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What is a Grace?

Major decisions of the University that are not made under delegated authority granted by Statute or Ordinance or prior decision of the Regent House are made by Grace of the Regent House. 

A Grace is a formal proposal which is placed before the Regent House (or the Senate), sanctioned by the Council and published in the Reporter. The Council has the power to initiate Graces and to submit them before the Regent House or the Senate; other Boards or Syndicates may initiate a Grace for submission to the Regent House, and then request the Council to submit it. Graces can seek approval for the recommendations of a Report, or for minor changes to Ordinance accompanied by an explanatory Notice or footnote.

What happens next?

All Graces are published in the Reporter for the information of the University. Under the formal procedure in Ordinance, members of the Regent House may give notice of a proposal for the amendment of a Grace, or request that a vote be taken on it. Such requests must be submitted in writing to the Vice-Chancellor, signed by at least twenty-five members of the Regent House, and returned before 4 pm on the second Friday after publication of the original Grace. If no such notice is given, and unless the Council has declared otherwise, the Grace is considered approved at 4 pm on the second Friday after publication (i.e. nine days after publication in the Reporter). A Notice confirming the approval of Graces is published in the Reporter under 'Acta'.


A vote on a Grace is taken by ballot. The options to be voted on will usually include: (a) approval of the original Grace; (b) approval of the alternative proposal formulated in accordance with the amendments received; (c) rejection of the original proposal. Council may also put forward an alternative proposal. 

Graces initiated by Regent House members

Any fifty members of the Regent House may initiate a Grace for submission to the Regent House by sending the Grace, with accompanying signatures, to the Vice-Chancellor.

Further information on Graces can be found in Statutes and Ordinances (Special Ordinances A (i) and Chapter I) and in the FAQs about Graces​.

Graces submitted at a Congregation

Although most Graces are now submitted by publication in the Reporter, they may also be submitted to the Regent House at a Congregation. The main University business now transacted at a Congregation is the conferment of degrees and therefore Graces submitted at a Congregation are usually for that purpose (and are published in advance in the Reporter). Graces can be submitted at a Congregation on any matters on which in the opinion of the Council or the Vice-Chancellor a decision must be taken urgently – but this occurs very rarely. 

Graces submitted to the Senate

Graces can also be put before the Senate. These Graces usually only relate to the election of the High Steward and the Chancellor, as the Senate’s powers are now limited to these areas. For more information, see the Senate page.