Recognition of examinations – Recognition regulation pursuant to Section 78 para. 1 of the Universities Act does not in principle preclude individual recognition

Declaratory decision Recognition regulation Recognition of exams

Administrative Court, 20/12/2019, Ra 2019/10/0093

The Medical University of Vienna had issued what is known as a recognition regulation applicable to those students who have switched from an old to a new curriculum, according to which provision was made for a certain form of recognition in the new curriculum for certain subjects taken under the old curriculum. The applicant applied for "recognition of all outstanding course credits" for the new study programme on the basis of the course credits already earned under the old study programme and for a declaration stating that all course credits for the first to sixth semester of the diploma study programme in human medicine have been (newly) recognised or earned. The applicant specified this in greater detail in a tabular comparison.

Contrary to the Federal Administrative Court, the Administrative Court reached the conclusion that examinations not covered by a recognition regulation are indeed open to individual recognition. Consequently, the Medical University of Vienna or, subsequently, the Administrative Court ought to have verified to what extent equivalence within the meaning of the law exists with regard to examinations not covered by the regulation. The rejection of the application for recognition thus proved unlawful.

On the question of the admissibility of the declaratory judgment, the Administrative Court has confined itself to stating that there exists a legal claim to a declaratory judgment on the legal relationships in dispute. Of course, this is only if other possibilities to clarify the legal question are not available or unreasonable. Whether this was the case or not, the Administrative Court did not examine why the rejection of the request for a declaratory judgment was unlawful in substance.

Conclusion: Universities that issue recognition regulations can only save themselves the expense of individual recognition if they actually lay down rules for all examinations conclusively in the recognition regulation. There is still room for individual recognition for all those examinations not covered by the recognition regulation.