House of Lords

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

House of Lords

in the constitutional law of the UK, one of the two chambers of Parliament, the other being the HOUSE OF COMMONS. It is composed of Lords Spiritual, being the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other senior bishops. Until 1999 the rest of the membership was predominantly made up of hereditary peers of whom there were several hundred but very few of whom actually sat. The majority of the peers in attendance are the life peers and peeresses. There are over three hundred such peers. The Speaker of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor. At the end of the 1998-99 session, in accordance with Section 1 of the House of Lords Act 1999, 655 hereditary peers ceased to be members of the House while, under Section 2, 90 hereditary peers, the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain remained as members for their lifetime or until a subsequent Act provides otherwise. This change had the effect of reducing the total membership of the House from 1,330 in October 1999 to 669 in March 2000. A Royal Commission reported in 2000, and further reform to democratize and modernize the House seems inevitable. The House reviews legislation in often impressive debates. It can delay legislation, initiate non-controversial legislation and scrutinizes legislation of the EUROPEAN UNION.

The House of Lords is also the highest court in the land, although not in respect of criminal matters in Scotland where there is no appeal from the HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY (although the same individual law lords sitting on the constitutionally different Board of the PRIVY COUNCIL now can reverse the High Court on devolution issues, which may include human rights matters such as that to a fair trial). To make sure that there is an adequate number of sufficiently qualified persons to carry out this task, it has been possible since 1876 to appoint Law Lords.

HOUSE OF LORDS. Eng. law. The English lords, temporal and spiritual, when taken collectively and forming a branch of the parliament, are called the House of Lords.
     2. Its assent is required to all laws. As a court of justice, it tries all impeachments.

References in periodicals archive ?
Remember that the House of Lords is "packed" with experienced ex-MPs and ex-Cabinet ministers.
Opposition leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, stated, "An apology is sufficient for a minor discourtesy.
She has, like other hard-working and committed baronesses and lords, been at the House of Lords until 1am for voting, showin g nothing other than 100 per cent commitment to this honourable role.
The House of Lords is an affront to democracy, and it is embarrassing for us all that these PS300-a-day, unelected peers are lawmakers in any 21st-century country.
The Lord Speaker has then informed Baroness Pinnock that he will be laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the House of Lords and this will be for the first time.
And he said members of the House of Lords who failed to attend should be removed.
The House of Lords inquiry, however, has barred MPs such as Mrs Spelman from taking part, on the grounds that while she represents constituents who are affected - for example, because the proposed line will run close to their home or business - she is not personally directly affected.
As a member of Girlguiding, I was particularly interested in raising the status of women in Parliament, especially in the House of Lords.
The scandal had fuelled criticisms the unelected House of Lords is out of touch and should be scrapped.
Commentators said his case would spur calls to overhaul the House of Lords, a chamber which with over 800 members critics say is becoming too big because of the sitting prime minister's right to regularly swell its ranks with political appointees.
In the statement released by the House of Lords on Tuesday, he said he had terminated his membership of the chamber.
The House of Commons and The House of Lords are currently reviewing all individual contracts in order to match requirements and time frames for tendering processes with a view to putting in place joint contracts.