Communications between the Lords and the Commons


9.16The modes of formal communication between the two Houses are: by message; by joint committees; and by select committees of both Houses communicating with each other (see paras 38.1 and 40.15 ). A further mode, that of a conference between the Houses, is now obsolete since its main function, that of providing an occasion for communicating reasons for disagreement to amendments to bills, has been taken over by the modern practice of sending messages.1

Only communication by message is considered in this section, as communication by joint committees and by select committees communicating with each other are more conveniently dealt with in the chapters on committees (Chapters 38, 40 and 41).


  1. 1. The last free conference (at which discussion was permitted) was in 1836, and its immediate predecessor in 1740. The last ordinary conference, when written communications were handed over without debate, was in 1860.