Statute XVI: Property, Contracts, and Trusts

(Sections 16-20 are 'King-in-Council' statutes – see section 2 (3) of Statute IV.)

Approved with effect from 1 October 2002
(Supplement (1) to
Gazette No. 4633, 9 October 2002)
Amended with effect from 8 May 2003 (
Gazette Vol. 133, p. 1335, 29 May 2003), 10 June 2008 (Gazette, Vol. 138, p. 1121, 22 May 2008), 8 April 2009 (Gazette Vol. 139, p. 932, 23 April 2009), 21 June 2011 (Gazette, Vol. 141, p. 724, 16 June 2011), 12 October 2011 (date of effect 1 January 2012; Gazette, Vol. 143, p. 98, 27 October 2011) 9 October 2018 (Gazette, Vol. 149, p. 74, 11 October 2018) and 11 June 2024 (Gazette Vol 154, p 443, 16 May 2024).

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1. Unless it is bound by the terms of an express trust in relation to any particular property, the University as a civil corporation

(1) holds all property belonging to it not on charitable trusts but as beneficial owner; and

(2) has all the powers of a natural person to manage, deal with, and dispose of its property, including the power to invest, borrow, and charge its property as security, as it thinks fit.

2. At its discretion, Council shall arrange for the investment of all funds, endowments, and capital money of the University which are not required for immediate use upon such securities, shares, stocks, funds, or other investments (including land) in any part of the world, and whether involving liability or not, as in its absolute discretion it shall think fit.

3. (1) Except in the cases referred to in sub-section (2) below, the powers conferred by section 2 of this statute shall extend to the investment (including the variation of the investment) of the funds of any specific trust administered or to be administered by or for purposes connected with the University.

(2) When less than sixty years have elapsed since the instrument creating a trust came into operation, the powers conferred by section 2 of this statute may not be exercised in the following circumstances:

(a) if the terms of that trust expressly provide to the contrary; or

(b) in the case of a trust of which the University is not sole trustee, without the consent of the trustees or governing body of that trust.


4. No allocation for University purposes of a site the area of which exceeds 1,000 square metres, or of a building the overall floor area of which exceeds 600 square metres, shall be made unless approved by resolution of Congregation under section 1 of Statute IV.

5. (1) The University claims ownership of all intellectual property specified in section 6 of this statute which is devised, made, or created:

(a) by persons employed by the University in the course of their employment;

(b) by student members only in the circumstances specified in sub-section (3) below;

(c) by other persons engaged in study or research in the University who, as a condition of their being granted access to the University's premises or facilities, have agreed in writing that this Part shall apply to them; and

(d) by persons engaged by the University under contracts for services during the course of or incidentally to that engagement.

(2) The University's rights under sub-section (1) above in relation to any particular piece of intellectual property may be waived or modified by agreement in writing with the person concerned.

(3) The University does not claim ownership of any intellectual property which is devised, made, or created by University student members, unless that intellectual property was devised, made or created:

(a) jointly with anyone else subject to section 5 of this Part of Statute XVI;

(b) using University facilities or equipment (unless the terms of access for the facility or equipment provide otherwise);

(c) in circumstances where that intellectual property is subject to obligations (including obligations imposed by contracts or grants) that the University owes to a third party;

(d) using funding received from the University (unless the terms of that funding provide otherwise); or

(e) in the circumstances specified in Section 5(1)(a), (c) or (d) of this Part of Statute XVI.

6. The intellectual property of which ownership is claimed under section 5 (1) of this statute comprises:

(1) works generated by computer hardware or software owned or operated by the University;

(2) works created with the aid of university facilities including (by way of example only) films, videos, photographs, multimedia works, typographic arrangements, and field and laboratory notebooks;

(3) patentable and non-patentable inventions;

(4) registered and unregistered designs, plant varieties, and topographies;

(5) university-commissioned works not within (1), (2), (3), or (4);

(6) databases, computer software, firmware, courseware, and related material not within (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), but only if they may reasonably be considered to possess commercial potential; and

(7) know-how and information associated with the above.

7. The University will not assert any claim to the ownership of copyright in:

(1) artistic works not listed in sub-section (2) of section 6 of this statute, books, articles, plays, lyrics, scores, or lectures, apart from those specifically commissioned by the University;

(2) audio or visual aids to the giving of lectures;

(3) student theses, exercises and answers to tests and examinations save to the extent that they contain intellectual property claimed by the University under subsection (6) of section 6 of this statute; or

(4) computer-related works other than those specified in section 6 of this statute.

8. For the purpose of sections 6 and 7 of this statute, 'commissioned works' are works which the University has specifically employed or requested the person concerned to produce, whether in return for special payment or not. 'Commissioned works' explicitly exclude (i) lectures delivered by University Lecturers, Departmental Lecturers and the holders of University Chairs in fulfilment of obligations in their contracts of employment and (ii) works commissioned by the University Press in the course of its publishing business (save as may be separately agreed between the University Press and the person concerned).

