European Union Committee
Treaty scrutiny: working practices

11th Report of Session 2019-21 - published 10 July 2020 - HL Paper 97



Chapter 1: Introduction

The establishment of the International Agreements Sub-Committee

This inquiry

Background: some historical context

The Ponsonby Rule

The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010

Brexit: A new interest in treaty scrutiny

Chapter 2: Processes and requirements for effective scrutiny

Workstreams and scrutiny

Criteria for whether to draw a treaty to the special attention of the House

Parliamentary debates

Relations with other parliamentary committees

Relations with the devolved executives and legislatures

Relations with the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories

Volume of work, working practices and prioritisation

Engagement with stakeholders

Chapter 3: Information provision by the Government

Explanatory Memoranda

Free Trade Agreements

Lessons from other Parliamentary systems

The approach of the Department for International Trade

The provision of confidential information and briefings

Information on non-trade agreements

Memoranda of understanding

Amendments and the provision of other information

Derogations, withdrawal from agreements and dispute resolution

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Correspondence between the Sub-Committee and the Department for International Trade and Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Appendix 4: Amendment 12 to the Trade Bill 2017–19 (Parliamentary approval of trade agreements) as agreed by the House

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