The Advocate shall report to the Ministry if he refuses to submit the communication regarding the disputed re-appointment to the Chairman of the Joint Grievance Board.
This fall, lawyer Magnus Stre Virje will appear at the Court of Appeal to defend a student at Høgskolen i Innlandet (HINN).
She was banned from her studies for a year for reusing two failed passages in her own test – known as plagiarism. Student mentioned textbooks in both sections.
– Totally crushed
The student appealed the ban to the Joint Appeals Board, the highest appellate body for students accused of cheating, but it was not heard. The woman also sued the Oslo District Court.
– The student was completely devastated after the ban, Virje says.
– She is still unable to continue her studies, or she is unable to appear when the case comes up for trial in the district court.
The case sparked massive protests and massive support for the student. More than 300 professors and academic staff signed a protest against the way he was treated.
In the fall, the appeal case will go to the Court of Appeals.
Signed by a manager who may be illegally seated
The decision to withdraw from the Joint Complaints Board was signed in September 2022 by Marianne Claussen, chair of the board.
VG wrote this week that Clausen could be sitting on the court illegally from April 2022. Many legal experts believe that at least 200 decisions from this period were invalid.
– Virje says the tribunal should deal with these fraud cases again.
– The same applies in courts. If there are defects in the manner in which the judge was appointed, the decisions should be set aside.
He believes that students who were wrongly banned should be compensated.
Reacting to Disclosures
In recent months, VG has written several cases of students being expelled and severely punished for what many say are minor mistakes.
– As a lawyer for students in many fraud cases, I react strongly to VG’s revelations, says lawyer Virje.
Cheating case: School ban should be withdrawn
Lawyer Magnus Stray Vyrje believes that the exclusion of a student from Høgskolen i Innlandet (HINN) is wrong and should be reversed.
– What has now been revealed is that the ministry and Clausen agreed in a back room to re-appoint him as a member of the Joint Complaints Board in violation of regulations, Virje says.
It is clear from the regulations that “no member shall be appointed for more than two terms”. There is no reason to make exceptions to the rule.
On Saturday, VG wrote, the Ministry of Education, when it appointed Clausen to the tribunal in 2022, removed the conviction showing that the appointment was illegal.
– It is very serious if the Ministry of Education knowingly and deliberately sets aside the regulations, which can influence the composition of the tribunal and strict practice in cases of self-plagiarism, the lawyer says.
The Education Ministry did not respond to Viji’s query on the matter. They had earlier said they were working on a fresh assessment of the appointment. They cannot respond when it is ready.
Ask the court and decide
Wirge held that Clausen was not legally reappointed and that the exclusion of the HINN student he represented was invalid.
He hopes this should have consequences for his appeal.
– If the ministry does not first agree that the circumstances surrounding Clausen’s appointment invalidate the decision of the Joint Appellate Board, Virje says the Court of Appeal should decide the issue, adding:
– So the Ministry will not succeed in eradicating this problem.
The court administration did not want to answer what the consequences would be if the decisions of the Joint Appellate Board were invalidated.
– One or more cases may be requested to be reopened and thus end up in court, writes Communications Division Manager Yngve Brox in an email to VG.
At the same time, counsel will request that all communications between the ministry and Clausen before the appointment be submitted to the Court of Appeal.
This is information the ministry refused to share with Viji.
He doubts whether the Court of Appeal will allow the ministry to stop it.
Fraud cases: – Appointment is probably punishable
Fell’s wrongful appointment of appeals board chair could be a criminal offence, says law professor
– Virje says that if that happens, I should report to the ministry so that the circumstances surrounding Clausen’s reappointment will be investigated by the police.
The advocate is now demanding that Research and Higher Education Minister Sandra Porch (SP) come clean.
He believes the revelations are serious and all confidence in the appeals board is at stake.
– Under Clausen’s leadership, the tribunal followed a more strict procedure in cases of fraud, especially in cases of self-theft. Virje says the board’s decision has had major consequences for students barred due to details.
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