CHAPTER 9 PRIVATE LEGISLATION |
9.01 In addition to his duties in the House,
the Chairman of Committees exercises a general supervision and
control over private bills, personal bills, Scottish provisional
order confirmation bills and hybrid instruments. References in
any private business standing order or in the Statutory Orders
(Special Procedure) Act 1945 to the Chairman of Committees are
construed as including references to the Principal Deputy Chairman
of Committees and to any other Deputy Chairman.
9.02 The Chairman of Committees has the duty
to name the Lords to form the following committees:
(a) select committees on private bills;
(b) select committees on opposed personal bills;
(c) select committees on opposed provisional
order confirmation bills;
(d) joint committees under the Private Legislation
Procedure (Scotland) Act 1936 (House of Lords members);
(e) joint committees under the Statutory Orders
(Special Procedure) Act 1945 (House of Lords members);
unless he is of the opinion that any such committee
should be selected and proposed to the House by the Committee
of Selection or unless at least two members of that committee
request a meeting for that purpose.
The Chairman of Committees also has the duty to name the chairman
of any select committee on a private bill appointed by him.
9.03 Private bills originate outside Parliament
and are promoted by bodies seeking special powers not available
under the general law. They should not be confused with private
members' bills, which are public bills (see paragraph 8.29). Each
private bill starts with a petition to Parliament from the promoter
for leave to bring in a bill.
The petition, with a copy of the proposed bill annexed to it,
is deposited on or before 27 November in the House of Commons
and a copy of the proposed bill is deposited in the office of
the Clerk of the Parliaments.
9.04 The government cannot promote a private
bill. When a government department wants to promote a bill which
would, if promoted by another person or body, be a private bill
the bill is introduced as a public bill and is subsequently treated
as a hybrid bill (see paragraph 8.212).
9.05 Where a bill deals exclusively with the
personal affairs of an individual it may be certified by the Chairman
of Committees and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the Commons
("the two Chairmen" or "the Chairmen") as
a "personal bill", though such bills are rare. Personal
bills can be presented at any time during the session.
9.06 Scottish private legislation on matters
not wholly within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament
(other than personal bills) is governed by a statutory procedure
contained in the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act
1936 (see paragraph 9.91).
9.07 Each House normally appoints at least one
official as an Examiner of Petitions for Private Bills.
may act on behalf of either House. On occasion Examiners from
both Houses may sit to examine a particular bill. In the Lords,
appointments are made by the House, and in the Commons by the
Speaker. Beginning on 18 December, each petition for a bill is
examined by one of the Examiners, who certifies whether the standing
orders applicable contained in the Private Business Standing Orders
and similar standing orders of the House of Commons have been
These standing orders require notices and advertisements and the
deposit of bills and other documents at various public offices.
9.08 Complaints of non-compliance with the standing
orders ("memorials") may be presented, and memorialists
are entitled to be heard before the Examiner.
9.09 The Examiner certifies to both Houses whether
the standing orders applicable have, or have not, been complied
with. If they have not been complied with, the Examiner reports
the facts and any special circumstances. Should the Examiner be
in doubt as to the construction of any standing order in its application
to a particular case, he or she makes a special report of the
facts, without deciding whether the standing order has or has
not been complied with.
9.10 In a case of non-compliance or doubt the
Examiner's certificate or report is referred by each House to
its Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee.
Both Committees must agree to suspend or dispense with the relevant
Standing Orders in order for the bill to progress further.
9.11 The memorandum which accompanies each Private
Bill when it is deposited on 27 November includes a statement
by or on behalf of the promoters of the bill as to the compatibility
of the provisions of the bill with the Convention Rights (as defined
in the Human Rights Act 1998).
In the case of every private bill, whether introduced in the Lords
or the Commons, a report from a minister of the Crown on the promoter's
statement of opinion required by Private Business SO 38(3) is
to be presented no later than the second sitting day after first
reading in each House.
9.12 A promoter who wishes to introduce a bill
late (after 27 November) submits to the two Chairmen a statement
of the objects of the bill, the reasons for the need to proceed
during the current session, and the reasons why it was impracticable
to deposit the bill by 27 November.
