Matters sub judice and relating to courts

22.21The rules by which the House abides on matters sub judice (see para 21.19 ) apply equally to questions. Notice of a question on matters sub judice cannot be tabled unless the Speaker agrees to waive them. If the subject-matter of a question is found to be, or becomes, sub judice after notice of the question has been given, the Member may be asked to withdraw it, or the Speaker may direct it to be removed from the Notice Paper or refuse to allow it to be asked if it is on the Order Paper.1

The sub judice rule does not apply to matters which are before courts of law in jurisdictions beyond Great Britain and Northern Ireland (such as the European Court of Human Rights).2 Nor does it apply to matters which are the subject of an administrative inquiry.3 Questions which reflect on the decision of a court of law are not in order. The Speaker has ruled privately that questions relating to a sentence passed by a judge, and to the circumstances under which rules of court were made and issued, were inadmissible.4


  1. 1. HC Deb (18 December 2012) 555, cc 706–7.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1950) 476, c 868; ibid (1986–87) 105, cc 436–40.
  3. 3. HC Deb (1952–53) 511, cc 413–14.
  4. 4. Decisions from the Chair (Sessions 1903 and 1904) Nos 1596 and 1597.