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Voluntary retirement from the House of Lords was placed upon a statutory basis by the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. In effect, this replaced the non-statutory voluntary retirement scheme in place since 2011. Members can retire under the 2014 Act by giving written notice to the Clerk of the Parliaments specifying a date upon which they want to retire. From that date onward, Members are no longer able to participate in House of Lords proceedings. Such retirement is permanent, and cannot be rescinded.

As at 6 February 2014, eight Members of the House of Lords had retired under the two schemes (three under the previous non-statutory scheme, and five under the new statutory scheme). Five of the retired Members were Crossbench Peers, and four had originally joined the House as hereditary Peers. The majority retired in their 80s, and they had all served in the House for between 26 and 38 years. An additional Member, Lord Nickson, has also given notice of his retirement on a later date (27 March 2015).

This Note discusses the development of retirement provisions in the House of Lords, and considers additional proposals put forward by forums such as that have been raised by the Leader’s Group on Member’s Leaving the House and the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee (for example, the possibility of introducing a compulsory retirement age). The Note also contains brief analysis and information on the eight Members that have taken voluntary retirement so far.

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