These Standing Orders set out how the University Court conducts its business and discharges its obligations under the University’s Charter, Statutes and Ordinances.

1. Definitions

(i) ‘Court’ means the Court of the University which is the formal body representing the interests of the University’s constituencies and which can make representations to the Council on any matter affecting the University.

(ii) ‘Council' means the Council of the University, which, subject to the Statutes, is the governing body of the University and is responsible for the management and administration of the revenue and property of the University and has, subject to the powers of the Senate, general control over the conduct of the affairs of the University with power to manage all matters not provided otherwise by the Charter or Statutes.

(iii) 'Senate' means the Senate of the University, which is the supreme academic authority of the University and is responsible for the academic work of the University both in teaching and research and for the regulation and superintendence of the education and discipline of the Students of the University.

(iv) ‘Chancellor’ means the Chancellor of the University, the Chief Officer of the University.

(v) ‘Pro-Chancellors’ means up to three Pro-Chancellors of the University who in the absence of the Chancellor or during a vacancy in the office of Chancellor shall exercise all the functions of the Chancellor except the conferring of Degrees.

(vi) ‘Vice-Chancellor’ means the Vice-Chancellor of the University, the principal and the chief academic and administrative officer of the University and ex-officio Chair of the Senate.

(vii) ‘Secretary to Court’ means the Head of Strategic Governance, or, in their absence, a nominated member of staff from the Office of Strategic Governance.

2. Meetings of Court

(i) The Court shall meet at least once in every academic year within fifteen months of the preceding meeting at such day and hour as may be determined by the Council.

(ii) Court will normally meet in person but, where circumstances render this impossible, meetings can be held remotely, via digital means.

(iii) Notice of the annual meeting of Court shall be given by the Secretary to Court to all members of the Court at least twenty-eight days before the date of the meeting.

(iv) Attendance at meetings of the Court by persons other than members of Court is by invitation only.

(v) The Chair of the meeting has the power to adjourn a meeting of Court either to an alternative date, subject to the provision of 5(iii) below, or temporarily.

(vi) A special meeting of Court shall be convened at any time by written request of not less than twenty-five members of Court to conduct business, proper to the functions of Court, specified in the request.

3. Challenge to the quorum

(i) The quorum may be challenged twice in any meeting; thereafter any challenge to the quorum shall be out of order. The meeting is quorate when twenty five members of Court are present. If a member of Court has disclosed an interest in an item and the Chair has determined that they should not vote on that item, this member will not count towards the quorum for that item.

(ii) In the event of a successful challenge to the quorum, the options available to the Chair are to:

a) adjourn the meeting to an alternative date;

b) close the meeting and defer all the business to be transacted to the next ordinary meeting of Court;

c) proceed with the meeting but clearly show in the minutes that the meeting was not quorate. Any business requiring a decision will have to be referred to the next available meeting of Court.

(iii) Any business accomplished and decisions taken before the quorum is challenged will be valid.

4. Postponement of meetings

(i) If in advance of the meeting it becomes clear that a meeting of Court cannot proceed (due for instance to adverse weather conditions) the Chair of the meeting has the power to postpone a meeting of Court to an alternative date.

(ii) Any meeting of the Court shall be postponed if thirty minutes after the time set for the commencement of the meeting insufficient members are present to constitute a quorum as defined in Section 3 above.

5. Procedure

(i) Court shall be chaired by the Chancellor, or in his / her absence, by a Pro-Chancellor.

(ii) In the absence of the Chancellor and any Pro-Chancellor the Chair of Council will oversee an election of the Chair of the meeting. All members of Court, with the exception of the Chair of Council, are eligible for election after their nomination has been proposed and seconded by other members of Court present. In the absence of the Chair of Council, the election will be overseen by the Vice-Chair of Council, to whom the same restriction on eligibility to election as Chair of Court would then apply.

(iii) The Chair has discretionary ruling on procedure, but this may be reversed if two-thirds of the members present and voting so decide.

(iv) The Secretary to Court shall provide advice as required at a meeting.

6. Agenda

(i) The Secretary to Court shall compile the agenda in consultation with the expected Chair of the meeting and the Vice-Chancellor.

(ii) The agenda shall normally include approval of the minutes of the previous meeting and consideration of any Matters Arising from those minutes.

(iii) The agenda shall be circulated with all the available supporting papers at least fourteen days before a meeting.

7. Business

(i) The annual meeting of Court will receive the annual audited Statement of Accounts of the University (as approved by Council) and from the Vice-Chancellor an Annual Report on the working of the University. Court may discuss and comment on these documents, and may also make representation to Council in respect of either if desired.

(ii) The Chair may determine any changes to the order of items for consideration on the agenda to ensure the smooth running of the meeting. Consideration of items on the agenda may be deferred. No prior notice will be needed for matters brought up under 'Any other business' but the Chair may use discretion in ruling that any of these items are out of order, or that they shall be put on the agenda for the next meeting, subject to 5(iii) above.

