Parliamentary Privilege First Report


Annex E

SUB JUDICE RESOLUTIONS AND PRACTICE

HOUSE OF COMMONS RESOLUTION OF 23 JULY 1963

  Resolved, That, subject always to the discretion of the Chair and to the right of the House to legislate on any matter,

  (1)  matters awaiting or under adjudication in all courts exercising a criminal jurisdiction and in courts martial should not be referred to—

    (a)  in any Motion (including a Motion for leave to bring in a Bill), or

    (b)  in debate, or

    (c)  in any question to a Minister including a supplementary question;

  (2)  matters awaiting or under adjudication in a civil court should not be referred to—

    (a)  in any Motion (including a Motion for leave to bring in a Bill), or

    (b)  in debate, or

    (c)  in any question to a Minister including a supplementary question from the time that the case has been set down for trial or otherwise brought before the court, as for example by notice of motion for an injunction; such matters may be referred to before such date unless it appears to the Chair that there is a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the trial of the case.

  (3)  Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Resolution should have effect—

    (a)  in the case of a criminal case in courts of law, including courts martial, from the moment the law is set in motion by a charge being made;

    (b)  in the case of a civil case in courts of law, from the time that the case has been set down for trial or otherwise brought before the court, as for example by notice of motion for an injunction;

    (c)  in the case of any judicial body to which the House has expressly referred a specific matter for a decision and report from the time when the Resolution of the House is passed.

  (4)  Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Resolution should cease to have effect—

    (a)  in the case of courts of law, when the verdict and sentence have been announced or judgment given, but resumed when notice of appeal is given until the appeal has been decided;

    (b)  in the case of courts martial, when the sentence of the court has been confirmed and promulgated, but resumed when the convicted man petitions the Army Council, the Air Council or the Board of Admiralty;

    (c)  in the case of any judicial body to which the House has expressly referred a specific matter for decision and report, as soon as the report is laid before the House.

HOUSE OF COMMONS RESOLUTION OF 28 JUNE 1972

  Resolved, That—

  (1)  notwithstanding the Resolution of 23 July 1963 and subject to the discretion of the Chair reference may be made in Questions, Motions or debate to matters awaiting or under adjudication in all civil courts, including the National Industrial Relations Court, in so far as such matters relate to a Ministerial decision which cannot be challenged in court except on grounds of misdirection or bad faith, or concern issues of national importance such as the national economy, public order or the essentials of life;

  (2)  in exercising its discretion the Chair should not allow reference to such matters if it appears that there is a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the proceedings; and should have regard to the considerations set out in paragraphs 25 to 28 of the Fourth Report from the Select Committee on Procedure.

 HOUSE OF LORDS: SUB-JUDICE PRACTICE

  Current practice in the House of Lords is as follows:

  A matter awaiting or under adjudication in any court exercising a criminal jurisdiction or in a court-martial should not be referred to in any motion or debate on a motion or in any question, including a supplementary question. A case which has been decided by a court, but is still open to appeal, is not considered sub judice until notice of appeal has been given.

  Matters awaiting or under adjudication in a civil court should not be referred to in any motion or debate on a motion or in any question, including any supplementary question, from the time that the case has been set down for trial or otherwise brought before the court, as for example by notice of motion for an injunction: such matters may be referred to before such date unless it appears to the House that there is a real substantial danger of prejudice to the trial of the case.

  This is subject to the proviso that, where a ministerial decision is in question, or a case concerns issues of national importance such as the national economy, public order or the essentials of life, reference to the decision or the issue may be made at the discretion of the Leader of the House, who must be satisfied that there is no real and substantial danger of prejudice to the proceedings. The Leader of the House should be given at least 24 hours' notice of any proposal to refer to a matter which is sub judice. It is undesirable that the exercise of his discretion should be challenged in the House.

  A case is deemed to be sub judice from the moment a petition for leave to appeal is presented to the House of Lords.

  These rules do not apply to bills, measures or delegated legislation nor to matters being considered by departmental inquiries and the like; but it is recognised that it is often undesirable for Parliament to intervene in the settlement of matters upon which the decision has been delegated to others by Parliament itself. The House has agreed that the practice governing motions and questions relating to matters sub judice should be similar in both Houses of Parliament.


 
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Prepared 9 April 1999