Constitution

All Standard Notes
36 Documents
DateDescription
18.12.2014Role of the Lord Chancellor
History and development of the office of Lord Chancellor. This note summarises the history and development of the office of Lord Chancellor and also examines the changes that were made to the role following the enactment of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
01.08.2014The Law Officers
Information about the role of the Law Officers in England and Wales (the Attorney General and Solicitor General).
03.07.2014Scotland: Referendum and independence. A select bibliography.
A selection of resources on the referendum taking place on 18 September 2014 and the potential impact of independence. Standard Note as at 31 July 2013.
11.10.2013Nepal's endless peace process, 2006-12
This note gives an account of Nepal's peace process from the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006 to the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, its mandate unfulfilled, in May 2012. The note will not be updated.
31.07.2013State and ceremonial funerals
This Note explains the arrangements for state and ceremonial funerals, including examples from the past. It shows the distinction between the two types of funeral, looks at what is known about the process to decide whether a state funeral will be held for a commoner, and provides some information on costs.
15.01.2013Referendum on independence for Scotland
The UK and Scottish Governments reached agreement in October 2012 on the legislation needed to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. This Note discusses the agreement, and the draft 'Section 30 Order' by which the UK Parliament will give the Scottish Parliament the power to hold the vote. It also covers the question of the franchise and some reaction to the agreement.
31.12.2012The Turks and Caicos Islands
This note briefly reviews the crisis of political and economic governance which has affected the Turks and Caicos Islands since 2008. A period of direct rule came to an end when fresh elections were held in November 2012. Only time will tell whether the Turks and Caicos Islands are now set on a new course - and, if so, what that course is.
21.12.2012Constitutional change: timeline from 1911: House of Commons Background Paper
This note contains a short and highly selective chronology of constitutional change over the past century. Prominent themes include parliamentary reform, devolution and changes to the franchise.
18.07.2012Timetabling of constitutional bills since 1997
This note provides some information on the amount of time the House has spent considering constitutional bills on the floor of the House of Commons during committee stage. The Note covers the period since 1997, when the programming of bills was first introduced.
16.08.2011The Separation of Powers
This Standard Note considers the extent to which 1) the executive and legislature; 2) the executive and judiciary; and 3) the judiciary and legislature now overlap and interact.
20.07.2011Fixed Term Parliament Bill - Lords stages
This standard note summarises the Lords stages of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
30.06.2011Thresholds in Referendums
Referendums have become an established mechanism for validating constitutional initiatives in the UK. The possibility of using an appropriate minimum turnout, or a special majority to ensure that the outcome of such a poll is seen as legitimate is sometimes raised. This note looks at the debate in the UK so far and briefly looks at the use of referendum thresholds in states outside the UK.
08.06.2011Conventions on the relationship between the House of Commons and House of Lords
There are a number of conventions and statutes which together, enshrine the primacy of the elected chamber, the House of Commons, over the House of Lords. These are examined in this note along with the requirements of the Parliament Acts and the proposals set out by the Government in their 2011 White Paper and Bill.
01.06.2011In brief: Burma's 'discipline-flourishing democracy'
This note reviews developments in Burma since the November 2010 elections.
21.02.2011The Parliamentary Voting system and Constituencies Bill: summary of amendments
15.02.2011Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Lords stages
This Note summarises the Lords stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill's second reading in the House of Commons and Research Paper 10/72 which summarises all the Commons stages of the Bill.
24.01.2011The Act of Settlement and the Protestant Succession
This note sets out the legal background to the rules surrounding the succession and then considers the historical background and context for the limitations on religious beliefs of the monarch and their spouse before looking at how the legislative restrictions could be removed. Lastly, it sets out recent attempts to change the laws of succession.
20.12.2010Fixed-term Parliaments Bill 2010-11: Commons stages
The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill [Bill No 64 of 2010-11] was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010 and had its Second Reading on 13 September 2010. This Note details the progress of the Bill, including developments between First and Second Reading and the Second Reading debate itself.
14.04.2010Remaining stages of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2009-10
This Note outlines the changes made to the Bill during report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, seconf reading in the Lords and during wash up.
22.03.2010Political and security arrangements in the Pakistan border areas with Afghanistan
This note outlines the current political and security arrangements in the ethnic Pashtun-dominated areas on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA).
