Welcome to Erskine May online

Erskine May, often referred to as ‘the Bible of parliamentary procedure’ is both an iconic and practical publication. It’s the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions affecting Parliament. Rather than a set of rules, Erskine May is a description of how procedure in the House of Commons and House of Lords has evolved and the conventions that apply.

Erskine May in use

The Speaker regularly cites Erskine May in his rulings and it is often referred to during debate in the Commons. It’s also relied on by people with a professional interest in Parliament and parliamentary practice.

Erskine May attracts wider public interest as a source of information and is influential outside the United Kingdom, particularly in countries which model their constitutional arrangements on the Westminster system.

The history of Erskine May

Thomas Erskine May produced the first edition of his ‘Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament’ in 1844 and the publication came to be named after him. Thomas was, at the time, a young assistant in the House of Commons library. Later he became the Clerk of the House, the Commons’ most senior official. In total, he prepared nine editions of his Treatise and it has been updated regularly since.

Currently in its 25th print edition, you can now access Erskine May online.

Read the preface written by former Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir David Natzler KCB. Find out the names of the editors who compiled this edition.

A list of abbreviations used within the document is available, and you can report issues or errors in Erskine May online, to help us make it better.

Those interested in Erskine May may also be interested in the MPs Guide to Procedure - a practical guide aimed at Members and their staff

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Welcome to Erskine May online

Erskine May, often referred to as ‘the Bible of parliamentary procedure’ is both an iconic and practical publication. It’s the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions affecting Parliament. Rather than a set of rules, Erskine May is a description of how procedure in the House of Commons and House of Lords has evolved and the conventions that apply.

Erskine May in use

The Speaker regularly cites Erskine May in his rulings and it is often referred to during debate in the Commons. It’s also relied on by people with a professional interest in Parliament and parliamentary practice.

Erskine May attracts wider public interest as a source of information and is influential outside the United Kingdom, particularly in countries which model their constitutional arrangements on the Westminster system.

The history of Erskine May

Thomas Erskine May produced the first edition of his ‘Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament’ in 1844 and the publication came to be named after him. Thomas was, at the time, a young assistant in the House of Commons library. Later he became the Clerk of the House, the Commons’ most senior official. In total, he prepared nine editions of his Treatise and it has been updated regularly since.

Currently in its 25th print edition, you can now access Erskine May online.

Read the preface written by former Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir David Natzler KCB. Find out the names of the editors who compiled this edition.

A list of abbreviations used within the document is available, and you can report issues or errors in Erskine May online, to help us make it better.

Those interested in Erskine May may also be interested in the MPs Guide to Procedure - a practical guide aimed at Members and their staff