House of Lords

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5.27The current version of the House of Lords Code of Conduct was adopted on 30 November 2009, and the latest edition, which incorporates a series of amendments agreed by the House over time, was published in July 2020.1 An accompanying Guide to the Code of Conduct was adopted on 16 March 2010 and the latest version was published with the Code in July 2020.2 The Code applies to all Members of the House of Lords who are not: (a) on leave of absence; (b) suspended from the service of the House; or (c) subject to statutory disqualification. However, all current and retired Members are subject to the provisions of paragraph 17 of the Code (standards of conduct) and paragraph 113 of the Guide (use of facilities and services) when on the parliamentary estate or using the facilities of Parliament, regardless of their membership status.

The stated purpose of the Code is: (a) to provide guidance for Members of the House of Lords on the standards of conduct expected of them in the discharge of their parliamentary duties; and (b) to provide the openness and accountability necessary to reinforce public confidence in the way in which Members of the House of Lords perform their parliamentary duties. The Code does not extend to their performance of duties unrelated to parliamentary proceedings, or to their private lives, except for the bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct provisions (where there is a slightly wider scope of ‘parliamentary duties and activities’) and in cases where a Lords Member is sentenced to imprisonment.3 Members of the House of Lords sign an undertaking to abide by the Code as part of the ceremony of taking the oath upon introduction and at the start of each Parliament.4

Footnotes

  1. 1. See www.parliament.uk/hl-code. For the previous Code of Conduct, agreed in 2001, see HL Deb (2001–02) 626, cc 630–87 and 1849–1862. For practice before 2001, see Erskine May (22nd edn, 1997), pp 448–50.
  2. 2. Ibid.
  3. 3. Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Lords, para 3(a). For further details about the treatment of Lords Members sentenced to imprisonment, see para 5.38.
  4. 4. Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Lords, para 4.