In parliamentary procedure, especially the Westminster system, a document is laid before the house or Laid on the Table of the House when it is formally recognised as having been made available for members of a deliberative assembly to read. Documents produced by official bodies or in response to orders from parliament are required to be laid before the house. These documents inform members in their deliberations.
Originally, a physical copy of the document was placed on the table in the assembly chamber. This is no longer the case, with statutes and rules of order determining the mode by which a document is recognised as having been laid. Some such documents are published, as for example the command papers issued by the UK Parliament. Others may not be published. Electronic publishing is common for documents laid in recent decades. Parliamentary privilege may extend to documents published. The Irish Department of Finance guidelines state, "It should be especially noted that documents to be laid before the Houses of Oireachtas must not be published before being so laid. A breach of this direction is a serious infringement of parliamentary privilege."
- "Appendix V: Laying of Documents before the Houses of the Oireachtas". Cabinet Handbook (RTF)
|url=(help). Department of the Taoiseach. December 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- "Laid or laying (before Parliament)". Glossary. UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Guidance and requirements for laying papers before the House of Commons and their publication" (PDF). Journal Office. April 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Houses of the Oireachtas (Laying of Documents) Act, 1966". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Laying of Documents Before Parliament (Interpretation) Act 1948". UK Statute Law Database. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Laying of Documents before the Houses of the Oireachtas - Frequently Asked Questions". Oireachtas. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Chapter 14: Laying and Publication of Documents". Parliamentary Business. Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- Department of the Taoiseach 2006, §4
- Oireachtas library scans of documents laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas of Ireland
- Documents laid before the Welsh Assembly
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