Are the Cambridge colleges “constituent colleges” of the University? This seemingly esoteric question has recently become of some practical importance. University Commissioners, appointed Pursuant to section 202(1) of the Education Reform Act 1988, have the duty of modifying the Statues or other instruments of government, of many, but not all, university institutions, so as to ensure that, whatever may have been the position hitherto, each of them has, for all future appointments, the power to dismiss members of its “academic staff” on grounds of redundancy, or for “good cause” (as defined in section 203(2)). Whether a university institution is subject to having its Statutes thus modified in ways which it might not have chosen for itself, in order to facilitate the “restructuring” of its academic activities, and the removal of “dead wood,” turns on whether it is a “qualifying institution,” as defined in section 202(3):
(a) any university or other institution to which during the period of three years beginning 1 August 1987, grants in aid are or have been made by the Universities Funding Council, or by the Secretary of State acting on the advice of the University Grants Committee;
(b) any constituent college, school or hall or other institution of a university falling within paragraph (a) above.