The Court is the governing body of the University, and is sometimes compared to the Board of Directors of a company. Its powers have been defined over a number of years, commencing in 1858 when the Court was first established, and are set out in a series of Acts of Parliament, the Universities (Scotland) Acts 1858-1966, and subsidiary regulations and ordinances.
The Court has ultimate responsibility for the deployment of resources in the University and for the strategic plans of the institution. It also has a monitoring role in relation to the overall performance of the University, and it holds the Principal accountable for the effective and efficient management of the University. It is responsible for the well-being of staff. With the Senate, it is responsible for the well-being of students and for the reputation of the University. The Court has 25 members and meets in full session five times a year.