One set of principles to rule them all? Parliamentary practices in France and the United Kingdom

by Marie-Elisabeth Boggio*

(2022) Oxford U Comparative L Forum 1 at ouclf.law.ox.ac.uk | How to cite this article

Abstract

This paper is a short overview of my research on parliamentary practices and the comparison I make between practices in the French Parliament and in the UK Parliament. We know that both are governed by written rules. On the one hand, the UK Houses of Parliament are run according to Standing Orders and certain Parliament Acts. On the other hand, the French Chambres are governed by Internal Rules and several organic laws which are enforced by the Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council). But these written rules are not enough to describe precisely and comprehensively the running of Parliaments: more rules are needed to govern the respective Houses/Chambres. These rules are unwritten and we call them “parliamentary practices”. This paper will describe the concept of “parliamentary practices”, a category on which little research has been carried out, at least in France. It will also explain the reason why a comparison between France and the United Kingdom might be of interest on this topic. Finally, there will be a comparative study of some practices to demonstrate their significance for parliamentary proceedings in both countries.

I. What are parliamentary practices and why is a comparative study fruitful?

This section will begin with a definition of the concept of parliamentary practices, explaining their main characteristics. I will then offer some explanations about the nature of parliamentary practices and elucidate upon the main interests of this comparison.

A. Some basic elements of definition

Parliamentary practices are unwritten rules which enforce behaviours within the respective Chambres or Houses. These rules apply to everything happening in both the French and UK Parliaments and to anyone participating in parliamentary work. In other words, they are imposed on Members of Parliament and Députés, Lords and Sénateurs, Ministers or Members of the Cabinet and Ministres or Membres du Gouvernement, civil servants and fonctionnaires etc.. They are created within the Parliaments: sometimes they are proposed by the Speaker or a Member of Parliament, and sometimes they have applied for so long that their origin is unknown. They are very special rules indeed. The following describes more precisely their special features.

First, parliamentary practices are unwritten, and they cannot be found in any law or Act. This makes research more difficult but also more interesting for a jurist. The practices that will be discussed below were found in the Parliamentary reports or during interviews with Members of the Houses/Chambres. Some appear in handbooks like Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice or Avril and Gicquel’s Droit parlementaire in France.[1] I have systematically compared what happens in the Parliaments with what is specified in the Standing Orders or the French Chambres’ Internal Rules and found that certain behaviours are regulated by practices which ignore or break any written rules on the subject.

Second, these rules are not enforced by legal sanctions or penalties. However, even in the absence of sanctions, in most cases they have been applied consistently for many years. If anyone intends to break one of these practices, the only consequence will be social disapproval from the other Members and especially the Speaker or Président de la Chambre. Most of the time, this criticism will be enough to discourage later violations. We shall return to this point further below, but it points to the fact that research on parliamentary practices is connected to research on parliamentary socialisation and associated social phenomena.

Finally, there is an important question we must tackle before describing the precise content of parliamentary practices. A common question is whether parliamentary practices in the UK are constitutional conventions. This is a very interesting question which requires some further development. Both concepts are very close indeed: neither involves legal sanctions, both are unwritten, both are concerned with constitutional law and the running of the institutions, and neither are enforced by courts – although the House of Lords/UK Supreme Court has claimed several times that they could be taken into account when making a ruling.[2] But it seems that the ancient definition of constitutional conventions as “understandings, habits, or practices which, though they may regulate the […] conduct of the several Members of the sovereign power […] are not in reality laws at all since they are not enforced by the courts” might prevent us from characterising parliamentary practices as constitutional conventions.[3] Indeed, according to Dicey, conventions would only be made for the sovereign power and thus, Ministers. Yet, parliamentary practices are applied by every member of Parliament and not only Members of the Cabinet. In addition to the fact that parliamentary practices differ from constitutional conventions in this way, the definition itself does not even apply to all conventions. For example, there are conventions related to the conduct of the Speaker or the Shadow leader, neither of whom are members of the Cabinet.

