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Official Publications : Lords Papers and Bills

What are Lords Papers?

The House of Lords helps to shape legislation and can challenge the work of government.  In addition to considering bills, much of the Lords work is done through their Select Committees.   Most Committees are 'permanent'. i.e. the Committee retains the same overall name but explores different issues within its subject area, e.g. the EU Select Committee and the Science and Technology Committee.  Other Select Committees may be formed to scrutinise a single issue, e.g. Affordable Childcare or The Arctic

Links to all Lords Committees

What are Bills?

A Bill is a draft law, which needs to pass both the Commons and the Lords, then receive Royal Assent, in order to become an Act.  Not all Bills do become Acts.  A useful guide to the way a bill progresses through Parliament is available on their website.

To see how bills in the current parliament are progressing, see the Bills before Parliament page.

The research units of the Commons and the Lords produce very useful publications which discuss various topics, including government bills, see the Research Publications page.  


Finding Lords Papers and Bills

Members of the University can access two online full-text services (links below) which between them cover very old and more recent House of Lords documents.  The Parliament website offers free access to Bills and Select Committee Reports, most from 1996/97 onwards.

There is a 'gap' in the provision of online versions with regard to House of Lords papers and bills.  Their recent Committee reports and bills are well covered on the Parliament website.  Public Information Online (available to members of the University) has Lords papers from 1955/56 onwards and bills from 1956/57 onwards.  18th century Lords documents are part of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers service, but there is a paucity of online 19th and earlier 20th century Lords documents.  Some were re-printed in the Commons set, but not all.  Please ask for advice as necessary.

If you wish to consult printed Lords Papers and Bills, our complete set from 1956/57 onwards is currently in mobile shelving on level 3 of the Hartley Library.  We do have some older papers but our collection of those is very incomplete.   

If you don't have full details, including the parliamentary session and paper or bill numbers, you will first need to get that information.  The tools which will help you to do that vary depending on the time period. 

Do you need more help?

If you wish to know more about the way British Official Publications can support your research, please get in touch by emailing