Parliamentary committees

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Parliamentary committees
  • In brief
  • Select committees in the Commons
  • Select committees in the Lords
  • Joint committees
  • Public bill committees in the House of Commons
  • Committee of whole House of Commons
  • Committee of the whole House of Lords
  • Grand committees

Parliamentary committees

IP COMPLETION DAY: The Brexit transition period ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020. At this time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), transitional arrangements ended and significant changes began to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for public law?

In brief

A great deal of the business of Parliament is carried out by committees of MPs or peers working on a specific subject or task. Public bill committees work specifically on scrutinising and debating the detail of bills. Select committees take evidence and publish reports in specific policy areas.

Select committees in the Commons

Select committees have existed for centuries, but in the 20th century it began to be felt that they could be an important tool for scrutinising government, which had expanded in the modern age.

Sir Ivor Jennings (Parliamentary Reform, Victor Gollancz, 1934, chapter XI) argued that an

extension of the committee system...[would] make for stronger and more democratic government. They would bring the Government more closely into touch with public opinion without weakening its power to govern

In the 1960s, six select committees devoted to specific policy areas were set up, and named Crossman committees after the then Leader of the House, Richard Crossman. But the present system of

Popular documents