According to Woodhouse, conventions are rather “non legal constitutional rules established by custom and practice, precedent and prescription” and they can “govern the relationship between most constitutional actors including the Queen and the Government, Cabinet and the Prime Minister, the Government and Parliament, the two houses of Parliament […]”.[4] This recent definition looks more relevant and suitable as a description of what constitutional conventions are. Modern authors always give a similar definition, as broad as this one. For example, Barber describes conventions as “non legal rules which shape and direct the ways in which constitutional power is exercised within the state”, and this definition can include the Monarch, as well as Ministers or Members of Parliament.[5]

With this wider definition, we can thus consider parliamentary practices to be a special type of constitutional convention: i.e., they form a particular category of conventions. They are special because they enforce more specific behaviours than broader rules like the Salisbury or Sewel Convention, for example. Barber also makes this distinction and states there are two categories of conventions. Some are broad commitments related to the structure and the functioning of the Constitution, and define “the constitutional ideology of the state”, while others are “direct assertions about morally, or prudentially, correct courses of action”.[6] Indeed, Parliamentary practices indicate to MPs the way to talk or to dress inside the Houses, when they can ask a question, make a statement, the way to participate in debates, in divisions etc.. These practices draw specific social and political rules that are not general rules setting out how the State can be ruled. Once parliamentary practices are characterised as a special category of constitutional conventions, their nature ceases to be a problem for British jurists, but it remains one for French lawyers.

B. A British solution to a French problem

As discussed above, the relationship between constitutional conventions and parliamentary practices is not a problem for British jurists. According to Wheare, conventions are rules of political behaviour “accepted as obligatory by those concerned”.[7] Barber has pointed out that their social nature is an important characteristic too, since it explains why members of a community trust that they are authoritative.[8] Indeed, once the majority of the community is convinced that the rule has a good and necessary impact on constitutional business, every breach of the rule will raise criticism. This is what encourages members of the community to respect conventions. This social nature of parliamentary practices is a particularly interesting idea: it confirms there is actual parliamentary socialisation, with its proper codes and rules, as already demonstrated by sociologists and jurists alike.[9] As a result, the non-legal but social and political nature of conventions is not in doubt. However, constitutional conventions are an essential part of the UK constitution even if they are not legal rules. There is no need to demonstrate this here since there is already doctrinal consensus on this question. If this looks simple and natural for British jurists, this is not the case for French scholars; or rather, it is considered understandable when talking about English law, but would not seem applicable to French law.

For French jurists, constitutional rules must be legal rules. Political rules or social rules, like conventions between Parliament and the Government or parliamentary practices, are just political agreements that do not deserve the jurist’s interest. Defining and studying parliamentary practices poses a serious issue. This could explain why parliamentary law is seen as a secondary branch of French constitutional law. In most cases, articles on the subject do not even define practices, they only explain what practices do. This disregard for political rules is still strong today, but some scholars have sought to call it into question in order to have a holistic vision of what constitutional business actually is. For example, Avril tried some years ago to introduce the idea of constitutional conventions into French constitutional law.[10] Nevertheless, conventions have unfortunately remained a very British concept which has failed to penetrate into the French constitutional framework.

However, there is now a new way of thinking about what can be a source of rules especially when it comes to constitutional law. Some Professors from the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas created the School of Political Law (Droit politique) and tried to include non-legal rules when thinking about constitutional law. This new school of thought follows the same goal as Avril: French constitutional lawyers should theoretically accept that legal rules are insufficient for describing what political and institutional actors do. This school of thought is still in a minority, but it exists and underlines the fact that it is legitimate to recognise the importance of parliamentary practices and study them. What the School of Political Law tries to do is simply what is natural to the foundations of constitutional thought in the United Kingdom. But for French jurists, this is still a new and innovative approach and that is what makes its study very interesting. With these developments, we see how precious a comparative approach could be: it allows for a better theoretical comprehension of certain concepts that can only come to light within the context of comparative law.

C. The interest in a comparative study

This study of parliamentary practices holds many different interests. In most recent French parliamentary studies, parliamentary practices are often only hastily and briefly described. As observed above, this owes a lot to the specificities of French legal culture. This ignorance is a problem when it comes to understanding actual parliamentary procedure. Contrary to popular thinking, the French Parliament sees many practices being used every day and we cannot have complete knowledge of how Parliament functions if these practices remain unknown. For this purpose, my research brings to light these unknown rules and illustrates how they should hold much interest for jurists. My aim is not to say everything that must be said about practices, but modestly to give them a greater place in French parliamentary studies. On the contrary, UK parliamentary practices are discussed in books and articles (even in the media), so they are much better known than in France. Furthermore, their nature and their significance for parliamentary debates are now well established. This paper’s interest for British jurists centres around its comparative aspect, which is not often considered by research in the UK about parliamentary practices. In particular, it allows certain dimensions of these rules to be identified and understood.

