Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge
Statute D

Chapter V


1. The High Steward shall be elected by the members of the Senate voting in person. The arrangements prescribed by Statute for the election of the Chancellor shall apply also to the election of the High Steward.

2. The Deputy High Steward shall be appointed by the High Steward by Letters Patent.

3. The Commissary shall be appointed by Letters Patent by the Chancellor or, if the office of Chancellor is vacant, by the High Steward. The Commissary shall have judicial or quasi-judicial experience or be legally qualified, and shall not hold any other office in the University or a College. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Commissary the Chancellor (or the High Steward if the office of Chancellor is vacant) shall appoint an Acting Commissary who shall have the full powers of the Commissary to act under the provisions of this Chapter until a newly appointed Commissary takes office.

4. Each of the officers specified in sections 1–3 shall hold office until he or she voluntarily resigns or until the Senate otherwise determines.

5. The High Steward and the Deputy High Steward shall perform such duties as have heretofore been customary and any duties prescribed by Statute or Ordinance. When the office of High Steward is vacant the duties of that office shall be performed by the Deputy High Steward.

6. The Commissary shall perform such duties as have heretofore been customary and any duties prescribed by Statute or Ordinance. In the discharge of his or her duties under this Chapter the Commissary shall not be under the direction of the Council or of any other authority in the University.

7. The Commissary shall have full power to determine all questions referred to his or her decision by a member of the University under the provisions of this Chapter. The Commissary shall have the power to review, amend, or quash the decision of any University authority on the ground that the decision, or some aspect of the decision, was unreasonable by virtue of being ultra vires, procedurally unsatisfactory, or incorrect in fact, or on similar grounds, and to make such order (including an order to amend, quash, or refer back the decision) as seems to him or her to be justified. The Commissary's powers under the provisions of this Chapter shall not extend to:

  1. (a)any matter still subject to further review by or appeal to any University authority;
  2. (b)the merits or substance of a decision made by:
  3. (i)a University Court established by or under Statute B or U;
  4. (ii)a Board of Examiners, a Degree Committee, the Board of Graduate Studies, a Review Committee or similar authority, in relation to the result of a University examination;
  5. (c)any decision by a University authority concerning the appointment of an individual or individuals to employment in the University, or concerning promotion in such employment;
  6. (d)any matter under the responsibility of the Press Syndicate or the Local Examinations Syndicate.

8. In any particular case or cases the Commissary may appoint a person to act as his or her deputy, and may delegate to such a deputy his or her powers under the provisions of this Chapter in respect of the case or cases concerned.

9. The Commissary or a deputy so appointed shall have the power to strike out a case which in his or her opinion is vexatious, frivolous, or out of time.

10. In relation to any case (not being a case struck out as vexatious, frivolous, or out of time) the Commissary shall direct that the matter shall be dealt with by oral or written representations, or both. Such representations shall be made:

  1. (a)on behalf of the University by a person or persons appointed by the Council; and
  2. (b)by any other party or parties to the proceedings either in person or through a representative.

11. The Commissary shall make general rules of procedure which shall bind the parties in any particular case.1 The rules of procedure shall make provision for a time limit or time limits within which a matter shall be raised with the Commissary. In any particular case the decision of the Commissary (or a duly appointed deputy) on any procedural matters shall be final, and the provisions of Statute K, 5 shall not apply to it.

12. The Council shall consult the Commissary before proposing any Ordinance concerning matters regulated by sections 6–14 of this Chapter. The Commissary shall have the right to publish a statement for the guidance of the University about any such proposed Ordinance.

13. Nothing in this Chapter shall enable or require the Commissary to hear any appeal or determine any dispute regulated under the provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988 relating to a member of the academic staff of the University as defined by Statute U, which, being a matter regulated under the said Act, concerns the member's appointment or employment, or the termination of that appointment or employment. The Commissary shall have no power to disallow or annul any Ordinance made under or having effect for the purposes of Statute U in relation to matters regulated under the said Act.

14. The University shall defray the cost of any legal advice obtained by the Commissary for the performance of his or her duties under this Chapter.

15. The University shall determine by Grace the date on which the provisions of sections 6–14 of this Chapter shall come into force.2


  1. 1. See p. 102.a
  2. 2. The date that these provisions came into force was 1 January 2003 (Grace 1 of 23 October 2002).a