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[Note. An asterisk denotes a reference to a previously published or recurrent entry.]

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Proposed revision of the University's Statutes and Decrees

Council wishes to advise members of Congregation that it will circulate to them for consultation over the Long Vacation proposed new statutes, and certain of the associated `regulations', prepared by its Working Party on Statutes and Decrees.

Recommendations 5 and 16 (b) in the Report of the Commission of Inquiry (1997) (the `North Report') were that the Council of the University should `institute a thorough review of existing legislation with a view to reducing the volume of material embodied in statute' and a similar `review of the University's decrees and regulations with a view to reducing the volume of material embodied in such legislation.' The former Hebdomadal Council accordingly set up a working party to carry out this review. The Chairman of the Working Party is the Principal of St Hugh's, and the other members are the Master of St Cross and Professor M.R. Freedland. The secretary is Mr D.M.M. Hall, and two other officers, Mrs F.M. Barnwell and Miss J.M. Noon, also attend the Working Party's meetings.

The Working Party is now well advanced with the review and has submitted its first major report to (the new) Council. It has recommended that Titles I--XVII of the present statutes should be changed into Statutes I--XVII containing only the basic laws of the University which are unlikely to require frequent change. These should comprise the essential constitutional material embodied in the present statutes, together with certain additional material which is not included in existing legislation but which would be included in the charter of a more recent foundation and for which, in the Working Party's opinion endorsed by Council, there ought to be provision in modern statutes.

The Working Party is now completing its preparation of the seventeen draft new statutes, and Council has approved the overall approach taken in the drafting of the eleven of those statutes which it has so far seen. The Working Party has attempted to do away with what it regards as the unnecessary legalese and technical verbiage of the existing legislation, while retaining language which is legally effective. It trusts that this rewording, together with the elimination of details transferred to subsidiary legislation or elsewhere, will make the new statutes much more readable and accessible.

The Working Party is also preparing preliminary drafts of the secondary legislation, all of which it proposes to categorise as `regulations' (although Council wishes to give further consideration to that proposal), which will support the primary legislation in the new statutes. These proposed new regulations are drawn from the remaining parts of the present Titles I-- XVII and from the decrees, but have not so far been given the same detailed drafting attention as the proposed new statutes.

In order to bring the new statutes and regulations into effect on 1 October 2002, it will be necessary for the relevant parts of the new statutes to have been approved by Congregation for submission to The Queen in Council by the end of the present calendar year. The proposed timetable is therefore that the revision of existing legislation should be completed as soon as possible; there should be a consultation exercise on all the proposed new statutes during the Long Vacation; the final drafts of those statutes, prepared in the light of the comments received in the consultation exercise, should be submitted to Congregation in Michaelmas Term for approval; and finally, if and when Congregation's approval has been obtained, the relevant parts should be submitted for `Queen-in-Council' approval.

The completion of the drafting of the associated regulations will take place during the academic year 2001--2. Council or (where appropriate) Congregation would then formally make the new regulations, to come into force on the same date as the new statutes, after which these regulations could be amended from time to time in the normal way either by Council or Congregation, or by any body or person to which Council had delegated responsibility for the regulations concerned, as appropriate. Both the proposed initial regulations and any subsequent amendments would on publication be subject to challenge in Congregation in the same way as existing decrees and regulations.

There are two aspects of the proposed new procedures in Congregation to which Council wishes to draw particular attention. First, it is the Working Party's view, endorsed by Council, that the present procedure for the promotion of a statute whereby there first has to be a minimum notice period of nineteen days, after which the statute is submitted to Congregation for promulgation, and only at least fourteen days after that can Congregation vote on the enacting part of the statute, is unnecessarily cumbersome and protracted. The proposed new regulations for procedures in Congregation, which could be changed only by Congregation itself and not by Council, would therefore include provision reducing this process to a single period of notice, after which the enacting part of the statute could be submitted immediately to Congregation for approval. There would remain the same opportunities as at present for members of Congregation to propose amendments to the enacting part, or to reject the entire statute.

Secondly, the present procedures permit the submission by six or more members of Congregation of proposed further amendments to a statute which has already been amended by Congregation at an earlier meeting. Use has not recently (if ever) been made of this provision in practice, and Council takes the view that it is unnecessary: if one or more amendments to a proposed statute are approved by Congregation after the original version has been submitted for approval, it seems to Council to be adequate for Congregation simply to have the choice between either approving the statute as so amended, or rejecting it. The proposed regulations governing Congregation procedures would therefore also incorporate this change.