8. Voting

(i) Voting will normally be by a show of hands, voting cards or electronic voting device, but a written ballot shall be held if one-third of those present so request or if the Chair so determines.

(ii) A motion shall be declared carried if it receives a simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chair shall have the right of a casting vote. The Secretary to Court shall act as teller with the support of another member of staff from the Office of Strategic Governance.

(iii) The number of votes cast for and against a motion, and any abstentions, will be recorded in the minutes.

(iv) Only members of Court have the right to vote. Officers in attendance and observers do not have the right to vote. Each individual member of Court shall only have one vote even if they appear in more than one category of Court membership. The Chair shall not ordinarily have a vote, but will have a casting vote in the event of a tie.

(v) In exceptional cases, if an urgent decision of Court is required between meetings, a decision can be taken by correspondence or electronically providing that all Court members have been consulted, and a minimum of 25 have responded. The Secretary to Court is responsible for the conduct of any decisions taken by correspondence, including keeping accurate records and reporting the decision to a subsequent meeting of Court.

9. Disclosure of interest

(i) Members of the Court should act, and be perceived to act, impartially and in good faith, and not be influenced in their role by personal, social or business relationships.

(ii) Any member who believes that he or she may have a direct or indirect personal or financial interest in any matter under discussion at a meeting of Court where this is not self-evident (e.g. a matter that relates to all staff of the University) shall state that interest at the earliest opportunity, normally to the Chair or Secretary to Court prior to the meeting or, if necessary, at the appropriate point during the meeting. Such declarations shall be recorded in the minutes.

(iii) Where Court is taking a decision to appoint a member to a role (e.g. as Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor) they shall withdraw for that item. In other instances, given the nature of Court as a representative body, members declaring an interest may stay and contribute to the discussion but not vote unless the Chair indicates otherwise. A member shall not be precluded from participating in discussion of or voting on any item of business solely because he/she is an employee or student of the University.

10. Motions1

(i) Motions for consideration by Court, duly proposed and seconded by at least one other member, must be submitted in writing to the Secretary to Court at least ten days in advance of the meeting. Acceptance of any motions received after this time will be at the discretion of the Chair. Motions must relate to a matter concerning the University. Any motions received will be circulated to all members of Court seven days in advance of the meeting at which it will be considered.

(ii) Any amendments to a motion, duly proposed and seconded, must be submitted in writing to the Secretary to Court at least 24 hours prior to the meeting at which the motion is to be considered. Acceptance of any amendments received after this time will be at the discretion of the Chair. Any amendments received will be circulated to members at the meeting of Court at which it will be considered.

(iii) During Court business as set out in the Agenda, both motions and amendments may be proposed without prior notice and, provided that they are "in order", they must be considered.

(iv) A challenge on a point of order takes precedence over all other discussion.

(v) Amendments shall be considered prior to a vote on the substantive motion.

(vi) Whenever an amendment is moved upon an original proposition, no second amendment shall be taken into consideration until the first amendment shall have been disposed of.

(vii) Motions or amendments may be withdrawn by the proposer with the approval of the seconder and with the consent of Court.

(viii) A member may, though there is a motion and an amendment before Court, move

(a) 'that the Court do now proceed to the next business'

(b) 'that the question be now put'

11. Minutes

(i) Minutes of meetings will be recorded by the Secretary to Court and approved by the Chair before circulation. The minutes of a previous meeting must be approved by the Court. The Secretary to Court must be advised in writing, not less than twenty-four hours before the meeting, of any proposed amendment to the unconfirmed minutes of Court.

(ii) The draft minutes of Court are published on the website of the University after they have been confirmed by the Chair.

12. Amendments of standing orders

Amendments to the Standing Orders may be made by a simple majority of Court, but shall not take effect until after the meeting of Court.

13. Resignation

Any member of the Court may resign by writing to the Secretary to Court. For ex-officio members, this only applies to the current holder of the position which grants ex-officio membership of Court, and any subsequent office holder will be reinstated as a member of Court at the earliest opportunity. In respect of the resignation of a representative member, their appointing body will be invited to appoint a replacement member.

14. Communications

For the purposes of these Standing Orders, any notice or written communication from or to the Secretary may be given by email. Communications to members of Court shall normally be by email from the Court email address and will be made following procedures that work independently of those in place for Council or any other governance body. Members of Court shall be able to opt-in to sharing their contact details with all other Members of Court. A request for a motion shall be considered to be validly seconded when accompanied by email confirmation from the requisite number of Court members. The Secretary to Court shall be available to any member of Court to advise on how to frame a motion or amendment.

Approved by Court
28th January 2021

1 includes representations to Council