In addition to these theoretical interests, this research aims at improving general understanding of national Parliaments. The UK and French Parliaments, as institutions, are often considered weak and ineffective in the face of Government. The study of practices shows us a different side of these Parliaments, whereby they are involved in creating unwritten rules to improve their autonomy and to improve the efficiency of legislative work and ensure a better balance between the interests of the Members of Parliament. I am convinced that a better knowledge of Parliament and the specificities of this special institution can contribute to reducing the contempt it can face from parts of the public.

Comparison is one of the main aspects of this research. Finding practices in the UK Parliament is something that can be expected in a country of common law tradition. But finding practices in the French Parliament, where there is a Roman law tradition, shows that a specific legal tradition is not a prerequisite for unwritten rules to appear and thrive. This allows us to suppose that practices are a universal matter for every Parliament, regardless of a country’s legal tradition. The success of a comparison between the UK and France suggests that further comparative studies with other countries would also be fruitful. For now, this comparison demonstrates practices are frequently similar, regardless of the judicial culture and tradition. This is interesting because the Parliaments in France and the United Kingdom have very different workings and traditions. Not only are some of their practices similar, but we can also see that practices always seem to have the same purposes in both Parliaments. Technically, or in terms of procedure, practices are always there to enable more flexibility in parliamentary procedure, and to allow for experimentation before a potential codification. Substantially, their purpose is to extend or rebalance speaking times, but also to create new prerogatives for Members of Parliament.

Now that we know more about the nature of parliamentary practices, the time has come to discover what they entail in practical terms.

II. What do parliamentary practices actually do?

The following will not be a long list of all practices. Instead, it will draw a comparison between some of the most significant practices in France and the UK. Before beginning, it is important to make a distinction between the two sorts of practices we find in both Parliaments. Parliamentary practices always have the same purposes: either they complete, amend, or divert written rules, or they create, on their own, new rules without connection to written acts or laws. On the one hand, certain practices are correction tools for the Standing Orders or French Internal Rules because the written law is seen as inadequate, incomplete, or irrelevant by Members of Parliament. These practices are not self-sustaining, they are correcting something which already exists. Their purpose lies in the written law. On the other hand, we find practices which are totally autonomous with respect to written rules. These are formed to create rules which do not exist in written acts and could probably not exist in them. We will follow this distinction when considering some practices.

A. Parliamentary practices as correction tools for written rules

There are two main ways to modify written rules. First, we will see the practice of completing written rules. Second, we will study a practice which diverts the purpose of a written rule.

1. A practice completing a written rule in the House of Commons: the creation of a response time for answers to written questions

In the UK House of Commons, oral questions are asked by MPs to Ministers on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. These are relatively well-known events, even for non-jurists. These are answered orally by Ministers every day after passing a ballot selection. Besides these questions which have oral answers, there are questions which are answered in writing, which often go unnoticed because they are more discrete. These are a much-used tool by MPs because they do not have to be selected by ballot and so MPs may ask more questions and may have more answers. Questions for written answers are mentioned several times in the Standing Order for Public Business 2021. But these dispositions only provide certain rules related to tabled questions for written answers on a day on which the House does not sit because of the continuance of a previous sitting.[11] Point 22 (3) also provides that Members may indicate a date for an answer on the notice of their questions. These are called “named day” questions. Each Member may not table more than five named day questions a day.[12] Ministers must answer the named day questions on the day indicated on the notice. However, not all questions for written answers are named day questions. Many questions do not indicate a day for their answer and, in this case, there are no written rules which might require that MPs receive answers promptly. Instead, there is only a practice which provides that Ministers must answer the questions “within a working week”. This practice is systematically observed by Ministers in the House of Commons without any breach or attempt to breach.[13] The comparison with the French rules on this subject is very interesting. The French Assemblée Nationale had to codify a similar norm in its Internal Rules in order to ensure its Members receive a prompt written answer to questions. In this regard, a mere practice was insufficient and prior to the codification of a norm in the Internal Rules in 1995, it would take Ministers several months to deliver written answers.[14] Now, article 135 of the Internal Rules of the Assemblée Nationale provides that Ministers have two months to answer before the question is automatically converted into an oral question. However, Ministers often do not meet the deadlines, which means that the questions become oral ones.

