Conduct of Lords Members not speaking

Some paragraphs in this section have been updated, added or deleted since the publication of the current edition. The most recent updates, made July 2021, can be highlighted by clicking ‘Highlight updates’ below. Read a summary and schedule of latest updates here.

25.82Members of the Lords are directed by Standing Order No 19 to ‘keep dignity and order’, and not to move out of their places without just cause; when they cross the House, they must not pass between the Woolsack and the Table, nor between the Woolsack (or Chair) and any Member of the Lords who is speaking; and on entering (but not leaving) the House they are to bow to the Cloth of Estate.1

Standing Order No 20 provides:

‘If any Lord has occasion to speak with another Lord while the House is sitting, they are to retire to the Prince's Chamber, and not converse in the space behind the Woolsack, or else the Lord Speaker is to call them to order, and, if necessary, to stop the business in agitation.’

It is contrary to the custom of the House for books and newspapers (except for papers specifically relating to the debate), unopened correspondence, briefcases and ministerial boxes to be brought into the Chamber.2


  1. 1. HL Deb (1995–96) 570, cc 1705–16.
  2. 2. LJ (1969–70) 213.