Schedule of Delegation and Decision-Making Powers

Updated on 8 December 2020

The decision-making framework outlined in this schedule ensures the efficient running of the day to day business of the University

On this page

In order to ensure the efficient running of the day to day business of the University, the University has a decision-making framework (“the Framework”) in place. The PDF download at the bottom of the page provides full details of this framework.


In November 2020, University Court, University Court approved a new Schedule of Delegations and Decision-Making Powers (the Schedule) which (among other things) reset how the University enters into and manages contracts.  

This guidance is aimed at introducing the new model under the Schedule and explaining some of the concepts within the Schedule and how it is intended to work in practice with respect to Contracts.

This guidance should be read alongside the Schedule and is not intended to replace or amend it.


It is acknowledged by the University Court that certain delegates under the Schedule will ostensibly sign contracts which create legal and quasi-legal obligations on behalf of the University which could have significant financial and reputational impact for the University.

It is important for the wellbeing and sustainability of the University that such commitments and the legal risks that they create are understood and managed appropriately.

Default position

The Director of Legal is responsible for the management of legal risk on behalf of the University.

Any delegation which creates legal obligations on behalf of the University (including but not limited to commercial contracts and other types of agreements) are therefore to be taken forward in accordance with the advice from the Director of Legal/approved legal risk escalation processes to ensure they are created on a valid legal basis.

Who can sign contracts on behalf of the university?

Section C of the Schedule sets out who has delegated authority to sign a particular contract as an Authorised Person subject to authorisation from the Delegate and recommendation/seconding by the Sub-Delegate.

What does delegate mean?

The designated authorised role-holder(s) and/or committee(s) within the University who are entrusted by the University Court to exercise its powers in respect of the relevant delegated business and is ultimately responsible for any action taken under the delegation.

What does sub-delegate/recommendation mean?

If the University Court has provided for it in the Schedule, the person that the Delegate must consult and obtain a recommendation from prior to exercising the delegated authority. 

In terms of Contracts, this will be the Director of Legal (usually through the Legal Team).

What does authorised person mean?

The person authorised to sign a contract on behalf of the University to bind the University to its obligations.

There is an and/or in the delegation/sub-delegation/authorised person – what does this mean?

Where there is an AND, all relevant persons identified must provide approval, or sign a contract.

Where there is an OR, you have a choice of those listed.

For audit purposes, all records should be kept in respect of approvals received.  

What will this mean for my project/contract?

All contracts entered into by the University should be reviewed through its approved processes and a recommendation obtained as per the Schedule. If in doubt, please consult the Legal team.

I work on multiple contracts, do I need a recommendation each time?

Not necessarily. It is accepted that certain areas of the University contract on standard terms/high volume basis such as clinical trials, research and procurement.

In order to satisfy the requirements of risk governance of Court, the Director of Legal will establish standing instructions with such business areas so that Legal receive transparency on the contract pipeline, how the contracts are being negotiated (thematically and not individually) and the risks involved and undertaken on behalf of the University.

Each individual area will have escalation processes where contracts step outside the template/accepted risk appetite.  

Can I instruct external lawyers?

Not directly. Please contact the Legal Team in the first instance with your legal query and we can assess the best way to manage it.

The University has obtained preferential rates with its chosen external lawyers and therefore wishes to leverage these.

Can I instruct patent agents directly?

Not directly. The Director of Legal will consult with the Director of Research & Innovation Services in relation to the appointment of patent agents. 

Under the Framework:

Given the scope and size of the undertaking of the University’s day to day business, University Court, the Principal and the University Secretary & COO cannot reasonably be expected to exercise the entire necessary functions required without the intervention of, and a degree of delegation to designated authorised persons and committees within the University.

Accordingly, as part of the Framework, the University Court has approved this Schedule of Delegation & Decision-Making Powers (Hereafter referred to as “(“the Schedule”).



Academic and Corporate Governance
Corporate information category Legal