Procedure Committee

Session 2005-06   Press Notice No. 1 10 November 2005

New Inquiry: Call for evidence and announcement of first public session

Application of the sub judice rule to proceedings in coroners' courts

In April 2005, at the close of the last Parliament, the then Procedure Committee published a report on the operation of the sub judice rule. The present Committee has now received representations that the application of the sub judice rule to coroners' courts can pose serious difficulties, particularly for select committees, because proceedings can be opened and then adjourned for a significant period.

The Committee therefore intends to conduct an inquiry into the application of the sub judice rule to coroners' courts. Written submissions are welcome and should be guided by the following points for consideration:

•Should there be a separate sub judice rule for coroners' inquests?

•Should the point at which coroners' inquests become 'active' for the purpose of the rule be redefined? 

•Is the Chair's discretion to disapply the sub judice rule where necessary an effective mechanism? How does it operate in select committee proceedings?

•How do other Parliaments or legislatures apply the sub judice rule to similar proceedings?

Submissions may also comment on related matters relevant to the inquiry and should arrive no later than Monday 9th January 2006. Subject to the progress of the inquiry, some respondents may be asked to provide oral evidence. Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to or by post to the Clerk, Procedure Committee, Journal Office, House of Commons, London  SW1A 0AA. Further information can be obtained from the Clerk at this address or by telephone on 0207 219 3318.

The Committee will also be holding a preliminary public evidence session on Tuesday 29 November 2005 with Mr John Denham MP ( at 4.15 pm) and Ms Sally Keeble MP ( at approximately 5.00 pm), the Members who raised this issue with the Committee. Mr Denham, Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, contacted us about his experience of an evidence session on Counter-Terrorism and Community Relations in the aftermath of the London bombings. Ms Keeble has raised her concerns in the context of a death in a secure youth training centre in her constituency. This evidence session will help to determine the scope of the Committee's inquiry. A transcript of the evidence will be available on our website on these pages.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk to discuss this. Committees are not able to investigate individual cases. Further information about the Procedure Committee, including the complete text of previous reports, can be found on the Committee's homepage.