Committee looks at privilege aspects of Parliamentary Standards Bill

30 June 2009

The Justice Committee hears evidence on sentencing guidelines from 4.15pm and then at 5pm the Committee looks at privilege aspects of the Parliamentary Standards Bill with witnesses including Dr Malcolm Jack, Clerk and Chief Executive, House of Commons.

Sentencing guidelines: principles of sentencing for youths

In the first session at 4.15pm, the Committee will hear evidence for its inquiry into sentencing guidelines from John Drew, Chief Executive, and Brendan Finegan, Director of Strategy, Youth Justice Board.

Constitutional Reform and Renewal

In the second session at 5pm, the Committee will hold the first evidence session of its inquiry into constitutional reform, when it will look at the Parliamentary Standards Bill.

Giving evidence to the Committee will be Dr Malcolm Jack, Clerk and Chief Executive, Andrew Kennon, Clerk of the Journals, and Michael Carpenter, Speaker’s Counsel, House of Commons.

Written evidence submitted by Dr Malcolm Jack ahead of the evidence session, is available online.

More information about the Parliamentary Standards Bill is in a Library research paper

What is parliamentary privilege?

Parliamentary privilege guarantees freedom of speech in Parliament by preventing what Members say or what the House does from being questioned outside Parliament, particularly in the courts. It is a fundamental constitutional safeguard, recognised in various forms in all democratically organised countries. Without it Members and witnesses giving evidence to parliamentary committees, would be unable to speak freely. The importance of privilege has been recognised by the Courts over a long period and recently by the European Court of Human Rights.

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