European Scrutiny Committee

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38.72The European Scrutiny Committee's functions, as set out in Standing Order No 143, are to examine European Union documents, to report its opinion on the legal or political importance of such documents, to give its reasons for its opinion, to report what matters of principle, policy or law may be affected thereby, to make recommendations for the further consideration of such documents, and to consider any issue arising upon any such document or group of documents, or related matters.1 European Union documents are defined in the standing order (see also para 32.7 ). The Committee's practice was to report weekly when the House is sitting. It hears evidence from time to time, usually in public. Following the UK's withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, the Government continued to deposit EU documents for scrutiny for the duration of an 11-month transition period. The number of documents deposited for scrutiny fell significantly at the end of the transition period but the European Scrutiny Committee continues to examine a narrower range of EU documents which engage the Protocol on Northern Ireland to the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement in addition to related matters. The procedures for the scrutiny of European Union matters are more fully described in Chapter 32.


  1. 1. See for example European Scrutiny Committee, Forty-ninth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 301-xlviii; for an example of a report from the Committee discussing wider issues arising from documents, see Nineteenth Report of Session 2017–19, EU Withdrawal: Transitional provisions and dispute resolution, HC 763.