Standing Orders of the House of Commons - Public Business 2005 Contents




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 question.

    (a) (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.

    (b) (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 proceeding.

    (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 Coroners Courts or Fatal Accident Inquiries shall be treated as matters within paragraph (1)(a);

    (b) 'Motion' includes a motion for leave to bring in a bill; and

    (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 consideration.

(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 reasons—

    (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 agreement.

(5) In relation to any proposal which requires adoption by unanimity, abstention shall, for the purposes of paragraph (4), 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 Parliament,

      (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.


Shorter speeches26th October 2004 for next two sessions[1]

The Speaker may call Members between certain hours to speak for a specified maximum time (not being less than three minutes) and during this time the reference to eight minutes in paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 47 (Short speeches) and the provisions of paragraph (2) of that order shall not apply.

Modernisation of the House of Commons13th 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 are:


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

This Standing Order expires at the end of Session 2005-06. Back

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Prepared 10 October 2005