9.13 The Chairmen consider:
(a) whether the explanation justifies the delay
in depositing the bill; and
(b) whether the proposals are so urgent that
postponement of the bill to the following November would be contrary
to the public interest.
9.14 If the Chairmen are satisfied on these points,
or if they consider that the public interest so requires, the
appropriate Chairman gives leave for the petition and the bill
to be deposited in the House in which they decide the bill is
9.15 After the petition together with the proposed
bill has been presented to the House, it is referred to the Examiners.
The Examiners certify to both Houses non-compliance with standing
orders. The Certificate is referred to the Standing Orders Committee
of each House. If both committees report that the standing orders
ought to be dispensed with, the bill is presented and read a first
9.16 The bill, as presented, should not contain
any non-urgent provisions nor any other than those outlined in
the original statement of the promoters in support of their application.
9.17 The allocation of private bills between
the two Houses is determined between the two Chairmen or, more
usually, their Counsel, on or before 8 January.
The private bills proposed to be introduced are divided as equally
as possible between the two Houses with a view to general convenience.
Where a bill has been rejected previously in one House, a subsequent
bill with similar objects normally originates in that House. Personal
bills usually originate in the Lords.
9.18 It is usual, before any allocation is made,
for Counsel to the two Chairmen to invite representations from
9.19 First reading is "formal", that
is to say, by way of an entry in the Minutes of Proceedings. No
proceedings take place in the House itself. In the case of bills
originating in the House of Lords, it takes place on 22 January
or, if later, the day on which:
(a) the Examiner has certified that standing
orders have been complied with; or
(b) the Standing Orders Committee has reported
that standing orders have been complied with; or
(c) the House, on report from the Standing Orders
Committee that the standing orders ought to be dispensed with,
has agreed that the bill should be allowed to proceed.
9.20 The Chairman of Committees normally moves
subsequent stages of private bills in the House (but see paragraph
9.26 below). His Deputies may act for him for all purposes connected
with private legislation.
9.21 Parties affected by a bill may present a
petition against it, which must state clearly the grounds of their
objection to the bill.
9.22 Petitions against Lords bills must usually
be presented on or before 6 February. Petitions against a Commons
bill, or a late bill originating in the House of Lords, may be
deposited up to 10 days after first reading, subject to private
business SOs 201 and 201A. Petitions against Commons bills are
admissible whether or not the petitioner also petitioned against
the bill in the Commons.
9.23 Petitions against proposed amendments must
be lodged in time for the committee to consider them.
9.24 After the introduction of a bill, the promoters
may wish to make additional provision in the bill in respect of
matters which require the service of new notices and advertisements.
A petition for that purpose, after approval by the Chairman of
Committees, who acts for this purpose in close accord with the
Chairman of Ways and Means, is deposited in the office of the
Clerk of the Parliaments with a copy of the provisions proposed
to be added. The petition is referred to the Examiners, and may
not proceed unless any standing orders applicable have been complied
with or dispensed with. A petition for additional provision may
not be presented in the case of a bill brought from the Commons.
9.25 The second reading of a private bill is
usually taken before public business and is usually brief. It
does not, as in the case of public bills, affirm the principle
of the bill, which may therefore be called in question before
a committee, or at a later stage. The second reading is normally
moved by the Chairman of Committees, and provides an opportunity
for him to direct the attention of the House to any special circumstances
connected with the bill.
9.26 A member of the Lords who intends to debate
the second reading of a bill is expected to notify the Chairman
of Committees, the Public and Private Bill Office
or the Government Whips' Office; a member who intends to oppose
it should always do so. The Chairman of Committees then usually
asks the promoters to arrange for someone other than himself to
move the second reading, and he may enter it at a lower place
on the order paper.
9.27 The second reading of a bill originating
in the House of Lords may not be taken earlier than the second
sitting day after first reading
and it is customary to wait until the petitioning period has expired
before taking second reading.
