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The University has limited powers to vary the application of a trust fund.

Statutes & Ordinances
Statute E, Chapter 1, 8 Allows the University to make Ordinances to apply income for a purpose other than that prescribed by the terms of the trust, provided that such application is in keeping with the original purpose of the endowment.

Changes to Ordinance are made by the Council by publication in the Reporter of a:

  • Grace and footnote; or
  • Grace and report (if the changes require more detailed explanation)

The University Draftsman in the Secretariat can give guidance on changing the Ordinances. Where significant changes are proposed, it is necessary to refer back to the original deed or will to check that what is proposed is within the spirit of the original terms of the trust.

Where original terms of endowment cannot be satisfied

In some cases, unforeseen changes in circumstances mean that the original terms of the endowment cannot be satisfied, e.g. changes in the nature of study of a subject or changes in the make-up of the student population.

Statutes & Ordinances
Universities of Oxford & Cambridge Act 1923 Section 8 (I) Where it can be demonstrated that a fund is unspendable as well as unspent, even after the purposes of the trust have been met as far as they possibly can be, the University has power to make a Statute varying the terms of a trust.

This power is limited by the following requirements:

  • The trust must have been in existence for more than sixty years, or alternatively, the consent of the trustees must be obtained;
  • If the trust has been in existence for less than sixty years, an alteration can only be made with the founder of the trust if they are still alive.

Making or changing a Statute, however, is a lengthy and often expensive procedure requiring approval of the Queen in Council.

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