24.02.2010Clarification of the Act of Settlement 1701
This note explains the background to the introduction of Clause 83 into the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2009-10. The clause was introduced after it was suggested that Section 18 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 has introduced some difficulties of interpretation into the provisions of Section 3 of the Act of Settlement 1701.This affected the eligibility of Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens to sit in the House of Lords.
25.11.2009Citizens' Assemblies
This paper sets out the proposals for citizen engagement in constitutional reform made by the Government in the Governance of Britain Green Paper and subsequent announcements.
16.10.2009Governance of Britain: An update
This note provides an update on the proposals made by the Government in their July 2007 Green Paper on constitutional reform, The Governance of Britain. The note sets out each proposal and progress made since the publication of the Green Paper, including the contents of the Constitutional Renewal White Paper and draft Bill published in March 2008, and the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill introduced in July 2009.
05.10.2009Bill of Rights 1689
This Note sets out the historical background to the Bill of Rights 1688-89 and examines how its provisions have altered in the intervening centuries. Its role as part of the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom is also discussed.
30.09.2009Power2010
This note provides an overview of the Power inquiry in addition to the Power2010 campaign launched by Baroness Kennedy QC on 15 September 2009.
03.09.2009Judicial appointments
This note provides background to the recent changes to the judicial appointments system in England and Wales, starting with the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which established the Judicial Appointments Commission. Further changes to eligibility for appointment were made under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which changed the criteria for appointment to a number of judicial offices. The Governance of Britain Green Paper suggested that there would be additional changes to the system of judicial appointments. In March 2008, the Government published a White Paper and a Draft Bill setting out the proposed amendments.
03.02.2009Background to Proposals for a British Bill of Rights
The three major political parties have all recently proposed that the UK should adopt a 'British Bill of Rights' of some kind. This paper outlines these proposals and sets them in context.
02.12.2008Royal marriages-constitutional issues
This note sets out the legal and historical background to the restrictions on royal marriages, and considers their application in the case of the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles.
27.08.2008The Coronation Oath
This Note offers a summary of coronation procedures and sets out the statutory requirements for the Coronation Oath.
01.05.2008Citizens' Initiatives
This Note considers proposals for the introduction of a 'Citizens' Initiative' process in the UK, where citizens would be able to petition for referendum questions to be placed on ballot papers of for legislation to be introduced in Parliament.
30.04.2008The Central-Local Concordat
This note covers the central-local concordat signed in December 2007 in fulfilment of a pledge in the Governance of Britain Green Paper.
14.12.2007Citizens' Juries
This note sets out the programme of citizens' juries which were announced by the Prime Minister. It collates information about the events held since July 2007, but also considers the use of citizens' juries and deliberative forums in the UK by local and national Government since 1997.
14.11.2005The Constitutional Reform Act 2005- the role of the Lord Chancellor
This Note is designed to provide a short supplement to Standard Notes no 2105 and Research Papers 05/05 which described the provisions of, and background to, the Constitutional Reform Bill in relation to the Lord Chancellor until its second reading in the Commons. The Bill had a protracted initial passage through the Lords where a special committee had taken evidence on the Bill before eventual report stage and third reading. The scrutiny of the Bill in the Commons was truncated by the general election of 2005.
21.02.2005House of Lords Reform - recent developments
This note reviews developments in the debate on the reform of the House of Lords since the publication of the Government's consultation paper, Constitutional reform: next steps for the House of Lords.
10.05.2004IGC 2004: issues surrounding UK ratification of the European Constitution
IGC 2004: issues surrounding UK ratification of the European Constitution. By Vaughne Miller. SN/IA/3040.
13.12.2000Parliamentary Resolutions on Ministerial Accountability
This Note looks at parliamentary resolutions on ministerial accountability.
All Research Papers
14 Documents
DateDescription
09.10.2014Recall of MPs Bill 2014-15
The Recall of MPs Bill 2014-15 was introduced on 11 September 2014, and is scheduled to be debated on second reading on 14 October. There was a commitment to legislate to introduce a power of recall in the Coalition Agreement, and a draft bill was scrutinised by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in 2012.