We have just seen a UK practice which completes a written rule in the Standing Order. In fact, the practice adds a disposition which is seen as necessary by Members of Parliament. We might wonder about the non-codification of this rule. The UK example shows us why codification is not always necessary. If the rule is perfectly and systematically applied in the House without any breach or attempted breach, why would a codification be necessary? By contrast, the French Assemblée Nationale failed to enforce a similar rule without codifying it, and this resulted in the practice being codified. However, even this codification was insufficient. How can we explain this difference between both Parliaments? Maybe the answer to this question is to be found in the fundamental rules on which both parliamentary systems are based. In France, Ministers cannot also be Members of Parliament and so are less present in the Chambre than is the case in Westminster, where Members of Cabinet are only very rarely not Members of Parliament. There is no doubt that being more present in the House allows Ministers and their assistants to answer questions more quickly and systematically, but this presence also forces them to respect this rule to avoid complaints and blame from the Parliamentary Opposition. In France, Ministers are present in the Chambres only for the questions au Gouvernement (questions to the Government) and when they are proposing a Bill. This means they do not dedicate much time to Parliament and there is no similar pressure to make answers to written questions a priority.

2. A practice diverting a written rule from its initial purpose: the “points of order” or “rappels au Règlement”

After this first UK practice of completing a written rule, we will now see another practice which diverts the content of a written rule. A “diverted rule” is a written rule whose content is used to complete a different purpose than that originally intended by the rule. By way of illustration, the following practice is the same in France and the United Kingdom. This consists in using a procedure called a “Point of Order” or “rappel au Règlement” to raise a breach of the Standing Orders or Internal Rules during debates. The point is that MPs often use this procedure to make statements on topics other than actual breaches of proceedings, and often even on topics external to the Parliaments: it could be about a national or international political event; a criticism about governmental action on a distinct matter; or more generally about public reaction to recent events. MPs use this procedure because it has some interesting special features. In both Parliaments, the “Point of order” or “rappel au Règlement” is a very protected procedure which grants every Member the right to interrupt a debate and make a speech on a violation of proceedings at any time and as often as they want. When this rule is diverted, it offers MPs many opportunities to express themselves on any political matter. The following will illustrate how the practice is very similar in both Parliaments, although they do have some distinct features.

French Internal Rules provide that “rappels au Règlement” are to be used only to call the attention of the Chambre’s Président to violations of the debates’ proceedings. However, in practice, Members of Parliament raise “rappels au Règlement” to draw the Ministers’ attention to recent events or to criticise the Government’s action on a specific matter. In an informal note of the French Senate, they are called “rappel au Règlement-questions d’actualité” which means “points of order- questions to minister”.[15] These diverted points of order procedures are strictly forbidden in the Internal Rules of both Chambres of the French Parliament.[16] The relevant articles provide that the Présidents shall interrupt the orators as soon as they begin to talk about a matter other than a breach of proceedings. However, in practice, the Présidents let the orators speak about what they want and refuse to enforce the Internal Rules. It happens every day in the French Parliament but there are some very famous examples where this practice has had a significant impact on parliamentary work. During the crisis of the “Benalla Case”,[17] or even during the vote on the extension of the sanitary state of emergency,[18] the multiplication of these diverted “rappels au Règlement” created significant parliamentary obstruction and even recesses or suspensions of debates. Yet, for many Members of Parliament and academics, these are an essential way for French MPs to express themselves in the face of an all too powerful Government.

In the House of Commons too, there are “points of order”. These are mentioned briefly in the Standing Orders,[19] but they are described by the glossary on the UK Parliament Website as “appeals to the Chair or Speaker for clarification or for a ruling on a matter of procedure in the House of Commons.”[20] As in France, points of order are often used to raise certain political matters or issues of public debate. These are called by the Speakers of the House “fraudulent points of order”. Though Speakers have condemned them many times and asked MPs to stop raising these diverted points of order, they continue to be raised often.[21] The procedure for points of order grants the MP who uses it a right to be heard. The Speaker cannot interrupt the MP if he did not explain the breach of procedure he wants to raise. The Speaker often allows the MP to finish a speech before telling him that his point of order was fraudulent and demanding that he not do it again. But these Speaker orders do not actually prevent MPs from making political points of order.

