46.12Any Lords Member may move an instruction to the committee considering a bill. Instructions may be given to a select committee on a bill or, on occasion, to an unopposed bill committee.1 Instructions are moved after second reading, often but not necessarily on the same day. They should not fetter the discretion of the committee in dealing with the bill; hence instructions of a mandatory nature, for example ordering the committee to amend the bill in a particular way, are not generally made by the House,2 though instances of this type of instruction have occurred.3

Instructions to direct the committee to have regard to matters which would in any event be considered by it (either under standing orders or because they are raised in a petition against the bill) have been refused by the House.4 The Senior Deputy Speaker is required by Standing Order 93 to call the House's attention to any instruction to authorise or require a committee to make an amendment to the bill which in their opinion could not have been proposed by the promoters except on a petition for additional provision (see para 44.3 ). Nowadays, the more usual type of instruction may be said to have been of a cautionary nature. For example, the committee on a bill has been instructed not to grant certain powers unless satisfied that certain matters of public policy (eg food production) have been adequately safeguarded, or that certain objections of a public nature have been considered.5


  1. 1. London Transport Bill, LJ (1979–80) 1103; Severn-Trent Water Authority Bill, ibid (1982–83) 283 (this Bill was subsequently committed to a select committee). See also Leeds City Council Bill, Reading Borough Council Bill, Canterbury City Council Bill and Nottingham City Council Bill and a motion, agreed after a debate, for an instruction to the select committee to which the bills were committed, HL Minutes of Proceedings, 19 October 2010.
  2. 2. St Mildred's Churchyard Bill, HL Deb (1925) 60, c 501.
  3. 3. Manchester Corporation Bill, LJ (1961–62) 103. For further examples see Erskine May (21st edn, 1989), p 935.
  4. 4. Esso Petroleum Company Bill, LJ (1960–61) 33; Clywedog Reservoir Joint Authority Bill, ibid (1962–63) 163.
  5. 5. Hailsham Cattle Market Bill, HL Deb (1997–98) 581, c 1646. For earlier examples see Erskine May (21st edn, 1989), p 935.