THE H  O  U  S  E   of   L  O  R  D  S - a brief guide - continued
PortcullisThe House of Lords – What it does
It processes and revises legislation.
Bills have to go through various stages in both Houses before they receive Royal Assent and become Acts. The Lords spends about two-thirds of its time revising or initiating legislation.

It acts as a check on the Government.
Members question the Government orally or by written questions, they debate policy issues and scrutinise secondary legislation.

Minister answering questions
Minister answering questions.

Legislation: Lords Stages
1st Reading: Formal announcement.
2nd Reading: Debate on general principles.
Committee: Detailed consideration of amendments in the Chamber but sometimes “off the floor” depending on nature of Bill.

Report: Further chance for amendments.
3rd Reading: Last chance to amend.

of Commons Amendments

Royal Assent: By the Queen.

It provides a forum of independent expertise.
Specialist Select Committees enable members’ wide ranging expertise to be actively used.
The European Communities Committee has 6 sub-committees involving over 60 members who vet proposed European legislation.
The Science and Technology Committee involves over 20 Members in examining science policy.
Science and Technology Committee
The Science and Technology Committee
It acts as a final Court of Appeal.
The House, through its Appellate Committee fulfills this function for the United Kingdom in civil cases and for England, Northern Ireland and Wales in criminal cases. Members include the Law Lords and the Lord Chancellor. Its sittings, on the Committee corridor, are open to the public.

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© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 2 November 1998