9. (1) The University operates an Open Access Publications Policy which promotes making peer-reviewed research outputs available on an open access basis to increase their availability and use by others. Pursuant to the Open Access Publications Policy, those persons covered by the circumstances in section[s] 5 (1) (a)[, (c) and (d)] automatically and in advance grant to the University a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, sublicensable licence of the copyright which they own in certain peer-reviewed research outputs, to make those outputs publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence, or alternative licence terms if requested, provided that such licence complies with any applicable funder requirements. The peer-reviewed research outputs licensed by those persons to the University are: articles, reviews and conference papers, which are accepted for final publication in a journal, conference proceeding or publishing platform.

(2) Those persons to whom section 9 (1) applies shall, upon request by the University, take any steps and/or sign any documents necessary in order to give effect to the licence set out in Section 9 (1).

(3) Sections 9 (1) and 9 (2) of this statute do not apply to student members of the University, even if the criteria set out in section 5 (3) of this statute are met, and/or if any of the circumstances set out in sections 5 (1) (a), (c) or (d) apply to student members.

10. Council may make regulations:

(1) defining the classes of persons or naming individuals to whom section 5 (1) (c) of this statute shall apply;

(2) requiring student members and such other persons as may be specified in regulations to sign any documents necessary in order to give effect to the claim made by the University in this Part and to waive any rights in respect of the subject-matter of the claim which may be conferred on them by Chapter IV of Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; and

(3) generally for the purposes of this Part.

11. This Part shall apply to all intellectual property devised, made, or created on or after 1 October 2000 and is subject to the provisions of the Patents Act 1977.

11. The Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar shall each have, and may delegate in writing, authority generally to sign contracts for the University.

12. (1) Council may by regulation give to classes of persons or individuals the authority to sign contracts for the University to the extent and in respect of the subject-matter specified in regulations.

(2) The authority given under sub-section (1) above may itself be delegated in writing, but no such delegation shall be operative until a copy of the instrument recording the delegation has been delivered to the Registrar.

13. The Seal of the University shall not be affixed to any document except by the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar, or an officer or employee of the University deputed by the Registrar for this purpose (either generally or in relation to particular transactions).

14. (1) Except as stated in this statute and in sections 24 and 25 of Statute VIII (University Press), no officer of the University, or any other person employed by the University or working in or in connection with any department or body within or under the control of the University, shall have authority to make any representations on behalf of the University or to enter into any contract on behalf of the University, except with the express consent of Council.

(2) No such consent given by Council shall be operative until a copy of the resolution of Council, certified by the Registrar, has been delivered to such officer or other person.

15. (1) The Registrar shall keep a register of all delegations under this Part; and of all documents to which the Seal has been affixed.

(2) The Registrar shall on request from any member of Council open the register for inspection by that member.

(Sections 16-20 are 'King-in-Council' statutes – see section 2 (3) of Statute IV.)

16. (1) The University holds the property which is subject to the trusts set out in the Schedule to these statutes or in regulations made by Council to be known as the University's Trust Regulations, and any other trusts which may from time to time be added to the Schedule and those regulations, as trustee.

(2) Subject to any specific provision relating to those trusts, the University shall have the management of all the property comprised in them.

(3) The Schedule or the University's Trust Regulations as the case may be shall:

(a) set out the terms on which the funds subject to each trust are held; and

(b) specify those terms which may be amended by Congregation, those which may be amended by further regulation of Council, and those which may only be amended under the provisions of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1923.

(4) The administration of each of the trusts and the application of its income shall be the responsibility of the board of management or other body specified in the Part of the Schedule or in the University's Trust Regulations relating to that trust, or, if none is specified, as shall be determined by Council.

17. The investment of trust property shall be subject to the provisions of such scheme as may from time to time be approved by Her Majesty in Council under the provisions of section 2 of the Universities and Colleges (Trusts) Act 1943, and the fund established under any such scheme shall be known as the Oxford Endowment Fund.

18. (1) Any proposal for amending, repealing, or adding to the provisions which govern the trusts listed in the Schedule shall be treated as a legislative proposal under the provisions of Statute IV and the associated regulations.

(2) Any such proposal approved by Congregation shall come into effect only if and when it has subsequently been approved by Her Majesty in Council, except to any extent that Congregation is empowered by the provisions in the Schedule which govern the trust concerned to make such amendment, repeal, or addition on its own authority.

19. (1) Any proposal for amending, repealing, or adding to the provisions which govern the main objects of any of the trusts listed in the University's Trust Regulations shall be treated as a legislative proposal under the provisions of Statute IV and the associated regulations and shall come into effect only if and when it has been approved both by Congregation and subsequently by Her Majesty in Council.

(2) Any amendment to, repeal of, or addition to any of the other provisions which govern any of the trusts listed in the University's Trust Regulations shall be made by Council by regulation under sections 15-20 of Statute VI.

20. Any surplus income of any trust in any year may, in the absence of provision to the contrary under specific provisions relating to individual trusts, and at the discretion of the board of management or other body responsible for the administration of that trust:

(1) be used in that year for the benefit of the division, faculty, sub-faculty, or department within whose area of responsibility the administration of the trust falls under section 16 (4) above; or

(2) be placed on reserve for expenditure in the subsequent year as if it were income of that subsequent year.

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