August 2015

Committee Updates for August 2015

English Votes for English Laws

Our constitutional law committee submitted two briefings on the UK Government’s EVEL proposals to change the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.  Due to the speed of the developing debate and the fast moving political environment, our briefings focussed on the fact that the changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons were of considerable importance. The debate has swiftly developed into a major constitutional issue. 

We detailed the legal questions arising from the proposed changes to the standing orders, and in particular on the role of the Speaker in deciding whether or not a particular bill would constitute an English or English and Welsh law for these purposes.  The decision to be taken by the Speaker would involve an assessment on whether or not the law in question constituted an English only or English and Welsh law, and whether or not it concerned matters that are devolved elsewhere in the UK.   Whether a bill applies only to England is not simply determined by looking at the extent provisions, it requires a significant constitutional and legal assessment of the measure, how it may operate in practice and what its legal effect might be.

Read our briefings