Academic Services

Conduct of Senate Business

The operation of Senate and format of meetings.

The operation of the Senate is largely determined by the framework set out in the Senatus Standing Orders.


The Senate Handbook is provided as a guidance document for members:

Senate Meetings

Senate meets three times per year, usually in October, February and May/June.

The agenda and open papers are published on the Senate web pages one week in advance of the meeting and Senate members are notified by email when papers are available.

Closed papers (confidential papers to which Freedom of Information exemptions apply) are circulated separately to committee members. It is good practice to minimise closed business, in order to ensure as much transparency as possible regarding the operation of Senate.

Reserved business is business which, for reasons of confidentiality, is not discussed by the whole committee. Reserved business papers are emailed separately to those members of the committee who are required to receive them. When these papers are discussed at the committee meeting, those who are not required to be part of the discussion are asked to leave the meeting. Reserved business is very rarely used by Senate.


Each meeting of the Senate is preceded by an electronic Senate through which the majority of the routine formal business is conducted. Business conducted via e-Senate is undertaken on the basis that a nil response equals assent. E-Senate business usually includes items which are for information or formal noting; a routine request for observations from the University Court, a request for observations or comment on a paper that has previously been scrutinised or approved by a Senate Standing Committee based on delegated authority; or a request for approval of a nomination for the award of Professor Emeritus/Emerita status. 

Items of E-business are posted on the Senate webpage for fourteen days, during which time members are invited to submit any comments, observations or reservations by email to Any comments made are posted online (accessible only to University account holders). 

Following the close of electronic business the Principal will consider any comments received and will decide, consulting as appropriate, whether the business may be concluded or should be referred to the Senate meeting.

E-Senate allows most of the formal Senate business to be dealt with electronically, thereby freeing up time at meetings for the discussion of high level academic issues. Any formal business not resolved via the E-Senate is referred to the next Senate meeting. The outcome of electronic business is reported at the next Senate meeting.

Senate Exception Committee

Senate Exception Committee has delegated authority to make urgent business decisions which would otherwise require Senate approval between the meetings of Senate, on the understanding that any matter so referred can be referred by the Exception Committee to the full Senate should this be the wish of the Exception Committee. Decisions of the Senate Exception Committee are reported to the next meeting of Senate.


Senate paper format and deadlines 

All papers submitted to Senate must use the template below and should be submitted to in a single document in Microsoft Word format.


Meetings Deadline for papers
E-Senate Wednesday 13 September - Wednesday 27 September 2023 Wednesday 30 August 2023
Senate Wednesday 11 October 2023 Wednesday 27 September 2023
E-Senate Wednesday 10 January - Wednesday 24 January 2024 Wednesday 20 December 2023

Senate Wednesday 7 February 2024

Wednesday 24 January 2024
E-Senate Wednesday 24 April - Wednesday 8 May 2024 Wednesday 10 April 2024

Senate Wednesday 22 May 2024                                             

Paper deadline   Monday 29 April 2024
Papers to be circulated   Wednesday 8 May 2024
Senate billet finalised in line with Standing Order 7 Wednesday 15 May 2024
Deadline for amendments Wednesday 15 May 2024

Amendments circulated to Senate                                                             

by Monday 20 May 2024
Senate meeting   Wednesday, 24 May 2024


Agenda setting

Senate agendas for routine business are compiled by the Senate Support team and approved by the Principal as Convener of Senate.

Members of Senate can bring forward motions to be added to the Agenda (referred to as the Billet in the Senatus Standing Orders). These should be communicated by email to and must be supported (or ‘seconded’) by another member of Senate. All motions from members must be received in time to be included on the Agenda: in practice this is 14 days before the Senate meeting. See Standing Orders 7 and 10 for further details.

Agenda items may also be received from Senate Standing Committees, University Court, and other University committees.

Conferral of Emeritus status