New judgment: R v Chaytor & Ors  UKSC 52
01 Wednesday Dec 2010
Decisions in this case were given on 10 November 2010.
On appeal from:  EWCA Crim 1910
Does the Crown Court have jurisdiction to try an MP in relation to the submission of an allegedly dishonest claim for Parliamentary expenses or allowances, or is the court deprived of jurisdiction by either or both of (i) Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688; or (ii) the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament. Held: the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeals. (i) Conduct of a Member was not privileged merely because it occurred within the House of Commons. The principal matter to which Article 9 is directed is freedom of speech and debate in the Houses of Parliament and parliamentary committees. In considering whether actions outside the Houses and committees fell within parliamentary proceedings because of their connection to them, it was necessary to consider the nature of that connection and whether, if such actions did not enjoy privilege, this was likely to impact adversely on the core or essential business of Parliament. On that basis, submission of expenses claims did not qualify for the protection of privilege. (ii) Parliament does not assert an exclusive jurisdiction to deal with criminal conduct within the walls of Parliament. The courts and Parliament have different, overlapping, jurisdictions. The area of activity to which the prosecutions related was administrative: they concerned the implementation of the expenses scheme, not the decisions of parliamentary committees in respect of the scheme itself.