Clare College Cambridge

Statutes and Committees


The College is governed by Statutes.  All aspects of the College's activities have to be in accordance with the Statutes, which the College is legally obliged to observe.  From time to time the College may propose changes to the statutes, but such proposals can only be put into effect when they are approved by the Privy Council. The Statutes determine the composition of the major decision-making bodies, which are:

Governing Body

The Governing Body (the Master and all Fellows, plus four Junior Members) meets once a Term. It may review any aspect of policy, although most practical issues are dealt with by smaller, more specialised committees. Its duties are limited but important: to enact and alter Statutes; to elect the Members of the College Council and the various supporting committees; to elect Masters, Presidents and Honorary Fellows; to suspend or remove Fellows; to be the final arbiter in the interpretation of Statutes.

College Council

Dealing mainly with matters of education and welfare, the Council is one of two statutory committees (the other being the Finance Committee) and consists of the Master, Senior Tutor and 10 other Fellows.  Two Junior Members (usually the MCR President and UCS President) also attend meetings of Council for the discussion of items which directly concern the well-being of the graduate and undergraduate society as a whole.  Some issues, mainly those concerning named individuals and some financial matters, are reserved to Senior Members. Council has the effective control of the College and normally meets twice a term and once in the long vacation. 

Other Committees

The Governing Body and Council appoint a number of other committees.  These are not statutory bodies, so they may not make binding decisions of their own unless delegated to do so. They make recommendations to the Governing Body, Council or Finance Committee.  A list of College committees appointed by the Governing Body and Council can be found here.


Student members should at the start of their tenure make themselves aware of the dates for meetings of these Committees throughout the year. If student members have business they wish to present to the Committees, they should ensure that the item and any associated paperwork are presented 10 days before the meeting is to be held, at the latest. Every substantial item should be accompanied by a paper explaining the issues that need a decision.

Student members of these committees come as elected individuals, and exercise their right to participate in discussion and to vote as individuals. Whilst they may seek to represent student opinion to the committee, they cannot be 'mandated' to vote in any particular way.

In reporting the discussion of particular items back to the student body, students are expected to respect the element of confidentiality in committee discussion. Students will naturally wish to report the tenor of discussion and the decisions made by the committee, but should not identify particular individuals or their views in such reporting.

Items for the Governing Body should go to the Master; for the Council, to the Senior Tutor; for the Finance Committee to the Bursar.


There will be an opportunity before each meeting for student members to consult with the Master, Senior Tutor and Bursar respectively about matters on the agenda for each of the Committees.

Staff Departments

A complete list of College Staff is available from the Contacts page of the web site.