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House of Commons Standing Orders - Public Business












Matters sub judice


Resolution of 15th November 2001


Resolved, That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, and to


the right of the House to legislate on any matter or to discuss


any delegated legislation, the House in all its proceedings


(including proceedings of committees of the House) shall


apply the following rules on matters sub judice:


(1) Cases in which proceedings are active in United Kingdom


courts shall not be referred to in any motion, debate or






(i) Criminal proceedings are active when a charge has


been made or a summons to appear has been issued,


or, in Scotland, a warrant to cite has been granted.


(ii) Criminal proceedings cease to be active when


they are concluded by verdict and sentence or


discontinuance, or, in cases dealt with by courts


martial, after the conclusion of the mandatory post-


trial review.




(i) Civil proceedings are active when arrangements


for the hearing, such as setting down a case for trial,


have been made, until the proceedings are ended by


judgment or discontinuance.


(ii) Any application made in or for the purposes of


any civil proceedings shall be treated as a distinct




(c) Appellate proceedings, whether criminal or civil, are


active from the time when they are commenced by


application for leave to appeal or by notice of appeal


until ended by judgment or discontinuance.


But where a ministerial decision is in question, or in the


opinion of the Chair a case concerns issues of national


importance such as the economy, public order or the essential


services, reference to the issues or the case may be made in


motions, debates or questions.


(2) Specific matters which the House has expressly referred


to any judicial body for decision and report shall not be referred


to in any motion, debate or question, from the time when the


Resolution of the House is passed until the report is laid before


the House.


(3) For the purposes of this Resolution—


(a) matters before coroner’s courts or fatal accident


inquiries shall be treated as matters within paragraph




(b) ‘Motion’ includes a motion for leave to bring in a bill;




(c) ‘Question’ includes a supplementary question.


Scrutiny of European Business


Resolution of 17th November 1998, as in effect following


the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam.


Resolved, That the Resolution of the House of 24th October


1990 relating to European Community Legislation be


rescinded and the following Resolution be made:




(1) No Minister of the Crown should give agreement in the


Council or in the European Council to any proposal for


European Community legislation or for a common strategy,


joint action or common position under Title V or a common


position, framework decision, decision or convention under


Title VI of the Treaty on European Union—


(a) which is still subject to scrutiny (that is, on which the


European Scrutiny Committee has not completed its


scrutiny) or


(b) which is awaiting consideration by the House (that is,


which has been recommended by the European


Scrutiny Committee for consideration pursuant to


Standing Order No. 119 (European Standing


Committees) but in respect of which the House has not


come to a Resolution).


(2) In this Resolution, any reference to agreement to a


proposal includes—


(a) agreement to a programme, plan or recommendation


for European Community legislation;


(b) political agreement;


(c) in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in


accordance with the procedure referred to in Article


251 of the Treaty of Rome (co-decision), agreement to


a common position, to an act in the form of a common


position incorporating amendments proposed by the


European Parliament and to a joint text; and


(d) in the case of a proposal on which the Council acts in


accordance with the procedure referred to in Article


252 of the Treaty of Rome (co-operation), agreement to


a common position.


(3) The Minister concerned may, however, give agreement—


(a) to a proposal which is still subject to scrutiny if he


considers that it is confidential, routine or trivial or is


substantially the same as a proposal on which scrutiny


has been completed;


(b) to a proposal which is awaiting consideration by the


House if the European Scrutiny Committee has


indicated that agreement need not be withheld pending




(4) The Minister concerned may also give agreement to a


proposal which is still subject to scrutiny or awaiting


consideration by the House if he decides that for special


reasons agreement should be given; but he should explain his




(a) in every such case, to the European Scrutiny


Committee at the first opportunity after reaching his


decision; and


(b) in the case of a proposal awaiting consideration by the


House, to the House at the first opportunity after giving




(5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption by


unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (1),


be treated as giving agreement.


Questions to Ministers


Resolution of 25th October 1999


Resolved, That, subject always to the discretion of the Chair


and in addition to the established rules of order on the form and


content of questions, questions may not be tabled on matters


for which responsibility has been devolved by legislation to the


Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales unless


the question—


(a) seeks information which the United Kingdom


Government is empowered to require of the devolved


executive, or


(b) relates to matters which—


(i) are included in legislative proposals introduced


or to be introduced in the United Kingdom




(ii) are concerned with the operation of a concordat


or other instrument of liaison between the United


Kingdom Government and the devolved executive, or


(iii) United Kingdom Government ministers have


taken an official interest in, or


(c) presses for action by United Kingdom ministers in


areas in which they retain administrative powers.


Notice of amendments in public bill committees


Resolution of 1st November 2006


Resolved, That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, notices


of amendments to bills committed to a public bill committee


should be tabled not later than three sitting days, calculated in


accordance with Standing Order No. 12(3) (House not to sit on


certain Fridays), before the sitting at which they are to be






Modernisation of the House of Commons


13th July 2005


Ordered, That a Select Committee of fifteen Members be


appointed to consider how the House operates and to make


recommendations for modernisation;


That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers


and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the


House, to adjourn from place to place, to report from time to


time and to appoint specialist advisers;


[The next paragraph contains the names of the Members]


That this Order be a Standing Order of the House until the


end of the present Parliament.


Liaison Committee (Membership)


13th July 2005


Ordered, That—


(1) With effect for the current Parliament, not­withstanding


Standing Order No. 121 (Nomination of select committees),


the Chairman for the time being of each of the Select


Committees listed in paragraph (2) below shall be a member of


the Liaison Committee;


(2) The Committees to which paragraph (1) above applies





International Development


Communities and Local

Northern Ireland Affairs





Constitutional Affairs

Public Accounts


Culture, Media and Sport

Public Administration



Regulatory Reform


Education and Skills

Science and Technology


Environmental Audit

Scottish Affairs


Environment, Food and



Rural Affairs

Standards and Privileges


European Scrutiny

Statutory Instruments


Finance and Services

Trade and Industry


Foreign Affairs






Home Affairs

Welsh Affairs


Joint Committee on Human

Work and Pensions;


Rights (the Chairman


being a Member of this






(3) Mr Alan Williams shall also be a member of the Liaison



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