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Ord. 20 Discipline, Dismissal and Removal from Office

Ordinance on the procedure to be followed in connection with Statute 24 (Part III): Discipline, Dismissal and Removal from Office

(1) In all cases where formal action is taken against members of academic staff under the provision of Part III of the Statute, they should have the right to be accompanied by a friend who may be an officer of a trade union or a legal representative. A representative of the Registrar shall also be present at formal hearings under Stages 1 and 2 of Statute 24 (13), to advise the Head of Department on procedure.

(2) Where the Head of Department is the subject of the disciplinary action or is involved in a personal capacity, the role of Chair in stages 1 and 2 of Statute 24 (13) shall be taken by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor or some other senior Professor, appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. No person appointed to take part in Stages 1 and 2 of the procedure shall take part in any subsequent stage of the procedure. When the matters complained of are outside the competence of the Head of Department (eg. because they are concerned with University rather than Departmental duties), the Vice-Chancellor will act in the role of Head of Department under the Statute. In so acting, the Vice-Chancellor may appoint a senior Professor of the University to act on his behalf.

(3) In making arrangements for the consideration of offences under Stages 1 and 2 of the procedure, the Head of Department (or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor) shall have regard to the requirements of natural justice and of good practice in dealing with disciplinary matters in relation to employment. In particular it should be ensured that:

(a) There has been an adequate preliminary investigation of the matter by the Head, or Pro-Vice-Chancellor, before formal action is commenced.

(b) The member of staff against whom the complaint is made shall be given the full particulars of the complaint giving rise to the disciplinary action at least three days before the interview with the Head and given an opportunity to answer the complaint at the hearing.

(c) The member of staff is able to bring evidence or witnesses to be heard by the Head or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

(d) The decision of the Head, or Pro-Vice-Chancellor, shall be confirmed in writing as soon as possible after the interview, giving written details of the grounds of the decision, of the action to be taken, and of the procedure to be followed for an appeal against the outcome of the disciplinary action.

(4) Where serious disciplinary action is contemplated under paragraphs 14-20 of Statute 24, involving the establishment of a Tribunal, the following procedures shall be followed for the preparation, hearing and determination of charges:

(a) The member of staff shall be notified in writing of the grounds of the complaint against him/her, the procedure to be followed, the constitution of the Tribunal and the date of the hearing of the Tribunal, not less than 14 days before the date of the hearing.

(b) The member of staff shall also have the right to request a postponement of the proposed date of the hearing, for good reason; and such request shall be decided upon by the Vice-Chancellor.

(c) The member of staff shall be provided with copies of any and all documentary evidence to be put to the Tribunal by the person acting for the University in presenting the complaint, and be informed of the names of any witnesses to be called. Similarly, the member of staff shall provide to the person acting for the University in presenting the complaint, copies of documents to be used in his/her defence and the names of witnesses to be called on his/her behalf. This information should be exchanged by and through the Secretary no later than 7 days before the hearing. Once the Tribunal has begun its hearing, no additional charges may be brought for consideration by that Tribunal. The Tribunal may, however, decide to permit the amendment of minor or technical accidental errors contained in the charges. If, during the hearing, other matters of substance come to light which might lead to disciplinary action, such matters shall be referred to the Vice-Chancellor to proceed in accordance with Statute 24(14).

(d) The Chair of the Tribunal shall rule on any disputes regarding evidence or witnesses, and his/her decision in such matters shall be final.

(e) The parties to the action shall have the right to be present and to be represented throughout the hearing, save as provided in (g) below. Witnesses should withdraw after giving their evidence and being questioned by the parties and by the members of the Tribunal.

(f) The detailed procedure to be followed shall be determined by the Tribunal, but will allow for oral presentations by the member of staff and by the person acting for the University in presenting the complaint, for the hearing and examination of witnesses and for final statements from both parties.

(g) Following the presentation of evidence, and final statements, the parties shall withdraw. The Tribunal shall decide on the case on the basis of the evidence presented to it; if the members of the Tribunal are divided, the majority view shall prevail. The Secretary to the Tribunal shall remain in attendance during the consideration of the evidence for the purpose of providing factual information and procedural guidance.

(h) The parties concerned, and the Tribunal, shall have the right of legal assistance at all stages in the preparation, hearing and consideration of the case. If the Tribunal makes use of legal assistance, the person concerned may also remain with the Tribunal during its deliberations.

(i) The Tribunal shall act in such a way as to expedite consideration of the complaint but shall allow for postponements, adjournments, the dismissal of charges, the remission of the charge or charges to the Vice-Chancellor for further consideration and the correction of accidental errors, where such action shall be seen as reasonable in the circumstances. The Tribunal may set time-limits on the duration of all or part of the hearing, direct witnesses to ensure relevance, refuse to hear witnesses whose evidence is deemed on reasonable grounds to be irrelevant, and disallow questions which are vexatious or irrelevant to the issues, at its absolute discretion.