9.28 Lords bills affected by the standing orders
originally devised by Lord Wharncliffe, which govern the consents
of proprietors, members and directors of companies,
are referred again to the Examiners after second reading.
Such bills are not committed unless those orders have been complied
with or dispensed with.
9.29 Instructions to committees on private bills
may be moved at any time between the second reading and committee
stage of the bill, but are usually put down for the same day as
the second reading. The Chairman of Committees should be informed
before an instruction is tabled.
9.30 Permissive instructions enable the committee
to do what it could not do without such an instruction. However,
any enlargement of the scope of a bill should be effected by a
petition for additional provision rather than such an instruction.
Mandatory instructions compel the committee to do something which
it already has discretion to do. However, the House has been reluctant
to agree to any instruction which will restrict the decisions
of the committee.
9.31 The most usual type of instruction on a
private bill is of a cautionary nature. For example, the committee
is sometimes instructed to have regard to certain matters or to
ensure that various objections have been considered. An instruction
of this nature is often accepted by the House, as it ensures that
the committee considers matters which might not be raised by the
parties appearing before it or in a departmental report.
9.32 To assist them in carrying out an instruction,
committees have on occasion been given power by the House to hear
evidence other than that tendered by the parties entitled to be
heard. This procedure, however, is open to criticism: it may enable
a person to oppose a bill without having petitioned against it,
and there is no fund out of which the fees of any expert witness
may be paid.
9.33 Instructions have occasionally been given
to an unopposed bill committee.
9.34 It is customary for the committee to make
a special report to the House upon matters referred to in an instruction.
9.35 Private business SOs 124A and 131-146 amount
to "standing instructions" to committees on certain
types of bill.
9.36 After second reading every unopposed bill
is normally committed to an unopposed bill committee.
Every bill opposed by petitions is committed to a select committee.
9.37 The Chairman of Committees may report to
the House that, in his opinion, an unopposed bill should be proceeded
with as an opposed bill and committed to a select committee.
In such a case the committee might be authorised to hear evidence
tendered by parties other than the promoters, but this procedure
has rarely been used.
9.38 Select committees on opposed bills consist
of five members, normally named by the Chairman of Committees,
who also nominates the chairman, and reports his appointments
to the House. Members of the House with an interest in the bill
may not serve on the committee.
If the chairman is absent, the committee may appoint a substitute.
9.39 In principle every member of the committee
must attend the whole proceedings, but the committee may sit with
only four members if all the parties agree. In this case a report
is made to the House. If the consent of any party is withheld,
the committee adjourns and may not resume in the absence of a
member without leave of the House. No member who is not a member
of the committee may take any part in its proceedings.
9.40 If the committee adjourns over a day on
which the House sits, it must report the reason to the House.
Promoters and petitioners may be represented by counsel or agents.
The committee hears arguments and evidence from the parties and
the representations of government departments, which may include
opposition to all or part of the bill. The committee is not allowed
to hear other evidence without an order of the House. The committee
may decide that the bill should be allowed to proceed, with or
without amendments, or "that it is not expedient to proceed
further with the bill".
9.41 In general, and subject to private business
SOs 115-120, a petitioner has a right to be heard if his or her
interests are specially and directly affected by the bill. If
another party challenges a petitioner's locus standi, the
question is heard and decided by the committee at the beginning
of their proceedings.
9.42 If the select committee rejects the bill,
an entry to this effect is made in the Minutes of Proceedings.
The bill does not then proceed further and is removed from the
list of Bills in Progress in House of Lords Business.
9.43 If the committee reports that the bill should
be allowed to proceed, the bill is recommitted to an unopposed
bill committee, which then considers the unopposed clauses. It
may not vary any decision made by the select committee.
9.44 If no petitioner appears, or if all petitions
are withdrawn before proceedings commence, or if the locus
standi of all petitioners is disallowed, then the select committee
reports accordingly; the bill becomes unopposed, and, unless there
is an instruction, the Bill is recommitted to an unopposed bill
However, if an instruction has been given to a select committee
on a private bill, the committee must consider the bill and instruction.
