Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords


7.215  A Measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England is, under the provisions of the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, as amended by the Synodical Government Measure 1969, submitted to Parliament for a resolution directing that it be presented to Her Majesty for Royal Assent.

7.216  The Measure is submitted first to the Ecclesiastical Committee, which is appointed pursuant to the 1919 Act for the duration of a Parliament and which consists of 15 members of the House of Lords, nominated by the Lord Speaker, and 15 Members of the House of Commons, nominated by the Commons Speaker. The committee appoints its own chairman; by practice, this is a Lord of Appeal. Being a statutory committee the committee is not formally a joint committee, nor are its proceedings "proceedings in Parliament"[320]; but it has resolved to adopt the procedure of a joint committee.

7.217  The committee reports on the nature and legal effect of the Measure, and gives its views on whether the Measure should proceed ("is expedient"), especially with relation to the constitutional rights of all Her Majesty's subjects. During its consideration of a Measure the Ecclesiastical Committee may, either of its own motion or at the request of the Legislative Committee of the General Synod, invite the Legislative Committee to discuss its provisions at a conference.

7.218  The committee communicates its report in draft to the Legislative Committee, and may not present its report to Parliament until the Legislative Committee asks it to do so. The Legislative Committee may, at any time before the presentation of the Ecclesiastical Committee's report to Parliament, withdraw a Measure from the consideration of that committee, and has invariably done so in the face of an unfavourable draft report.

7.219  If the Legislative Committee decides to proceed with the Measure, the text of the Measure and the report of the Ecclesiastical Committee are laid before Parliament. If the Chairman of Committees and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the Commons think that a Measure deals with two or more subjects which might more properly be divided, they can divide a Measure at this point and it is printed as separate Measures. A resolution for presenting the Measure to Her Majesty for Royal Assent may then be moved. Where a Measure affects the interests or prerogative of the Crown, Consent is required as for a bill. It is signified before the motion is moved in the House. If both Houses agree to such a motion, the Measure is ready for Royal Assent.

7.220  Neither the Ecclesiastical Committee nor either House has power to amend a Measure, but either House can reject it by disagreeing to the motion for a resolution.

320   See paragraph 12.03. Back

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