Statute VII, Part III: Discipline, dismissal and removal from office
13. Disciplinary Procedures
This procedure was replaced by Statute VII and its related Ordinances which were agreed by the University’s governing body, the Council, in May 2017 and ratified by the Privy Council in April 2018. The amended Statute and related Ordinances were implemented with effect from 1 January 2019 with a revised redundancy procedure approved in July 2020 effective from 1 August 2020.
(1) Minor faults shall be dealt with informally.
(2) Where the matter is more serious but falls short of constituting possible good cause for dismissal the following procedure shall be used:
Stage 1 – Oral Warning
If conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards the member of the academic staff will normally be given a formal ORAL WARNING. The member will be advised of the reason for the warning, that it is the first stage of the disciplinary procedure and of the right of appeal under this paragraph. A brief note of the oral warning will be kept but it will be spent after twelve months, subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.
Stage 2 – Written Warning
If the offence is a serious one, or if a further offence occurs, a WRITTEN WARNING will be given to the member of the academic staff by the Dean of Faculty (or his or her nominee) or, in the case of service units, the equivalent officer (or his or her nominee). This will give details of the complaint, the improvement required and the time-scale. It will warn that a complaint may be made to the Secretary to the University seeking the institution of charges to be heard by a Tribunal appointed under paragraph 16 if there is no satisfactory improvement and will advise of the right of appeal under this paragraph. A copy of this written warning will be kept by the Dean of Faculty (or his or her nominee) or, in the case of service units, the equivalent officer (or his or her nominee) but it will be disregarded for disciplinary purposes after two years subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.
Stage 3 – Appeals
A member of the academic staff who wishes to appeal against a disciplinary warning shall inform the Secretary to the University within two weeks. The appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall hear all such appeals and his or her decision shall be final.
14. Preliminary examination of serious disciplinary matters
(1) If there has been no satisfactory improvement following a written warning given under Stage 2 of the procedure in paragraph 13, or in any other case where it is alleged that conduct or performance may constitute good cause for dismissal or removal from office, a complaint seeking the institution of charges to be heard by a Tribunal appointed under paragraph 16 may be made to the Secretary to the University who shall bring it to the attention of the Vice-Chancellor.
(2) To enable the Vice-Chancellor to deal fairly with any complaint brought to his or her attention under sub-paragraph (1) he or she shall institute such investigations or enquiries (if any) as appear to him or her to be necessary.
(3) If it appears to the Vice-Chancellor that a complaint brought to his or her attention under sub-paragraph (1) relates to conduct or performance which does not meet acceptable standards but for which no written warning has been given under paragraph 13 or which relates to a particular alleged infringement of rules, regulations or byelaws for which a standard penalty is normally imposed in the University or within the school or other relevant area, or is trivial or invalid he or she may dismiss it summarily, or decide not to proceed further under this Part.
(4) If the Vice-Chancellor does not dispose of a complaint under sub-paragraph (3) he or she shall treat the complaint as disclosing a sufficient reason for proceeding further under this Part and, if he or she sees fit, he or she may suspend the member on full pay pending a final decision.
(5) Where the Vice-Chancellor proceeds further under this Part he or she shall write to the member of the academic staff concerned inviting comment in writing.
(6) As soon as may be following receipt of the comments (if any) the Vice-Chancellor shall consider the matter in the light of all the material then available and may:
(a) dismiss it himself or herself; or
(b) refer it for consideration under paragraph 13; or
(c) deal with it informally himself or herself if it appears to the Vice-Chancellor appropriate to do so and if the member of the academic staff agrees in writing that the matter should be dealt with in that way; or
(d) direct the Secretary to the University to prefer a charge or charges to be considered by a Tribunal to be appointed under paragraph 16.
(7) If no comment is received within twenty-eight days the Vice-Chancellor may proceed as aforesaid as if the member concerned had denied the substance and validity of the alleged case in its entirety.
15. Institution of Charges
(1) In any case where the Vice-Chancellor has directed that a charge or charges be preferred under paragraph 14(6) (d), he or she shall request the Council to appoint a Tribunal under paragraph 16 to hear the charge or charges and to determine whether the conduct or performance of the member of the academic staff concerned constitutes good cause for dismissal or otherwise constitutes a serious complaint relating to the member’s appointment or employment.
(2) Where the Council has been requested to appoint a Tribunal under paragraph 16 the Secretary to the University or, if he or she is unable to act, another officer appointed by the Vice-Chancellor shall take charge of the proceedings.
(3) The officer in charge of the proceedings shall formulate, or arrange for the formulation of, the charge or charges and shall present, or arrange for the presentation of, the charge or charges before the Tribunal.