In order to avoid unnecessary delay in the proceedings on the proposed new statutes in Michaelmas Term 2001, Council will submit to Congregation at the beginning of that term an expediting resolution which would permit Congregation to deal with both the promulgation and the enacting parts of the proposed new statutes at the same meeting. This procedure was adopted in Trinity Term 1999 for the introduction of the new governance structures following the North Report, and seems to Council to be reasonable in the present case in view of the previous period of consultation on the proposed new statutes.

Council intends to circulate, before the Long Vacation, to all members of Congregation the complete set of draft new statutes, together with the preliminary drafts of the regulations associated with the statutes governing Congregation, Council, and Divisions, Faculties, Sub-faculties, Departments, and the Department for Continuing Education. As explained above, these draft regulations will require further attention, and they will be circulated at this stage for illustrative purposes only. Similar preliminary drafts of the other regulations so far prepared will be available to members of Congregation, on request, from the Working Party's secretary (Mr D.M.M. Hall, University Offices, Wellington Square; e-mail:; telephone: (2)70236).

Members of Congregation will be requested to send their comments on the draft statutes to the Working Party's secretary so as to reach him not later than the Wednesday of First Week in Michaelmas Term, Wednesday, 10 October. Meanwhile the expediting resolution referred to above will be on the agenda for the meeting of Congregation the previous day, Tuesday, 9 October. Final drafts of the proposed new statutes should then be published in the Gazette of Fifth Week for consideration at the meeting of Congregation in Eighth Week, on Tuesday, 27 November.

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The Board of Management of the Beit Fund wishes to announce that it is holding a second competition in 2000--1 for the award of the Robert Herbert Memorial Prize and the Beit Prize.

Robert Herbert Memorial Prize

The prize will be offered for an essay or a short dissertation `on some subject connected with those problems of Imperial Administration to which Sir Robert Herbert devoted his life'. In practice, the prize trustees define this as topics in the field of British Imperial and Commonwealth history, or in imperial aspects of British history.The value of the prize is at least £300.

Beit Prize

The prize will be offered for an essay on some subject connected with the advantages of `Imperial Citizenship', or on some subject connected with Colonial History. In practice, the prize trustees define this as topics in the field of British Imperial and Commonwealth history, or in imperial aspects of British history.The value of the prize is at least £250.

Entry procedures for both prizes

The prizes are open to all members of the University who on the closing date for entries have not exceeded twelve years from their matriculation, and who have not previously been awarded either prize. Entries must be (i) word-processed and self-contained pieces of scholarly work (ii) no longer than 15,000 words (including footnotes, appendices, and bibliographies) but may be shorter (iii) written by the applicant only i.e. not joint authorship. The prize trustees wish to encourage the entry of work adapted from a wide variety of sources: published and unpublished articles, theses for relevant Honours Schools, theses for the examination for the Master of Studies in Modern History or the Master of Studies in Historical Research, and work presented in applications for change of status to D.Phil. student or for confirmation of D.Phil. student status.

Entries for both prizes must not be marked with the author's name. The author's name, college and date of matriculation should be supplied in a separate letter with the essay to the Secretary to the Beit Fund Board of Management, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 4JD (telephone: Oxford (2)80299) by the closing date of 30 October.

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McDonnell Visiting Fellowships

The McDonnell Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience is closely integrated with the Medical Research Council Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Oxford and supports work on many aspects of brain research relevant to human cognition in several departments at Oxford University as well as at other institutions.

The McDonnell Centre encourages work in all areas of cognitive neuroscience across all relevant disciplines and embraces research on experimental, theoretical, and clinical studies of perceptual analysis, memory, language, and motor control, including philosophical approaches to cognition. Current and fuller information on the Centre is available on the Web at

The Centre offers several forms of support including Visiting Fellowships for distinguished researchers from overseas or elsewhere in Britain who wish to work within the Oxford Centre for periods between a week and several months. A Visiting Fellowship can include a modest grant to help with costs of travel and accommodation (but not a stipend), and to pay a bench fee to the host department.

Applications for Visiting Fellowships may be submitted either by a member of the Oxford Centre, or by the intended visitor. There is no special form for applications but they should include the following information: name, address, and status of applicant (in the form of a very brief curriculum vitae); names and addresses of collaborators in Oxford; a brief description (a page or two) of the proposed research; a list of any publications that have already resulted from the area of research; an outline plan of visit/s and expenditure, with total estimated budget, other sources of funding and the amount requested

Applications can be submitted at any time (e-mail is acceptable) to Sally Harte (Administrative Secretary), McDonnell Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University Laboratory of Physiology, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT (telephone: Oxford (2)72497, fax: (2)72488, e-mail:

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