A Visitor, in United Kingdom law and history, is an overseer of an autonomous ecclesiastical or eleemosynary institution (i.e., a charitable institution set up for the perpetual distribution of the founder's alms and bounty) who can intervene in the internal affairs of that institution. These institutions mainly comprise cathedrals, chapels, colleges, universities and hospitals.
The British sovereign, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord President of the Council, the Lord Chief Justice, peers, and diocesan bishops are the most common Visitors, though any person or office-holder can be nominated. The Queen usually delegates her visitatorial functions to the Lord Chancellor. During the reform of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the 19th century, Parliament ordered Visitations to the universities to make inquiries and to reform the university and college statutes. Bishops are usually the Visitors to their own cathedrals.
There is a ceremonial element to the role and the Visitor may also be called upon to give advice where an institution expresses doubt as to its powers under its charter and statutes. However, the most important function of the Visitor was within academic institutions, where the Visitor had to determine disputes arising between the institution and its members. Traditionally the courts have been exempted from any jurisdiction over student complaints. There had been much speculation that this contravened the Human Rights Act 1998. However in 2004 the Higher Education Act transferred the jurisdiction of the Visitor over student complaints in English and Welsh universities to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
Read more about Visitor: Outside The United Kingdom
Famous quotes containing the word visitor:
“Beauty is ever to the lonely mind
A shadow fleeting; she is never plain.
She is a visitor who leaves behind
The gift of grief, the souvenir of pain.”
—Robert Nathan (18941985)
“In verity ... we are the poor. This humanity we would claim for ourselves is the legacy, not only of the Enlightenment, but of the thousands and thousands of European peasants and poor townspeople who came here bringing their humanity and their sufferings with them. It is the absence of a stable upper class that is responsible for much of the vulgarity of the American scene. Should we blush before the visitor for this deficiency?”
—Mary McCarthy (19121989)