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This Note considers committees in the House of Lords which deal with public matters. These can be categorised as either ‘investigative’ committees (a select or joint committee established to consider matters of public policy) or ‘legislative scrutiny’ committees (considering draft, primary or secondary legislation, including private member’s bills—either as a standing, public bill, select or joint committee). Each type of committee is composed of a limited number of members of the House. Some committees are set up each session (sessional) while others are ad hoc.

Legislative committees should be distinguished from a committee of the whole House (which takes place in the Chamber) or a grand committee (which usually takes place in the Moses Room). Both act as the committee stage of a bill but can involve all members of the House if they choose to participate in the proceedings. The vast majority of public bills are considered by the House in this manner. Different types of legislative committee have periodically been used either to save time on the floor of the House or to allow more detailed examination of bills.

This Note does not discuss select committees which deal with private business (including personal bills, standing orders (private bills) and hybrid instruments committees) or the domestic and procedural affairs of the House, except the Liaison Committee.

This Library Note has been written by Michael Torrance, Clerk in the House of Lords Committee Office, on behalf of the Library.

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