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The House of Lords. The House of Lords is the upper chamber of Great Britain’s bicameral legislature.

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The House of Lords

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The House of Lords is the upper chamber of Great Britain’s bicameral legislature.

Originating in the 11th century, when the Anglo-Saxon kings consulted witans composed of religious leaders and the monarch’s ministers, it emerged as a distinct element of Parliament in the 13th and 14th centuries.


The House of Lords consists of over 670 numbers .

  • Which includes :
  • Hereditary peers
  • Life peers
  • Law Lords consisting of the judges
  • Bishops

The Sovereign’s throne is in the House of Lords.

Queen sits on it once a year at opening of an annual session of Parliament.


Traditionally the House of Lords did not elect its own speaker, unlike the House of Commons; rather, the ex officio presiding officer was the Lord Chancellor.


This reform of the post of Lord Chancellor was made due to the perceived constitutional anomalies inherent in the role.

The Lord Chancellor was not only the Speaker of the House of Lords, but also a member of the Cabinet.


The powers of the modern House of Lords are extremely limited

  • The House of Lords’ powers are defined in the Parliament Act of 1911 and 1949

Under the 1911 act,all bills specified by the speaker of the House of Commons as money bills become law one month after being sent for consideration to the House of Lords.

  • Under the 1949 act, all other public bills not receiving the approval of the House of Lords become law provided that they are passed by two successive parliamentary sessions and that a period of one year has elapsed between the bill’s second reading in the first session and its third reading in the second session.

Despite these limitations, the House of Lords plays a significant role in Parliament.

  • The main functions are the revision and examination of bills from the House of Commons.
  • To become a law, a bill approved by both Houses, also needs Royal Assent, the signature of the Queen

Sometimes the House of Lords serves a valuable function by providing a national forum of debate free from the constraints of party discipline.

  • One of the oldest functions of the House of Lords is judicial.
  • It works as the highest and final Court of Appeal.
  • The Lords’ power consists of being able to delay non-financial bills foe a period of a few months.

In 1998 the Labour government of Tony Blair introduced legislation to deprive hereditary peers (by then numbering 750) of their 700-year-old right to sit and vote in the upper chamber.

  • A compromise, however, allowed 92 of them-who were elected by their fellow peers-to remain as temporary members.

The measure, which went into effect in late 1999, was seen as a prelude to wider reform, and in 2007 members of the House of Commons offered support for two separate proposals, one calling for the House of Lords to be 80-percent elected, the other 100-percent elected.