(4) It shall be the duty of the officer in charge of the proceedings:
(a) to forward the charge or charges to the Tribunal and to the member of the academic staff concerned together with the other documents therein specified, and
(b) to make any necessary administrative arrangements for the summoning of witnesses, the production of documents and generally for the proper presentation of the case before the Tribunal.
16. The Tribunal
A Tribunal appointed by the Council shall comprise:
(a) a Chair; and
(b) one member of the Council, not being a person employed by the University; and
(c) one member of the academic staff nominated by the Senate.
17. Provisions concerning Tribunal procedure
(1) The procedure to be followed in respect of the preparation, hearing and determination of charges by a Tribunal shall be that set out in Ordinances made under this paragraph.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such Ordinances shall ensure:
(a) that the member of the academic staff concerned is entitled to be represented by another person, whether such person be legally qualified or not, in connection with and at any hearing of charges by a Tribunal;
(b) that a charge shall not be determined without an oral hearing at which the member of the academic staff concerned and any person appointed by him or her to represent him or her are entitled to be present;
(c) that the member of the academic staff and any person representing the staff member may call witnesses and may question witnesses upon the evidence on which the case against him or her is based; and
(d) that full and sufficient provision is made for:
(i) postponements, adjournments, dismissal of the charge or charges for want of prosecution, remission of the charge or charges to the Vice-Chancellor for further consideration and for the correction of accidental errors; and
(ii) for appropriate time limits for each stage (including the hearing) to the intent that any charge thereunder shall be heard and determined by a Tribunal as expeditiously as reasonably practicable.
18. Notification of Tribunal decisions
(1) A Tribunal shall send its decision on any charge referred to it (together with its findings of fact and the reasons for its decision regarding that charge and its recommendations, if any, as to the appropriate penalty) to the Vice-Chancellor and to each party to the proceedings.
(2) A Tribunal shall draw attention to the period of time within which any appeal should be made by ensuring that a copy of Part V (Appeals) accompanies each copy of its decision sent to a party to the proceedings under this paragraph.
19. Powers of the appropriate officer where charges are upheld by Tribunal
(1) Where the charge or charges are upheld and the Tribunal finds good cause and recommends dismissal or removal from office, but in no other case, the appropriate officer shall decide whether or not to dismiss the member of the academic staff concerned.
(2) In any case where the charge or charges are upheld, other than where the appropriate officer has decided under sub-paragraph (1) to dismiss the member of the academic staff concerned, the action available to the appropriate officer (not comprising a greater penalty than that recommended by the Tribunal) may be:
(a) to discuss the issues raised with the member concerned; or
(b) to advise the member concerned about his or her future conduct; or
(c) to warn the member concerned; or
(d) to suspend the member concerned for such period as the appropriate officer shall think fair and reasonable, not to exceed three months after the Tribunal’s decision;
(e) any combination of any of the above or such further or other action under the member’s contract of employment or terms of appointment as appears fair and reasonable in all circumstances of the case.
20. Appropriate officers
(1) The Vice-Chancellor shall be the appropriate officer to exercise the powers conferred by paragraph 19 and any reference to the appropriate officer includes a reference to a delegate of that officer.
(2) Any action taken by the appropriate officer shall be confirmed in writing.
(1) This Part makes separate provision for the assessment of incapacity on medical grounds as a good cause for dismissal or removal from office.
(2) In this Part references to medical grounds are references to capability assessed by reference to health or any other physical or mental quality.
(3) In this Part references to the appropriate officer are references to the Vice-Chancellor or an officer acting as his or her delegate to perform the relevant act.
(4) References to the member of the academic staff include, in cases where the nature of the alleged disability so requires, a responsible relative or friend in addition to (or instead of) that member.
21. Procedure for removal
(1) Where it appears that the removal of a member of the academic staff on medical grounds would be justified, the appropriate officer:
(a) shall inform the member accordingly; and
(b) shall notify the member in writing that it is proposed to make an application to the member’s doctor for a medical report and shall seek the member’s consent in writing in accordance with the requirements of the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988.
(2) If the member shares that view the University shall meet the reasonable costs of any medical opinion required.
(3) If the member does not share that view the appropriate officer shall refer the case in confidence, with any supporting medical and other evidence (including any medical evidence submitted by the member), to a Board comprising one person nominated by the Council; one person nominated by the member concerned or, in default of the latter nomination, by the Senate; and a medically qualified chair jointly agreed by the Council and the member or, in default of agreement, to be nominated by the President of the Royal College of Physicians.
(4) The Board may require the member concerned to undergo medical examination at the University’s expense.
