STATEMENTS TO THE HOUSE
26 July 1966BY
'Before judgments are delivered today, I wish
to make the following statement on behalf of myself and the Lords
of Appeal in Ordinary:
"Their Lordships regard the use of precedent
as an indispensable foundation upon which to decide what is the
law and its application to individual cases. It provides at least
some degree of certainty upon which individuals can rely in the
conduct of their affairs, as well as a basis for orderly development
of legal rules.
"Their Lordships nevertheless recognise
that too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in
a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development
of the law. They propose therefore to modify their present practice
and, while treating former decisions of this House as normally
binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears right
to do so.
"In this connection they will bear in mind
the danger of disturbing retrospectively the basis on which contracts,
settlements of property and fiscal arrangements have been entered
into and also the especial need for certainty as to the criminal
"This announcement is not intended to affect
the use of precedent elsewhere than in this House."'
PRINCIPLES FOR PARTICIPATION
22 June 2000BY
'My Lords, with the leave of the House, before
the reports from the Appellate Committees are considered, I should
like to make a statement on Recommendation 59 of the Royal Commission
on the Reform of the House of Lords. That recommendation is that
"The Lords of Appeal should set out in writing and publish
a statement of the principles which they intend to observe when
participating in debates and votes in the second chamber and when
considering their eligibility to sit on related cases.".
'I should tell the House that my noble and learned
friends have considered this recommendation and have agreed on
the terms of a statement to give effect to it. I will now read
the statement which has been agreed by all the Lords of Appeal
"As full members of the House of Lords
the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary have a right to participate in
the business of the House. However, mindful of their judicial
role they consider themselves bound by two general principles
when deciding whether to participate in a particular matter, or
to vote: first, the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary do not think it
appropriate to engage in matters where there is a strong element
of party political controversy; and secondly the Lords of Appeal
in Ordinary bear in mind that they may render themselves ineligible
to sit judicially if they were to express an opinion on a matter
which might later be relevant to an appeal to the House.
"The Lords of Appeal in Ordinary will continue
to be guided by these broad principles. They stress that it is
impossible to frame rules which cover every eventuality. In the
end it must be for the judgment of each individual Lord of Appeal
to decide how to conduct himself in any particular situation.
"In deciding who is eligible to sit on
an appeal, the Lords of Appeal agree to be guided by the same
principles as apply to all judges. These principles were restated
by the Court of Appeal in the case of Locabail (UK) Ltd v.
Bayfield Properties Ltd and others and four other actions
[2000 1 All E.R. 65 (CA)]."
'My Lords, that concludes the statement.'