobex. In preparation for the hearing, the person who took the decision must react in writing to your appeal, so that the Cobex has as much information as possible. Both parties will speak during the hearing. You may give your own version of events, but you may also bring someone along who does that for you. In addition, the Cobex may also ask questions. The judgment will follow a few weeks after the hearing. The appeal will then be upheld or rejected.
The Cobex will investigate:
- if the decision was taken correctly;
- if all procedures were followed correctly;
- if the decision was taken in a reasonable manner;
- if the person who took the decision also had pure intentions and did not go beyond his jurisdiction;
- if there is a conflict with the general legal consciousness.
If the Cobex believes that the appeal of a student is well-founded, the decision will be undone and the study programme must engage in talks with the student about the consequences of this judgment.
The Cobex will not make a decision about these consequences. The Cobex may not, for example, give another assessment of an exam, but it may decide that an assessment is wrong. The study programme must then come up with a solution, for example in the form of a reassessment or resit.
A judgment of the Cobex is binding for both parties. It is possible to lodge an appeal against the judgment of the Cobex with the Appeals Tribunal for Higher Education in The Hague, cbho.nl.
The appeal must be sent to the Cobex within six weeks after the date of the decision: Examinations Appeals Board (College van Beroep voor de Examens), P.O. Box 15079, 1001 MB Amsterdam.
Please include the following points in your appeal:
- your name and address;
- if applicable: your student number and the study programme which the appeal relates to;
- the date;
- a description and date of the decision against which the appeal is directed and preferably a copy of that decision;
- a detailed motivation and substantiation of the appeal.
Please see the Cobex Rules of Procedure for the procedures in relation to submission, handling, attempt to reach an amicable settlement, urgent importance, etc.