22. Termination of employment
If the Board determines that the member shall be required to retire on medical grounds, the appropriate officer shall direct the Secretary to the University or his or her delegate to terminate the employment of the member concerned on those medical grounds.
23. Purpose of Part V
This Part of this Statute establishes procedures for hearing and determining appeals by members of the academic staff who are dismissed or under notice of dismissal or who are otherwise disciplined.
24. Application and interpretation of Part V
(1) This Part of this Statute applies:
(a) to appeals against the decisions of the Council as the appropriate body (or of a delegate of that body) to dismiss in the exercise of its powers under Part II;
(d) to appeals against discipline otherwise than in pursuance of Part III; and
(e) to appeals against decisions reached under Part IV and ‘appeal’ and ‘appellant’ shall be construed accordingly.
(2) No appeal shall however lie against:
(a) a decision of the appropriate body under paragraph 10(2);
(b) the findings of fact of a Tribunal under paragraph 18(1) save where, with the consent of the person or persons hearing the appeal, fresh evidence is called on behalf of the appellant at that hearing;
(c) any finding by a Board set up under paragraph 21(3).
(3) In this Part references to ‘the person appointed’ are references to the person appointed by the Council under paragraph 27 to hear and determine the relevant appeal.
(4) The parties to an appeal shall be the appellant and the Secretary to the University and any other person added as a party at the direction of the person appointed.
25. Institution of appeals
A member of the academic staff shall institute an appeal by serving on the Secretary to the University, within the time allowed under paragraph 26, notice in writing setting out the grounds of the appeal.
26. Time for appealing and notices of appeal
(1) A notice of appeal shall be served within twenty-eight days of the date on which the document recording the decision appealed from was sent to the appellant or such longer period, if any, as the person appointed may determine under sub-paragraph (3).
(2) The Secretary to the University shall bring any notice of appeal received (and the date when it was served) to the attention of the Council and shall inform the appellant that he or she has done so.
(3) Where the notice of appeal was served on the Secretary to the University outside the twenty-eight-day period the person appointed under paragraph 27 shall not permit the appeal to proceed unless he or she considers that justice and fairness so require in the circumstances of the case.
27. Persons appointed to hear and determine appeals
(1) Where an appeal is instituted under this Part the Council shall appoint a person described in sub-paragraph (2) to hear and determine that appeal.
(2) The persons described in this sub-paragraph are persons not employed by the University holding, or having held, judicial office or being barristers or solicitors of at least ten years’ standing.
(3) The person appointed shall sit alone unless he or she considers that justice and fairness will best be served by sitting with two other persons.
(4) The other persons who may sit with the person appointed shall be:
(a) one member of the Council not being a person employed by the University; and
(b) one member of the academic staff nominated by the Senate.
28. Provisions concerning appeal procedures and powers
(1) The procedure to be followed in respect of the preparation, consolidation, hearing and determination of appeals shall be that set out in Ordinances made under this paragraph.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such Ordinances shall ensure:
(a) that an appellant is entitled to be represented by another person, whether such person be legally qualified or not, in connection with and at any hearing of his or her appeal;
(b) that an appeal shall not be determined without an oral hearing at which the appellant, and any person appointed by him or her to represent him or her are entitled to be present and, with the consent of the person or persons hearing the appeal, to call witnesses;
(c) that full and sufficient provision is made for postponements, adjournments, dismissal of the appeal for want of prosecution and for the correction of accidental errors; and
(d) that the person appointed may set appropriate time limits for each stage (including the hearing itself) to the intent that any appeal shall be heard and determined as expeditiously as reasonably practicable.
(3) The person or persons hearing the appeal may allow or dismiss an appeal in whole or in part and, without prejudice to the foregoing, may:
(a) remit an appeal from a decision under Part II to the Council as the appropriate body (or any issue arising in the course of such an appeal) for further consideration as the person or persons hearing the appeal may direct; or
(b) remit an appeal arising under Part III for rehearing by a differently constituted Tribunal to be appointed under that Part; or
(c) remit an appeal from a decision of the appropriate officer under Part IV for further consideration as the person or persons hearing the appeal may direct; or
(d) substitute any lesser alternative penalty that would have been open to the appropriate officer following the finding by the Tribunal which heard and pronounced upon the original charge or charges.
29. Notification of decisions
The person appointed shall send the reasoned decision, including any decision reached in exercise of his or her powers under paragraph 28(3) (a), (b) or (c), on any appeal together with any findings of fact different from those come to by the Council as the appropriate body under Part II or by the Tribunal under Part III, as the case may be, to the Vice-Chancellor and to the parties to the appeal.Back to the top