Weekly Information Bulletin: 5th December 2009
Northern Ireland Legislation:
proceedings as at 4 December 2009
The Northern Ireland Assembly was established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Following devolution, legislative power in most areas was transferred from Westminster to the Assembly. However, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, certain powers are retained by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and are not devolved matters. These include constitutional and security issues, law and order, policing, electoral matters and relations with the European Union. Reserved matters, which include the criminal law and civil defence, can be transferred at a future date. Legislation in non-devolved or excepted matters continues to be made by the Westminster Parliament under the 1998 Act in the form of Orders in Council, Acts and Statutory Instruments. This page includes Orders in Council that relate to reserve matters, the criminal law, electoral and policing matters, made under Section 85 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The Northern Ireland Assembly was restored from 8 May 2007 following a period of suspension from midnight on 14 October 2002. During suspension, legislation, which would otherwise have come within the competence of the Assembly, was made by Order in Council under Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 2000. The 2000 Act was also used to make Orders in Council which, while the Assembly was active, would have been made under Section 85 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Orders making provision for certain reserved matters, for example the criminal law).
Unless made without Parliamentary Approval by reason of urgency, draft Orders in Council must be approved by a resolution of both Houses before being made (affirmative procedure). Orders in Council made before Parliamentary approval by reason of urgency (U), must be approved by both Houses within 40 days of being made. Some UK Acts, for example dealing with social security or pensions, provide for corresponding provisions to be made for Northern Ireland by means of an Order in Council under the 2000 Act, subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House (negative procedure (N)), rather than by the normal affirmative procedure.
Where appropriate, proposals for draft Orders in Council are issued for public consultation and on occasions may be considered by the Northern Ireland Grand Committee (G), before the draft Order is laid. Prior to formal approval being sought on the floor of the Commons, draft Orders are normally considered in a Delegated Legislation Committee (D) or, less frequently, by the Northern Ireland Grand Committee. The Northern Ireland Orders Grand Committee (O) would also, from time to time, consider a draft Order before formal approval is sought on the floor of the Lords.
Outstanding Orders are listed below. Details of previous Orders are available in earlier editions of the bulletin.
To distinguish between UK Bills/Acts applying to Northern Ireland and Acts passed by the Assembly, see the positioning of the term 'Northern Ireland'. Examples of each are given below:
UK legislation applying to Northern: Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007
Northern Ireland Assembly legislation: Carers and Direct Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 2002
Bills introduced into the Northern Ireland Assembly can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly
For further information on Northern Ireland Legislation see HCIO Factsheet L8 produced by the
House of Commons Information Office, available in hardcopy on request or to download from the Parliament website.
|U||Urgent Procedure||D||Delegated Legislation Committee|
|G||Northern Ireland Grand committee||O||Northern Ireland Order Grand Committee|
Title and SI No.
Consultation on Proposal
(Draft) Order Laid
|Draft Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (Extension of duration of non-jury trial provisions) Order |
|Draft Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962 (Amendment) Order 2009|
|Draft District Electoral Areas Commissioner (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Order 2009|
|Draft Private Security Industry Act 2001 (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2009|
|Draft Private Security Industry Act 2001 (Amendment to|
Schedule 2) Order 2009
|Draft Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
Legislation of the Northern Ireland Assembly (s. 15 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998)
Some Northern Ireland Assembly Bills which include provisions dealing with exempted or reserved matters are required to be laid before Parliament for a period of 20 sitting days before being presented for Royal Assent. If a motion, signed by not less than 20 Members, disapproving of the Bill is tabled in either House during the 20-day period, the Bill shall not be presented for Royal Assent unless the motion is rejected or withdrawn. The date of tabling of any such motion will be shown below.
Assembly Bills of this type which the Secretary of State deems urgent (U) may be presented for Royal Assent before being laid before Parliament. Such Acts of the Assembly are then required to be laid before Parliament for 20 sitting days. If a motion, signed by not less than 20 Members, praying that the Act shall cease to have effect is tabled in either House during the 20-day period the Act and is agreed to, the Act of the Assembly may be repealed by Order in Council. The date of tabling of any such motion will be shown below.
Delegated legislation dealing with certain reserved matters, are subject to Parliamentary procedure at Westminster.
The Parliamentary stages of any such legislation are detailed below.
|DLSC||-||Draft Order considered by a Delegated Legislation Standing Committee in the House of Commons.|
|NIGC||-||Proposal for a draft Order considered in the Northern Ireland Grand Committee.|
|U||-||Urgent Act or Order (not in draft form) laid before Parliament.|
|C||-||Consequential Order (not in draft form) laid before Parliament. (subject to negative procedure)|
|SI||-||Statutory Instrument Number, shown after title|
|P||-||Provisional date for next stage i.e. PSC: 20.1.2009|
|Title of Bill or Act