- Judgment date: 2020-03-03
- Communication date: 2016-05-03
- Application number(s): 30547/14;30549/14;30558/14;30570/14;30578/14
- Country: ROU
- Relevant ECHR article(s): 8, 8-1, P1-2
Violation of Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life (Article 8-1 - Respect for private life)
Non-pecuniary damage - award (Article 41 - Non-pecuniary damage
- Result: Violation SEE FINAL JUDGMENT
- Probability: 0.689841
- Prediction: Violation
Communication text used for prediction
Communicated on 3 May 2016 FOURTH SECTION Application no 30547/14Armando CONVERTITO against Romaniaand 4 other applications(see table appended) THE FACTS 1.
The applicants are Italian nationals.
They are represented before the Court by Mrs A. Mascia, a lawyer practising in Verona.
The circumstances of the cases 2.
The facts of the cases, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
The award of the applicants’ bachelor degrees 3.
On 17 October 2003 and on 7 October 2004 respectively, the applicants enrolled as students at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Oradea, specialising in Dentistry.
According to the applicants, in September 2003 and in 2004 respectively, they had passed a language proficiency test organized by the University of Oradea.
They state that following this test no certificate or any other proof was issued by the University.
Following a request from the University of Oradea, on 11 November 2008 and on 21 January 2009 respectively, the applicants underwent another language proficiency assessment with the Faculty of Letters of the University of Oradea, which issued language certificates.
As reflected in the copies of the certificates, their command of Romanian corresponds to level B2 (“independent user”) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe).
In September 2005 and November 2009 respectively, the Ministry of Education issued letters of acceptance attesting that the diplomas obtained by the applicants in Italy were equivalent to certificates of secondary education awarded in Romania and gave them access to Romanian higher education.
The letters issued in September 2005 also specified that the applicants could enrol with the University of Oradea in the field of Medicine beginning with the 2005/2006 academic year.
As it is shown by the documents submitted (copies of diplomas and their annexes), the applicants were enrolled in a full-time dentistry program and they have passed, during the six years of study (2003-2009 and 2004-2010 respectively) all examinations included in the program of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, they paid all of the tuition fees for their studies, and have obtained all the credits allowing them to be issued with bachelor degrees in “Dentistry”.
Between March and November 2010 they were awarded their bachelor degrees.
The annulment of the applicants’ bachelor degrees 8.
In 2009 an exchange of correspondence was carried out between the University of Oradea and the Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation (hereinafter “the Ministry”).
The exchange was on the subject of irregularities in the administrative records of several foreign students, including those of the applicants.
According to the University of Oradea, in the case of the first applicant, the Ministry had not provided the letter of acceptance attesting that the diploma obtained in Italy gave him access to Romanian higher education.
With regard to the other four applicants, the Ministry had allowed their registration beginning with the academic year 2005/2006, while they had actually been enrolled at the University of Oradea starting with the 2003/2004 academic year.
Furthermore, on 16 February 2009 the legal department of the Ministry informed the University of Oradea about the obligation to issue bachelor degrees to foreign students who have passed their graduation examination.
On 14 and 23 September 2011, the Chancellor (“Rector”) of the University of Oradea decided to annul the bachelor degrees obtained by the applicants.
The annulment decisions were based on Article 146 of Law No.
1/2011 concerning national education, on the decisions of the Senate of the University of Oradea, and on the inspections carried out by the Control Body (“corpul de control”) of the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports.
The Control Body had concluded that there were violations of the legal provisions governing the enrolment of foreign students.
The applicants challenged the annulment of their bachelor degrees.
They requested the annulment of the decisions of the Senate and of the Chancellor, the payment of EUR 5,000 per month for the inability to practice their profession, as well as pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Before Bihor County Court, they argued that they had provided all the documents requested by the administration of the University of Oradea at the time of their registration, that the letter of acceptance issued by the Ministry was requested from them by the University of Oradea two years after their enrolment and that they had provided that document as well.
They also argued that they complied with all the academic standards entitling them to bachelor degrees, they paid all their tuition fees and passed their graduation exam.
They further stated that the legality of all the documents on the basis of which they were awarded the bachelor diplomas was checked and attested by a certificate of the University of Oradea.
The applicants concluded that there were no circumstances indicating that their degrees were obtained by fraud and that the annulment was unwarranted.
On 25 April 2013, the Bihor County Court partially allowed the applicants’ action and ordered the annulment of the decisions adopted on 14 and 23 September 2011 by the University of Oradea.
The court rejected the applicants’ claim for compensation.
The court found that the applicants had complied with all of the administrative requirements of the University of Oradea at the time of their enrolment and that no fraudulent conduct could be held against them either at the moment of enrolment or when the diplomas were awarded.
Moreover, according to the court, the responsibility to check the compliance of enrolment records and the accuracy of the information contained therein lay with the University.
The court finally held that there was a lack of coherence in the decision adopted by the University of Oradea and that other inconsistencies identified in the applicants’ records during the court proceedings were not at the basis of the annulment decisions.
The University of Oradea, the Ministry, A.C., President of the Senate of the University of Oradea, S.C., Secretary of the Senate of the University of Oradea, and the applicants lodged appeals.
By final decision of 16 October 2013, the Oradea Court of Appeal dismissed the applicants’ appeals and allowed the appeals lodged by the University of Oradea, the Ministry, A.C., and S.C.
The court held that the applicants had used fraudulent means to obtain their bachelor degrees, as at the time of their enrolment they had not obtained the letters of acceptance and the language certificates.
The court noted that the applicants did not have the right to enrol since 2003 and 2004 respectively and that the enrolment decision was signed only by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and not by the Chancellor of the University of Oradea.
Relevant domestic law The relevant provision of the Law No.
1/2011 on national education reads as follows: Article 146 “The University Chancellor (“rectorul”) may cancel, after obtaining the approval of the University Senate (“senatul universitar”), a certificate or diploma if it is proved that the document in question had been obtained fraudulently or in breach of the academic Code of ethics and professional conduct.” COMPLAINTS The applicants complain under Article 8 of the Convention that the annulment of their bachelor degrees constitutes an unjustified interference with their right to private life.
They argue that the University of Oradea annulled their diplomas due to administrative errors which do not fall under the applicants’ responsibility.
They further state that the annulment took place in an unexpected manner after they had dedicated six years of their lives to study and graduate, thus affecting their professional life.