19.12.2012Succession to the Crown Bill 2012-13
The Succession to the Crown Bill would make changes so that gender would no longer play a part in determining the order of succession to the Crown, and so that a person marrying a Roman Catholic would no longer be barred from becoming or remaining monarch. It would also remove a requirement for descendants of George II to seek permission from the monarch to marry, replacing it with a requirement for the first six people in the line of succession to seek consent if they wish to remain in line to the throne. This Paper discusses the existing rules, the changes proposed by the Bill, and the process among the 16 states of which the Queen is Head of State to make the changes together.
12.07.2011Sovereign Grant Bill
The Sovereign Grant Bill concerns the way in which the monarchy is funded. It seeks to replace the Civil List and other grants that support the Queen's official duties with a new Sovereign Grant, based on a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate. The new grant is designed to deliver at first a broadly similar level of finance in cash terms to what is available at present. There are mechanisms for adjusting the level in future, and for using any significant surplus as a means to reduce the grant. The Sovereign Grant is intended to be a typical government grant that will lead to the royal finances being audited by the National Audit Office, and subjected to full parliamentary scrutiny.
20.01.2011Fixed-term Parliaments Bill: Commons Stages [Bill No 64 of 2010-11]
This Research Paper summarises all the Commons stages of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill. It complements Research Paper 10/54 which was prepared for the Commons Second Reading. No major amendments were made to the Bill during its Committee stage and no amendments were made during Report.
11.11.2010Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11: Commons Stages
This Paper summarises all Commons stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill's Second Reading and replaces Standard Note 5697 'Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Progress of the Bill'. No major changes were made during the passage of the Bill in the Commons, but the text of the referendum question was altered and legislative provision was made for the combination of polls on 5 May 2011.
01.09.2010The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill [Bill 63 of 2010-11]
This Paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill seeks to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided this change is endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes have been made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats are designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.
26.08.2010Fixed-term Parliaments Bill [Bill 64 of 2010-11]
The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010. The proposals are part of the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, agreed after the May 2010 General Election. The Bill fixes the date of the next General Election at 7 May 2015, and provides five year fixed-terms. There are provisions to allow the Prime Minister to alter the date by Order by up to two months. There are also two ways in which an election could be triggered before the five year term: if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is found within 14 days; or a motion for an early General Election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the House or without division.
25.02.2010Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill: Committee stage report
There were some significant amendments during the Committee Stage of this Bill. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was given control over setting Members' pay and pensions by amendments to the Parliamentary Standard Act 2009. There is to be a new Compliance Officer to investigate alleged misuse of Members' allowances; amendments would ensure that all MPs and peers would be liable to UK taxes; there would be a referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote by 31 October 2011; and a new requirement on Returning Officers to begin election counts four hours after a general election poll closes.
06.10.2009Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill. Bill 142 2008-09.
This Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 20 July 2009. It followed the publication in July 2007 of the Governance of Britain Green Paper which set out a broad programme of constitutional reform. In March 2008 the Government published the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill and Constitutional Renewal White Paper. The draft Bill was scrutinised by a Joint Committee, with other committees reporting on aspects of the proposals. The content of the Bill is different from that of the draft Bill in some significant ways. As well as clauses on the civil service, the ratification of treaties, judicial appointments and protest around Parliament which were contained in the draft Bill, the Bill includes new provisions on the House of Lords, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the National Audit Office, Human Rights claims against the devolved administrations and the transparency of financial reporting to Parliament. Clauses on the Attorney General, which had been in the draft Bill, are not in the Bill as introduced.
17.03.2009Royal Marriages and Succession to the Crown (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill
26.10.2007The Governance of Britain Green Paper
13.01.2005Constitutional Reform Bill (HL): a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom and judicial appointments (Bill 18 of 2004/05)
The Constitutional Reform Bill (HL) - a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom and judicial appointments (Bill 18 of 2004/05). House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/06.
12.01.2005Constitutional Reform Bill (HL); the office of the Lord Chancellor (Bill 18 of 2004-05)
The Constitutional Reform Bill (HL) - the office of Lord Chancellor (Bill 18 of 2004/05). House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/05.
20.05.2003Whither the civil service?
Whither the civil service? . House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/49.