9.45 In certain circumstances, when it is thought
that the House should be informed of the findings of a committee,
and its reasons for reaching them, a special report is made and
printed. It is usual, for instance, to make a special report in
response to an instruction. An order for the special report to
be considered can be made, to allow the House to debate and review
the decisions of the committee; but third reading provides the
normal opportunity for such a debate.
9.46 Each unopposed bill committee normally consists
of the Chairman of Committees assisted by his Counsel.
The Chairman of Committees may select further members from the
panel of Deputy Chairmen.
No member who is not a member of the committee may take any part
in the proceedings. The promoters may be represented by their
agents (rather than by counsel) and may call witnesses; evidence
called is not tendered on oath. Representatives of the government
departments which have reported on the bill attend and may be
questioned by the committee.
9.47 The promoter's agent is called upon to justify
any clauses on which the Chairman of Committees has asked for
further information or which are the subject of a departmental
report. The committee may then amend the bill as it thinks fit.
9.48 When the committee is prepared to accept
the bill, witnesses are called, on oath, to prove the preamble~
to the bill and to produce copies of any Private Acts, and the
originals of any documents, referred to in the preamble.
9.49 The proceedings of committees on both unopposed
and opposed bills are concluded by an entry in the Minutes of
Proceedings reporting the bill from the committee. Amendments
made in committee are available for inspection in the Private
Bill Office; the bill as amended must be deposited by the promoter
at certain public offices. No Report stage is held in the House.
However, after the bill has been reported by the committee, drafting
or consequential amendments can be inserted in the bill by Counsel
to the Chairman of Committees on the authority of the Chairman,
and endorsed "Amendments made on Report". No entry in
the Minutes of Proceedings is made when this is done.
9.50 In the majority of cases the third reading
of a private bill is formal. Any amendments proposed to be moved
on third reading must be submitted to the Chairman of Committees
at least "one clear day", that is, two days, in advance.
All amendments which have the approval of the Chairman of Committees
are moved by him; the House usually accepts them without question.
These are usually amendments asked for by the promoters to correct
errors or to carry out agreements made during the committee stage.
Occasionally an amendment contrary to the wishes of the promoters
is submitted and moved by a member of the House. In such cases
a debate would ordinarily arise.
9.51 Any member of the House who wishes to speak
without proposing amendments is expected to notify the Chairman
of Committees of his intention in advance. Such remarks should
be made on the motion that the bill do now pass, not on the motion
for third reading.
9.52 A private bill brought from the Commons
is read a first time forthwith by means of an entry in the Minutes
of Proceedings, and referred to the Examiners in respect of the
standing orders relating to such bills.
It may not be read a second time until the standing orders have
been complied with or dispensed with.
Petitions against it may be deposited up to 10 days after first
whether or not the petitioner also petitioned the House of Commons.
If it is amended in the House of Lords, it may be referred to
the Examiners again in respect of the amendments.
9.53 When the Queen's or Prince of Wales' Consent
(see paragraphs 8.185-8.188) is required for a private bill it
is usually signified on third reading by a minister who is a Privy
9.54 Amendments made by the Commons to Lords
bills, or to Lords amendments to Commons bills, and amendments
to such amendments which the promoters wish to make in the House
of Lords, are submitted to the Chairman of Committees for approval.
Commons amendments are usually agreed formally by an entry in
the Minutes of Proceedings, without notice, and not taken in the
9.55 If there is disagreement between the Houses
on amendments to private bills, the same procedure is followed
as for public bills. However, decisions on private legislation
are coordinated between the two Houses, so that the need for this
procedure seldom arises. Neither House reinserts a provision struck
out by the other House unless by agreement in advance between
the two Houses.
9.56 Private bills other than personal bills
receive Royal Assent in the same form as public bills,"La
Reyne le veult" (see appendix H).
9.57 Petitions for bills relating to the "estate,
property, status, or style, or otherwise relating to the personal
affairs, of an individual"
are presented to the House of Lords rather than the House of Commons.
The petition must be signed by one or more of the parties principally
concerned in the consequences of the bill, and may be deposited
at any time during the session.
