Department for Constitutional AffairsPublications

| Publications | Press notices | Consultation papers | Reports and reviews | Research | Speeches | Annual reports | Legislation | Past legislation | Green papers | White papers | Better regulation | Statistics | Archive

|© Crown Copyright & Disclaimer

Home > Publications > Legislation > Constitutional Reform Act 2005 - Legislative progress

Constitutional Reform Act 2005 - Legislative progress


The Constitutional Reform Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on 24 February 2004. The Bill received Royal Assent on the 24 March 2005. It addresses four important areas:

Judicial independence: For the first time, the Act enshrines in law a duty on government ministers to uphold the independence of the judiciary. They will be specifically barred from trying to influence judicial decisions through any special access to judges.

Reforming the Lord Chancellor: The Act reforms the post of Lord Chancellor, transferring his judicial functions to President of the Courts of England and Wales. The Lord Chief Justice, currently Lord Woolf, will become President of the Courts of England and Wales. He will be responsible for the training, guidance and deployment of judges. He will also represent the views of the judiciary of England and Wales to Parliament and ministers.

Supreme Court: The Act also establishes a new, independent Supreme Court, separate from the House of Lords with its own independent appointments system, its own staff and budget and, ultimately, its own building.

Judicial Appointments Commission: The Act will establish an independent Commission, responsible for selecting candidates to recommend for judicial appointment to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. This will ensure that while merit will remain the sole criterion for appointment, the appointments system will be placed on a fully modern, open and transparent basis.

Constitutional Affairs Select Committee

The Bill was referred to a Select Committee by a motion of the House of Lords on 8 March 2004. The Select Committee's Final Report was finalised at the end of June 2004. The Select Committee referred the Bill back to the House of Lords for further passage through Parliament. More information on the Select Committee is available.


Legislative passage:


House Stage Date
Lords Second Reading 8 March 2004
  Motion agreed that the Bill should be committed to a Select Committee (Second Reading - 8 March 2004).
Select Committee Final Report 24 June 2004
Committee of the Whole House Lords Committee Stage 13 July 2004

14 July 2004

11 October 2004

18 October 2004
Lords Report Stage 7 December 2004

14 December 2004
Lords Third Reading 20 December 2004
Commons Introduction 21 December 2004
Commons Second Reading 17 January 2005
Commons Committee of the Whole House 31 January 2005
Commons Committee of the Whole House 1 February 2005
Commons Committee of the Whole House, report stage and third reading 1 March 2005
Lords Consideration of commons amendments 15 March 2005
Lords Consideration of commons amendments 21 March 2005
Lords Royal Assent 24 March 2005



© Crown Copyright