Code of conduct for formal halls

Formal Halls are an important part of College life and have been an enjoyable, communal event since Churchill was founded. They provide the opportunity for senior and junior members to dine together and bring guests from outside the College to share a meal with friends and colleagues in a pleasant and relaxed environment. The following outlines expected procedure and behaviour:


What the College undertakes to provide:

  • A carefully prepared meal at an appropriate, agreed price.
  • Courteous and pleasant service.
  • A congenial environment.


What Junior Members undertake to do:

  • To behave reasonably throughout the meal, and not to detract from others’ enjoyment by intrusive or anti-social behaviour.
  • At all times to behave courteously to the Hall staff.
  • To take responsibility for, and ensure, the good behaviour of any guests brought to dinner.


The Meal

A gong will be sounded to indicate the Hall opening and diners should be in their places in good time. When no seating plan has been prepared, please avoid leaving gaps. The tables will be marked with the name of the group and number of people booked.

Dinner begins and ends with Latin prayers known as graces. At the beginning of the dinner, diners stand until the opening grace has been said, and rise at the end of the meal when the gong is sounded. Diners should avoid leaving their seats between the two Latin graces. Any toasts or announcements should be reserved for once the High Table party has left the room.


General Behaviour

It should be self-evident that no diner should indulge in any practice that might be offensive to any other diner. It ought also to be self-evident what practices might be so offensive but they include drunkenness, undress (including lack of footwear), throwing anything, singing or shouting, forcing people to drink or eat and any abuse whatsoever towards the Hall staff.



Diners are expected to wear formal attire. It is normal for Fellows at High Table to wear gowns, but not for students to do so.



Some people may deliberately breach this code of conduct. If you are unhappy with the behaviour of another diner, you should speak to the Hall Manager. If an individual’s behaviour is considered unacceptable, they will be warned before being asked to leave.

If Hall staff are forced to ask you to leave you will be reported to the Dean who may impose a fine. Any diner is required to reveal his or her full name and College to the Hall Manager. Fines are charged to Churchill College accounts and members of College pay the fines of their guests. Graver punishments will result if you either (a) fail to give your real name or (b) repeat your offences.

Any University or College clubs and societies making block bookings for Hall must give the Catering Manager, twenty-four hours in advance of the dinner, the name of a responsible officer who will be present at the dinner. For the purpose of discipline, the senior student officer of a College club or society is deemed to be the host of any offender who is not a member of Churchill College.



Acceptable behaviour should correlate with acceptable levels of alcohol consumption. The following rules cover the consumption of alcohol at regular formal halls and private dinners:

  • Students attending Formal or Super Hall and their guests should be allowed to bring in and share a (75 cl) bottle of wine between two, or a pint of beer/cider each;
  • The Hall Managers and staff should remind diners entering the Hall of the limit and should keep a discreet eye on the amount of alcohol being consumed by each group dining; they should remove from a group, and place on a side table to be collected later, alcohol above the agreed limit;
  • Failure of diners to adhere to the limits or deterioration in behaviour during Hall could result in the re-imposition by Council of the two-glass rule, on the recommendation of the Senior Tutor;
  • Student private dinners, which generally take place over a longer period of time than do Formal or Super Hall, should be subject to an allowance of two-thirds (50 cl) of a bottle of wine per person;
  • Churchill College student society and club dinners, are recommended to adhere to this 50 cl allowance, but where a Fellow is present and supervising, may be permitted to exceed it modestly with the advance permission of the Senior Tutor.
  • MCR dinners taking place outside Formal or Super Hall are also recommended to adhere to this 50cl allowance, but they too may be permitted to exceed it modestly with the advance permission of the Senior Tutor.


Approved by: The JCR Committee, MCR Committee & College Council, November 2008