All universities in Hong Kong are statutory bodies in the terms laid down in their respective ordinances. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is no exception - it was incorporated in 1988 under Chapter 1141 of the Laws of Hong Kong. Within its legal framework, the HKUST functions independently. While some government control is inevitably exercised through allocation of funds, it is the responsibility of the University Grants Committee (UGC), and not of a government department, that distributes the funds. The HKUST must furnish an annual report and financial statements to the head of government and, like other public bodies, the University falls within the purview of government audits.
The HKUST Ordinance outlines the University's powers and mission, duties, privileges, and constitution etc., it may only be amended by the Legislative Council of the HKSAR Government. The Ordinance further provides for the making of Statutes, by the University itself.
The Ordinance and Statutes stipulate the machinery of governance, setting out the bodies and the officers in whom all powers vest and upon whom all duties devolve. The main bodies for which the Ordinance and Statutes provide are the Court, the Council, the Senate and the Boards of the Schools. All of these bodies may form committees and delegate their powers as they see fit.