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40.45Investigative select committees examine issues of public importance within their orders of reference and make reports on the basis of the evidence received. The investigative committees are the Built Environment Committee, Communications and Digital Committee, Economic Affairs Committee, Environment and Climate Change Committee, European Affairs Committee, Industry and Regulators Committee, International Relations and Defence Committee, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, National Security Strategy Committee, Public Services Committee, and Science and Technology Committee. The Constitution Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights undertake both legislative and investigative work. The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee may also conduct broad inquiries from time to time.

From 1993 it became usual for at least one additional special inquiry committee (known until 2019 as an ‘ad hoc committee’)A1 to be appointed each session on a subject of general interest. Since 2014 four special inquiry committees have been appointed each session, including at least one appointed to conduct post-legislative scrutiny.1


  1. 1. Liaison Committee, First Report of Session 2013–14, HL 145; LJ (2013–14) 1654. In Session 2012–13, three special inquiry committees were appointed. In Session 2013–14, three special inquiry committees were appointed for the full session, and two short special inquiry committees were appointed on a trial basis, one lasting around six months, followed by another lasting around five months. The trial was not repeated. In Session 2017–19, four special inquiry committees were appointed with orders to report by 31 March 2018 (Minutes of Proceedings, 29 June 2017) and a second tranche of four special inquiry committees were appointed for the remainder of that session (Minutes of Proceedings, 9 May 2018).
  2. A1. The name was changed by Liaison Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2017–19, HL 309.