An aspect of parliamentary procedure for some time, impeachment hearings have, in the UK, fallen out of practice in recent years. The seventeenth-century Parliaments of Charles Stuart resurrected a then somewhat-dormant practice as part of the challenge to royal authority (and thus, the growth of parliament's independence from the crown). There is a legal basis for impeachments, namely through the Article IX of the 1688/89 Bill of Rights: "That the Freedom of Speech, and Debates or Proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached or queftioned in any Court of Place out of Parliament”. The Lib-Dem peer, and constitutional historian, Conrad Russell notes that, until 1641, no impeachment took place without the King’s Consent. Compared to censure impeachments are a far greater power that relates to parliament functioning as an High Court, indeed, the High Court of Parliament. In this capacity, the Commons House, having limited judicial functions, present its case before the Lords, who take evidence and cross-examine, before sitting in judgement. In former times, an impeachment occasionally resulted in execution, which was usually brought about via an Act of Attainder.

contributed by user Adam McGreggor