If the mechanism is broadly similar in both Parliaments, the role of the Speaker and Président de la Chambre is not the same. At least on the face of things, the UK Speaker seems to be more severe than the French Présidents des Chambres. Arguably, we can explain the behaviour of the French Présidents des Chambres by the special approach that the framers of the French Constitution chose to apply to the parliamentary system in 1958. The rationalisation of Parliament does not allow many opportunities for French MPs to express their opposition, and Présidents des Chambres choose to offset this imbalance by clearly authorising misuses of the Internal Rules. A practical consequence of the rationalisation of Parliament is the number of question times per week in the French Parliament. There are only two question times per week in the Assemblée Nationale,[22] and only one question time per week in the French Senate.[23] Compared to the situation in the UK Parliament, there is a real difference since both Houses have question times every day except on Fridays.[24] The small number of question times in the French Chambres encourages the Présidents des Chambres to automatically authorise points of order which are actually questions to Ministers, to compensate for the lack of official question times. On the contrary, the Westminster Speaker is apparently stricter with “fraudulent points of orders”, since they feel that this kind of intervention can be made during one of the many question times.[25]

It is now time to see practices which do not modify written rules but create rules of their own.

B. Autonomous practices creating norms without modifying written rules

These practices have two main purposes. The first is to ensure a balance between the power of parliamentary actors. The other is to create new opportunities for MPs to express themselves.

1. A practice addressing the balance between parties and powers: the Speaker of the House / Président de la Chambre does not vote

On this first topic, there are practices which give more power to some special actors, such as members of the parliamentary opposition and others, and which prohibit certain behaviour on the part of Ministers and members of the governing party. However, the following will focus on a practice that is designed for Speakers of the House or Présidents de la Chambre. This unwritten rule demands of him or her a particular approach regarding voting in order to ensure impartiality. The practice is rather similar in both Parliaments, although it is more precisely supervised in the House of Commons. In France, there is no written rule forbidding the Président de la Chambre from voting. Nevertheless, they almost never vote. There have been only seven violations of this practice since 1958, and every time the Présidents in question felt they had to explain their motivations and sometimes apologise.[26] These reactions show us there is a sense of obligation in this practice, even though it is not a written rule or enforced by the Parliaments’ authorities. The Standing Orders of the House of Commons say nothing on the issue of the Speaker of the House voting. There is no written rule which allows or prohibits him or her from voting. There is, however, a strict practice regulating the vote of the Speaker. As Griffith and Ryle’s handbook or Erskine May: Parliamentary practice attest, Speakers or Deputy Speakers should not vote.[27] But there are certain situations in which the Speaker or his or her deputies may have to vote under a very clear unwritten rule. When there is a tie between votes, the Speaker must make what is called a “casting vote”. This “casting vote” is regulated by strict practices, which have always been systematically applied by each Speaker for at least a century and a half. There are three rules regulating this casting vote. First, whenever possible the Speaker must vote in a way that allows a debate to be continued. This means that in the first or second reading of a Bill, the Speaker must vote “yes”/”aye” in order to allow the debate to resume after the vote. This rule was created by Speaker Henry Addington in 1796.[28] Second, when debate cannot be resumed, then the Speaker must vote “no”, so a decision will not be taken without a majority. This principle was stated by Speaker John Evelyn Denison in 1861.[29] Finally, when it is a casting vote on an amendment, the Speaker must always vote “no”, since a change in a Bill should not be made without a clear majority. This rule was also a creation of Speaker John Evelyn Denison in 1860.[30] On this issue, we see that the UK practice is stricter than the French rule, but the purpose is the same. It is a matter of the impartiality for the Speaker of the House or Président de la Chambre to ensure that decisions taken by the House or by the Chambre reflect the MPs’ actual opinion. The office of Speaker of the House or Président de la Chambre is significant on both juridical and symbolic levels, and he or she should not exhibit political opinions which could create an imbalance between the majority and the opposition, at the disadvantage of the latter.[31] This is why his or her vote is strictly regulated by practices in both Parliaments. We can conclude that this rule has not been codified because it is applied consistently enough without the need for codification. This practice gives us a good example of an unwritten rule that was created to ensure balance between parties and MPs within Parliaments. It is now time to see the other main purpose pursued by autonomous practices.