All Select Committee Reports
72 Select Committee Reports
DateDescription
15.02.2012Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-fourth report on the Referendum on Scottish Independence.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.01.2012Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-third report on Voting at the close of poll.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.12.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-second report on the Health and Social Care Bill:
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
16.11.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-first report on Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.11.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) twentieth report on the Protection of Freedoms Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.10.2011Government response to the Constitution Select Committee (HL) twelfth report on the Cabinet Manual, the...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Commons and Lords]
21.09.2011Process of Constitutional Change.
Government response. Deputy Prime Minister report [Lords]
14.09.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighteenth report on the Health and Social Care Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.09.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) nineteenth report on the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.07.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) seventeenth report on the Scotland Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
06.07.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) sixteenth report on the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
06.07.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifteenth report on the Process of Constitutional Change.
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
04.05.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourteenth report on Part 1 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
28.04.2011Seminar on the House of Lords: outcomes Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee seventh
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
22.03.2011Constitutional implications of the Cabinet Manual.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
16.03.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) thirteenth report on the European Union Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.03.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) twelfth report on the Cabinet Manual.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
28.02.2011Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Government response. Deputy Prime Minister report [Lords]
16.02.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) eleventh report on Meeting with Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chairman, House...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.02.2011Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.
Government response. Home Office report [Commons and Lords]
02.02.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) tenth report on Money Bills and Commons Financial Privilege.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
19.01.2011Constitution Select Committee (HL) ninth report on Meeting with the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor....
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
01.12.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighth report on the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
10.11.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) seventh report on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.11.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) sixth report on the Public Bodies Bill (HL).
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
20.10.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifth report on the Government's Constitutional Reform Programme.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
06.10.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourth report on Government Response to Referendums in the United
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.07.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) second report on the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.07.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) third report on Sessional Report 2009-10.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
30.06.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) first report on Government Response to the Cabinet Office and the
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) thirteenth report on the Crime and Security Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifteenth report on Meeting with Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chairman, House...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourteenth report on the Bribery Bill and Constitutional Reform and...
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
17.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) eleventh report on the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
17.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) twelfth report on Referendums in the United Kingdom.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) ninth report on Annual Report 2008-09.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) tenth report on Meeting the Lord Chancellor.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.03.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighth report on Pre-Legislative Scrutiny in the 2008-09 and 2009-10...
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
01.02.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) seventh report on Clause 12 of the Bribery Bill: Further Report.
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
20.01.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) sixth report on Clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.01.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifth report on the Video Recordings Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
06.01.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourth report on The Cabinet Office and the Centre of Government.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
09.12.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) third report on the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.12.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) first report on Clause 12 of the Bribery Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.12.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) second report on Government Response to a report on Fast-track Le
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
28.10.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-second report on Parliamentary Standards Bill and Policing
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.10.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) nineteenth report on Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.10.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) twentieth report on The Proposed National Assembly for Wales (Legislative...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.10.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) twenty-first report on Government Response to a report on Pre-Legislative...
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.10.2009Parliamentary Standards Bill and constitutional reform and renewal.
Government response. Ministry of Justice; Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
21.07.2009Constitutional reform and renewal.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
20.07.2009Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (provisions relating to the Attorney General).
Government response. Attorney General report [Commons]
08.07.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighteenth report on the Parliamentary Standards Bill:
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.07.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) seventeenth report on the Parliamentary Standards Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
01.07.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) sixteenth report on the Policing and Crime Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
30.06.2009Constitutional reform and renewal: Parliamentary Standards Billl.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
17.06.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifteenth report on Fast-track Legislation:
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
16.06.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourteenth report on Analysis of the Government's response to Surveillance:...
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.06.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) thirteenth report on the National Assembly for Wales (Legislative
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
20.05.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) twelfth report on the Law Commission Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.05.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) tenth report on the Coroners and Justice Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.05.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) eleventh report on the Banking Act 2009:
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
22.04.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) ninth report on the Welfare Reform Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
25.03.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighth report on Pre-Legislative Scrutiny in the 2007-08 Session.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.03.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) seventh report on Part 3 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
04.03.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) sixth report on the Northern Ireland Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
25.02.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) fifth report on Part 1 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration...
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.01.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) second report on Surveillance:
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.01.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) third report on the Banking Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
21.01.2009Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourth report on Annual Report 2007-08.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
17.12.2008Constitution Select Committee (HL) first report on the Marine and Coastal Access Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
17.06.2008Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (provisions relating to the Attorney General).
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]