Proceedings in select committees

38.14Select committees are regarded as extensions of the House, limited in their inquiries by the extent of the authority given them, but governed for the most part in their proceedings by the same broad rules as those which prevail in the House.

Select committee proceedings are generally more informal in character than in either the House itself or in Committee of the whole House. Members do not stand in order to speak and address each other by name. The use of laptops and other similar devices is permitted.1 Many decisions, including decisions of a formal character or involving the exercise of a formal power (such as the appointment of a specialist adviser or the authorisation of expenditure), are sometimes effectively taken by select committees without any question being explicitly proposed or put from the Chair. Such decisions may include, for example, from whom to seek evidence in connection with any inquiry. Other matters, however, do require the explicit formal putting of questions. These include the agreement of draft reports. In the case of any disagreement which cannot otherwise be resolved, a division can take place only on a question formally put from the Chair.


  1. 1. Use of electronic equipment is governed by the resolution of the House of 13 October 2011; CJ (2010–12) 905; and Resolution of the Liaison Committee, 24 October 2011. Laptops must be used with decorum and without disturbance to others. While there is no prohibition on committee members sending or receiving communications during public sessions, Members should, out of courtesy, refrain from making public comments on the evidence being taken by a committee whilst the session is in progress.