2. A practice allowing MPs to express themselves: end-session debates in French Chambres

The other purpose of these autonomous practices is to give MPs, especially from the opposition, new opportunities to express themselves. This time we will see a French practice for which there is an equivalent in UK practice.

French Internal Rules only provide that the session is closed by a statement of the Président de la Chambre, and that the Chambre recesses until the beginning of the new session.[32] However, since 1965, on the last day of each session, a real debate takes place about the session which has just ended between the Président de la Chambre, leaders of the opposition and Ministers. This debate is an opportunity for MPs to criticise the behaviour of Ministers towards Parliament, but also to make demands about the next session and its agenda. This debate relies entirely on a practice, but it systematically takes place every year and it is considered by MPs as an essential phase of the session’s cloture. Former Président of the Assemblée Nationale, François de Rugy, said that this tradition is very sensible and necessary as it is not provided in the Internal Rules.[33] Morin defines these end-session speeches as a “new way of parliamentary expression” allowing an actual debate about constitutional and political issues between Members of Parliament and Ministers.[34] This is just one example of practices which create new occasions for MPs to express themselves. While it is not included in the written rules, it is a significant example because these “end session speeches”, as they are called, have a strong political and juridical interest for French MPs.

In the House of Commons, there is a similar mechanism which takes place not at the end of the session but every week. Every Thursday, directly after question time, the Leader of the House announces the order of business for the coming week in response to an urgent question from the Shadow Leader. This statement on forthcoming business is actually an opportunity for MPs to ask many supplementary questions or make statements about any matter they wish. The Chair thus dedicates between half an hour and one hour to this improvised debate. It allows a spontaneous debate and thus gives MPs, especially opposition MPs, another chance to speak. There is nothing about this procedure in the Standing Orders, so the only rules that oversee it are actually practices.[35] These practices in the French and UK Parliaments create significant new possibilities for MPs to speak and debate with the Government about the way business is managed in the Parliaments, outside of those opportunities provided by the Standing Orders or Internal Rules.

III. Conclusion

In the foregoing, it has been demonstrated that parliamentary practices are important rules for understanding Parliaments. The above few examples of parliamentary practices in both France and the UK help us to understand that these unwritten rules have a great impact on day-to-day parliamentary proceedings and that they pursue the same global purposes: granting MPs certain rights and improving the opportunities they have for expressing themselves. These developments will appear very obvious to most English readers with some knowledge on this subject, but these phenomena are not so well known to French jurists due to the lack of work on parliamentary practices in France.

Furthermore, the second interest of this paper is to demonstrate that parliamentary practices are not only reflections of the constitutional tradition or system of each country. They are also a common language of both Parliaments that modify written rules or contribute to parliamentary socialisation. Parliamentary practices, as a specific category of constitutional conventions, do not only exist in common law countries, since we found parliamentary practices with similar goals and features in the French Parliament, a Roman law tradition country. It would be interesting to extend this research to other practices and other Parliaments in order to expand and consolidate our understanding in this area.

Endnotes

* Master 2 Droit Constitutionnel et droits fondamentaux, Université Paris I (Sorbonne); doctorante contractuelle, Université Orléans; Academic Visitor, Institute of European and Comparative Law, University of Oxford, Michaelmas Term 2021. I would like to thank the reviewers and the readers of the Forum for their comments and their careful corrections and I am particularly indebted to Professor Birke Häcker for her support.

