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House of Lords Reform Act 2014

Section 3: Conviction of serious offence

23.Subsection (1) states that a member of the House of Lords who is convicted of a serious offence ceases to be a member of the House. The section is similar, although not identical, to the provisions which apply in the House of Commons (see section 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1981). Unlike sections 1 and 2, which only apply to members of the House of Lords who are peers, section 3 applies to all members of the House of Lords, including Lords Spiritual.

24.Subsection (2) requires there to be a certificate by the Lord Speaker to the effect that the member has been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced or ordered to be imprisoned or detained either indefinitely or for more than one year. The person must be a member of the House of Lords at the time of the conviction and sentence.

25.Subsection (3), however, provides that the person may lose their membership under this section if the offence was committed when the person was not a member. It also states that it does not matter whether the offence, conviction, sentence, order, imprisonment or detention occurred within or outside the United Kingdom (although this is subject to subsection (9)).

26.Subsection (4) provides that the section is not to have retrospective effect; it is only to apply to offences committed on or after the day on which it comes into force.

27.Subsection (5) excludes suspended sentences and orders from the operation of the section. This is because suspended sentences are, by their very nature, intended to be less punitive.

28.Subsection (7) makes provision for what is to happen if a member successfully appeals against their conviction or sentence. The Lord Speaker is to issue a further certificate stating that the member has been successful on appeal, at which point the first certificate is to be treated for the purposes of the Act as if it had never had effect.

29.Subsection (8) explains what is meant by a member being successful on appeal. Either the conviction must have been quashed or the sentence or order must have become a sentence or order which is not imprisonment or detention for an indefinite period or for more than a year.

30.Subsection (9) makes different provision in the case of a conviction outside the United Kingdom. It states that a certificate may be issued only if the House of Lords resolves that the member should be disqualified. It also requires the Lord Speaker to issue the certificate following such a resolution.

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