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Lord Speaker’s Statement

Volume 806: debated on Tuesday 6 October 2020


My Lords, the Hybrid Sitting of the House will now resume. Before I call the noble Lord, Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, to ask address the Private Notice Question on Post Office prosecutions, I should inform the House that the Question concerns the Post Office’s decision not to challenge the forthcoming appeals in 44 cases that are pending in the Court of Appeal. As the House will be aware, part of my role is to decide whether, in specific circumstances, it is appropriate to waive the application of the sub judice rule, under which we do not debate matters pending the courts. I have decided that, in this case, it is right to do so. This is a rare step and one that I do not take without advice and thoughtful consideration.

I have taken the view that it is in the public interest for the House to be able to consider this matter, given that it is known that the appeals will not be contested. It is relevant to my decision that, yesterday, Mr Speaker took a similar decision to allow an Urgent Question on the same topic in the House of Commons. In taking this decision, I ask all noble Lords to exercise their normal caution about referring to individual cases and to avoid referring to the minority of cases that remain contested.