Joint Committees

Joint Committees are committees consisting of MPs and Lords. They have similar powers to Select Committees. Some are set up on a permanent basis, like the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Other appointments are for specific purposes, such as examining draft proposals for Bills on subjects ranging from gambling to stem cell research.

How they work

In Joint Committees, Members from both Houses meet and work as one committee, and appoint a single chairman who can be an MP or Lord.

Joint Committees operate like Select Committees. They may conduct an ongoing examination of a particular area (such as human rights) or of a specific matter, such as Draft Bills or House of Lords reform. Reports are available to the public in printed and online formats.

Major Joint Committees

Two Joint Committees meet on a regular basis: Human Rights, which meets to consider human rights issues in the UK; and Statutory Instruments, which meets to scrutinise delegated legislation.

Other Joint Committees

There are two cases already in which a bill is committed to a joint committee: consolidation bills (and various related types of bill) and tax law rewrite bills. Both categories comprise long and potentially complicated bills, which seek not to change the law but to consolidate existing statutes and, in the case of tax law rewrite bills, to simplify the language of the statute book.

Joint Committees on specific topics, like those set up to consider draft Bills and other issues, stop meeting once they have fully reported.

Related information

Delegated legislation: allows the Government to make changes to a law without needing to push through a completely new Act of Parliament.

Current committees

For more about the work of a current committee use our A-Z index.