  1. Pierre Avril, Jean Gicquel, Jean-Eric Gicquel, Droit parlementaire (6th edn, LDGJ-L’Extenso 2021).
  2. See British Coal Corporation v The King (1935) A.C. 500; Attorney General v Jonathan Cape Ltd [1976] 1 QB 752; Madzimbamuto v Lardner-Burke [1969] 1 AC 645; Court of Session, Imperial Tobacco v Lord Advocate 2012 SC 297 and R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2017] UKSC 5, at 141.
  3. Albert Venn Dicey, Introduction to the study of the Law of the Constitution, (first published 1915, Macmillan 1961) 24.
  4. Peter Cane and Joanne Conaghan, The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford University Press 2008) < https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199290543.001.0001/acref-9780199290543-e-459?rskey=WR9dBp&result=445> accessed 13 December 2021.
  5. Nick Barber, The United Kingdom Constitution, an introduction (Oxford University Press 2021) 93.
  6. Ibid. 98.
  7. Ibid. 100.
  8. Ibid. 102.
  9. On this topic, see particularly Michael Rush and Philip James Giddings, Parliamentary socialisation, Learning the ropes or determining behaviour? (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and Olivier Rozenberg, « La possibilité d’une île parlementaire : une anthropologie historique et matérielle de l’Assemblée nationale », [2015] Revue française de science politique, vol. 2015/5 65, 915.
  10. Pierre Avril, Les Conventions de la Constitution, (Presses Universitaires de France 1997).
  11. Standing Orders public business 2021, 21 (3).
  12. Standing Orders public business 2021, 22 (4) b.
  13. Erskine May: parliamentary practice (24th edn, LexisNexis Butterworths 2011) 355 and Robert Blackburn, Andrew Kennon and Michael Wheeler-Booth, Griffith and Ryle Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures, (2nd edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2002) 362, 527.
  14. Anne Levade, “Assemblée nationale : le plafond des questions écrites remis en question (le Club des juristes, 21 September 2020 <https://blog.leclubdesjuristes.com/assemblee-nationale-plafond-questions-remis-en-question/> accessed 4 November 2021.
  15. See <https://www.senat.fr/fileadmin/Fichiers/Images/seance/vademecum_1_rappel_reglement.pdf> accessed 4 November 2021.
  16. Article 36 of the Internal Rules of the French Senate and article 58 of the Internal Rules of the Assemblée Nationale.
  17. Parliamentary reports of sittings on July 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd 2018 (about the Benalla case) are very representative of the risk posed by the multiplication of “Rappels au Règlement”.
  18. 15th Parliament, Ordinary session 2020-2021, Second sitting on Tuesday, November 3rd, 8801 and following.
  19. Standing Order for Public Business, 2021, resolution of 21 April 2021, (1).
  20. <https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/point-of-order/> accessed 7 November 2021.
  21. For example HC deb. 1986-1987, (106), cc 271-272.
  22. Article 133 of the Internal Rules of the Assemblée Nationale provides that the Présidents ’ Conference can set up as many questions times per week it wants, but traditionally there are always only been two questions times per week since 1974.
  23. As Article 75 bis of the Internal Rules of the French Senate provides.
  24. Standing Order for Public Business 2021, 21 (1).
  25. As Speaker Weatherill recalled it on November 26th 1986, see HC. 1986-1987, (106), cc 271-272.
  26. Pierre Avril, Jean Gicquel and Jean-Eric Gicquel, Droit parlementaire, (6th edn, LDGJ-L’Extenso 2021) 19.
  27. Erskine May: parliamentary practice (24th edn, LexisNexis Butterworths 2011) 420 and Robert Blackburn, Andrew Kennon and Michael Wheeler-Booth, Griffith and Ryle Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures, (2nd edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2002) 293, 294.
  28. Colchester i, 57; CJ (1795-96) 764; ibid (1979-80) 350-51.
  29. CJ (1861) 282; Denison 94; CJ (1867) 395; ibid (1975-76) 359.
  30. CJ (1860) 235.
  31. Georges Bergougnous, La présidence des assemblée parlementaires nationales, étude comparative, (Union interparlementaire Genève, 1997) 92.
  32. Article 60 of the Internal Rules of the Assemblée nationale.
  33. 15th Parliament, ordinary session 2017-2018, Tuesday June 26th 2018, Journal Officiel n°77 of June 27th 2018, p. 6710.
  34. Michel Morin, “Le discours de fin de session dans les assemblées parlementaires sous la Vème République” [1982] Pouvoirs, 20, 155.
  35. Erskine May: parliamentary practice (24th edn, LexisNexis Butterworths 2011) 50, 333 and Robert Blackburn, Andrew Kennon and Michael Wheeler-Booth, Griffith and Ryle Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures, (2nd edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2002) 531.