Ponsonby Rule is a constitutional
convention in the United Kingdom constitutional
law that dictates that most international treaties must be laid before parliament 21 days before ratification.
From the late 19th century it became the common practice to present
the treaties of the United Kingdom to Parliament after they had
come into force.
On 1 April 1924
the Second Reading Debate on the Treaty of Peace
Bill, Mr Arthur
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
in Ramsay MacDonald
's first Labour
Government) made the following
At the same time he stated that:
The Ponsonby Rule was withdrawn during the subsequent Baldwin
Government, but was reinstated in
1929 and gradually hardened into a practice observed by all
The practice on legislative approval of treaties before ratification
varies from country to country. In
most countries the constitution requires most treaties to be
approved by parliament before they can formally enter into force
and bind the country in question. This is particularly the case in
states where international treaties become part of domestic law
directly, without the need for special implementation as required
in the case of the United Kingdom.
In countries with a strong separation of powers
, this may lead to
treaties being signed by the executive, but not coming into force
because of parliamentary opposition. In the United Kingdom, with
its government usually commanding a decisive majority in
Parliament, this does not usually happen.
States, Woodrow Wilson, the
President of the United
States, signed the Treaty of
Versailles, but the United
States Senate declined to give its advice and consent to
ratification, and the treaty did not come into force as respects
the United States.