Every day, something that you do or that you touch has been considered by a lawmaker.
Royal Assent and beyond A Bill is a proposed law which is introduced into Parliament.
Once a Bill has been debated and then approved by each House of Parliament, and has received Royal Assent, it becomes law and is known as an Act.
Any Member of Parliament can introduce a Bill. Some Bills represent agreed government policy, and these are introduced into Parliament by ministers. This guide is about Bills which affect the general law of the land.
Special Parliamentary procedures apply to Bills which apply only to particular people or places, and the government has little or no involvement in this type of legislation. Bills and Acts are often referred to as primary legislation. An Act may delegate power to a government minister to make orders, regulations or rules.
These are known as secondary or subordinate legislation. Legislation can be found online at legislation. The decision to legislate For each session of Parliament, the government will have a legislative programme, which is a plan of the Bills that it will ask Parliament to consider in that session the period between elections is divided up into sessions, and each of those sessions lasts about a year.
Other Bills may be passed each session that are not part of the legislative programme. If a government department has a proposal for a Bill that it wants to be included in the legislative programme for a session, it must submit a bid for the Bill to the Parliamentary Business and Legislation PBL Committee of the Cabinet.
The bid will usually be needed about a year before the beginning of the session in question. PBL Committee will consider all of the bids for that session and make a recommendation to Cabinet about the provisional content of the programme.
In considering whether to recommend that a Bill should be given a provisional slot, PBL Committee will consider factors such as the need for the Bill and whether a similar outcome can be achieved without legislationits relationship to the political priorities of the Government, the progress that has been made in working up the proposals for the Bill and whether the Bill has been published in draft for consultation.
Once the provisional programme has been agreed by Cabinet, PBL Committee will review it in the lead-up to the beginning of the session. About a month before the start of the session the Cabinet will finalise the programme.
The policy contained in the Bill will also need agreement from the appropriate policy committee of the Cabinet. Preparation of the Bill If a Bill is given a slot in the legislative programme, the department concerned will create a Bill team to co-ordinate its preparation and passage through Parliament.
This will consist of a Bill manager and other officials working on the Bill. The policy officials will prepare policy instructions for the departmental lawyers.
These instructions will in turn form the basis of instructions to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to draft the Bill. Instructions to counsel will set out the background and relevant current law and explain the changes in the law to be brought about by the Bill. There will usually be at least two counsel assigned to the Bill, and larger Bills may well have more drafters.
They will analyse the instructions and may have questions that need to be answered before drafting can begin. Once the drafters feel they have a clear idea of the policy, they will send drafts to the relevant departmental lawyer.
The lawyer will discuss the drafts with the relevant policy officials and send comments back. The first draft of a clause or set of clauses for a topic is rarely the final word on that topic, and the process of drafting and commenting on drafts will continue until the drafters and the department are happy that the right result has been achieved by the draft in the clearest possible way.
Some provisions in a Bill may require the agreement of a department other than the one sponsoring the Bill. If the provisions of the Bill apply to Wales or extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland, it may be necessary for the department or the drafter to consult the devolved administration in the relevant part of the UK.
Provisions in a Bill which relate to matters that have been devolved to the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly will usually need the consent of that body. Towards introduction Although a Bill may have a slot in the legislative programme, it cannot be introduced until it has been specifically cleared for introduction by a meeting of PBL Committee.
The Committee will consider the final or near-final draft of the Bill together with a range of other documents. Some of these, like the Explanatory Notes, will be published alongside the Bill after introduction.
If PBL Committee is satisfied that the Bill is ready and that other legal and procedural issues have been resolved, it will approve its introduction subject to any necessary minor and drafting changes. The Committee will also decide whether the Bill should start in the House of Commons or the House of Lords see further below.
Some Bills are published in draft for consultation before introduction. The Bill may then go through a process of pre-legislative scrutiny where it is considered by a Parliamentary committee or committees.
The committee will take evidence and make recommendations to the Government on the Bill. These recommendations, together with the consultation responses from members of the public, may mean that elements of the Bill are modified before introduction. Publication of a Bill in draft still needs the agreement of PBL Committee, although it will normally be cleared by correspondence rather than at a meeting.
The Government will make this decision based on the need to make sure each House has a balanced programme of legislation to consider each session. However, certain Bills must start in the Commons, such as a Bill whose main aim is the imposition of taxation the annual Finance Bill is an example of this.
Bills of major constitutional importance also conventionally start in the Commons.Our Passage of a Bill guide shows a Bill’s journey through Parliament – find out what happens at each stage. Bills v Acts A Bill is a draft law; it becomes an Act if it is approved by a majority in the House of Commons and House of Lords, and formally agreed to by the .
If a Bill is given a slot in the legislative programme, the department concerned will create a Bill team to co-ordinate its preparation and passage through Parliament. Most bills are introduced by government ministers; however, other members of parliament can introduce their own bills, known as private members' or private senators' bills.
Duration and number of bills. It may take weeks or even months for a bill to pass through Parliament. However, an urgent bill can be passed in a matter of days.
A Bill can start in the Commons or the Lords and must be approved in the same form by both Houses before becoming an Act (law). This guide shows the passage of a Bill through Parliament and provides further information about each stage of the process.
rows · Bills before Parliament Listed below are all Bills currently before . Our Passage of a Bill guide shows a Bill’s journey through Parliament – find out what happens at each stage. Bills v Acts A Bill is a draft law; it becomes an Act if it is approved by a majority in the House of Commons and House of Lords, and formally agreed to by the reigning monarch (known as Royal Assent).