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Assessors are members of the University Court, the Edinburgh University's supreme governing body, who are nominated or elected by the Senatus Academicus, the Chancellor, the General Council, the City of Edinburgh Council, and by the University's Non-Teaching Staff.

Institution of the University Court

The Universities (Scotland) Act 1858 largely removed control of university affairs from the Town Council of Edinburgh, investing it in the university itself through the creation of a University Court. The Court's original functions under the 1858 Act were to revise, on appeal, the acts of the Senatus Academicus, to sanction the expenditure by the Senatus of University funds and generally to take supervision of the professors. When it first met in 1859, the Court consisted of:

  • The Rector (President of the Court, elected by the student body)
  • The Principal
  • The Lord Provost of Edinburgh
  • An Assessor nominated by the Rector
  • An Assessor nominated by the Chancellor
  • An Assessor elected by the General Council
  • An Assessor elected by the Senatus Academicus
  • An Assessor nominated by the Town Council

Body Corporate

By the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889, the University Court became a body corporate, with perpetual succession and a common seal; and all the property belonging to the University at the passing of the Act was now vested in that body. The present powers of the Court, which include among others, the amendment of the composition, powers and functions of the bodies in the University, and the creation of new bodies, the administration and management of the whole revenue and property of the University, internal arrangements of the University, appointments, review of decisions of the Senatus, and, on recommendation of the Senatus, the regulation of degrees and administration and discipline of students, are defined in the Universities (Scotland) Act, 1966.


The Court currently consists of:

  • The Rector (President of the Court)
  • The Principal
  • One Assessor nominated by the Chancellor
  • Four Assessors nominated by the Senatus Academicus
  • Three Assessors nominated by the General Council
  • One Assessor nominated by the City of Edinburgh Council
  • One Assessor nominated by the Non-Teaching Staff
  • Two fully matriculated students nominated by the Edinburgh University Students' Association
  • Up to eight co-opted members

Assessors are nominated or elected for a period of four years.