Eligibility, role description, and person specification for Deputy Chairperson of Court

Updated on 27 January 2023

An overview of the role of Deputy Chairperson of University Court.

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A. Role description

The role of Deputy Chairperson has three specific functions set out in Ordinance 63. These are:

  1. To chair meetings of the Court in the absence of the Chairperson or where the business under discussion makes it inappropriate for the Chairperson to preside;
  2. To act as intermediary for members of Court who might wish to raise concerns about the conduct of the Court or its Chairperson. [This corresponds to UK Corporate Governance Code1 provision A.4.1 ‘a senior independent director […] to provide a sounding board for the chairman and to serve as intermediary for the other directors where necessary’]; and
  3. To chair annually at Court a discussion of the performance of the Chairperson in his/her absence.
  4. To assume the role of Interim Chairperson in the event of a vacancy arising in the role of the Chairperson of Court, until such time as a new Chairperson is identified.

In addition, and with the agreement of Court, the Deputy Chairperson of Court may from time to time be asked by the Chairperson to deputise at internal or external meetings and events as may be appropriate or desirable. The Deputy Chair also often plays a key role in the appointment process for the Chair of Court.

B. Person specification

To be effective in the role of Deputy Chairperson of Court, a candidate should ideally possess the following qualities and skills:

  1. Experience of chairing board level committees;
  2. Active listening approach and good communication skills;
  3. Good understanding of issues of equality, diversity and inclusion;
  4. Visibly engaged with the business of the Court;
  5. Experience or an understanding of the principles of performance management;
  6. Approachability and natural empathy with others;
  7. Commitment to good governance principles;
  8. Diplomacy and tact.

C. Eligibility

To be appointed as Deputy Chairperson, a candidate must be a member of Court, but may not be a member of staff or student of the University.

D. Appointment

The appointment is for four years in the first instance with the possibility of reappointment for a further term. An appointment as Deputy Chairperson does not extend the maximum period of office on Court of eight years. Where a member has less than four years remaining as a member of Court, an appointment would be for the remainder of their term on Court only.


UK Corporate Governance Code, April 2016, published by the Financial Reporting Council. https://frc.org.uk/getattachment/ca7e94c4‐b9a9‐49e2‐a824‐ad76a322873c/UK‐Corporate‐Governance‐Code‐ April‐2016.pdf (Accessed 2/11/2017).

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