The Chancellor is the University’s ceremonial head and one of its most prominent ambassadors. Our current Chancellor is Nazir Afzal OBE.

The Chancellor is involved in activities which promote the University to the wider community and plays a key part in some of the University’s important business. These duties include presiding over meetings of the General Assembly and over congregations of the University for the conferment of degrees, but do not involve day-to-day executive management or the running of the University.

At Manchester, the post is held for seven years. The Chancellor is elected by members of the General Assembly and the Alumni Association, together with all University staff eligible to hold superannuable appointments.

The role is an honorary position and cannot, therefore, be held by anyone in paid employment of the University.

Nazir Afzal, Chancellor

Nazir Afzal

Former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, Nazir Afzal OBE became Chancellor of The University of Manchester in 2022.

During his legal career, Nazir prosecuted some of the highest profile criminal cases in the UK and was ultimately responsible for more than 100,000 prosecutions each year. Among these was the successful prosecution of the so-called ‘Rochdale grooming gang’, which led to vital changes in child protection.

His expertise in safeguarding and ethics has seen Nazir take up positions including National Adviser on Gender-Based Violence for the Welsh Government; trustee of both the WOW (World of Women) Foundation and the Association of Safeguarding Partners; and the first ever independent Chair of the Catholic Church’s Safeguarding Agency. Nazir also sits on both the National Police Chiefs’ Ethics Committee and the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

In addition to this, Nazir assists the governments of Somalia, Ukraine and Pakistan on Rule of Law reform and dedicates a considerable amount of his time to charitable work.  He has published a memoir, The Prosecutor, and produces the popular true crime podcast Fear of Favour.

In 2005, Nazir was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his work in criminal justice. Two years later, he received the UK government’s Justice Award and most recently he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Pride of Birmingham 2022.

Tel: +44 (0) 161 306 6010


Former Chancellor Lemn Sissay will be taking up an Honorary Chair in Creative Writing at The University of Manchester.