The petition and draft bill which must accompany it are considered
by the Chairman of Committees and the Chairman of Ways and Means,
who may certify that the proposed bill is of such a nature and
that private business SOs 4-68 should not be applicable to it.
Bills so certified are termed personal bills and are subject to
private business SOs 151-153, 157-170 and 173-174. These bills
are now rare, partly in consequence of the passing of the Marriage
(Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986, which relaxed the
prohibitions on many previously prohibited relationships for which
parliamentary approval was sought.
9.58 Every petition for a personal bill is referred
to the Chairman of Committees for preliminary scrutiny, aided
by Counsel. The procedure for first reading is the same as for
other private bills. The Chairman of Committees may require the
appointment by the Lord Chancellor of a guardian to represent
the interests of any infant who should be protected.
In the case of personal bills affecting entailed estates and wills,
private business SOs 162-165 and 168-172 govern the giving of
notices, appointment of new trustees, consents and other matters.
9.59 Between first and second reading, copies
of the bill as introduced are delivered to all persons affected
by the bill by the promoter. The second reading is normally moved
by the Chairman of Committees who also fixes a date by which petitions
against the bill must be presented.
9.60 If the bill is unopposed, it is committed
to an unopposed bill committee.
At this stage the persons concerned in the bill give their consent
by attending and signing a copy of the bill. In certain cases,
such as absence abroad, illness or old age, the Chairman of Committees
may admit affidavits in proof of signatures in lieu of attendance.
9.61 If the bill is opposed, it is referred to
a select committee of five members named by the Chairman of Committees
and proceeded with in the same manner as any other opposed private
The Chairman of Committees may propose that an unopposed bill
be treated as opposed.
9.62 No committee may consider a personal bill
until 10 days after the second reading.
9.63 The proceedings on third reading and passing
of a personal bill are the same as for an ordinary private bill,
but Royal Assent ~ is given in the form "Soit fait comme
il est désiré."
9.64 Bills to enable persons to marry within
the prohibited degrees of affinity are subject to a special procedure,
intended to avoid discussion of personal details on the floor
of the House.
The bill is granted a second reading without debate and is then
committed to a select committee consisting of the Chairman of
Committees, a bishop and two other members, which examines the
promoters of the bill on oath in private before deciding whether
the bill should proceed.
9.65 The House of Lords alone has a procedure
for considering hybrid instruments.
9.66 When the Chairman of Committees is of the
opinion that an affirmative instrument
is such that, apart from the provisions of the Act authorising
it to be made, it would require to be enacted by a private or
hybrid bill, he reports his opinion to the House and to the minister
or other person responsible for the instrument. An instrument
upon which such a Chairman's report has been made is known as
a hybrid instrument. Such instruments can be opposed in the House
of Lords by petitioning against them.
9.67 Any petition asking the House not to affirm
a hybrid instrument must be deposited with the Clerk of the Parliaments
within 14 days following the day on which the Chairman's report
is laid before the House. If no petition is received within this
period the Chairman reports accordingly to the House. Any petition
received during the period is referred to the Hybrid Instruments
Committee (see paragraph 11.61) together with the instrument petitioned
9.68 The Hybrid Instruments Committee, after
considering any representations made in writing by the parties
to the proceedings and after hearing, if it thinks fit, the parties
in person or by counsel or agents, decides whether any petitioner
has a locus standi~. If so, the committee reports to the
House, in accordance with the criteria specified in private business
SO 216, whether there ought to be a further inquiry by a select
committee into all or any of the matters specified by the petitioner.
In such a case, the House may refer all or any of the matters
on which the committee has reported to a select committee consisting
of five members, appointed by the House on the proposal of the
Committee of Selection, with terms of reference specified by the
9.69 No motion to approve a hybrid instrument
may be moved until the proceedings under private business SO 216
have been completed,
that is until either:
(a) the Chairman of Committees has reported to
the House that no petitions have been received, or that all petitions
have been withdrawn; or
(b) the Hybrid Instruments Committee has reported
that no petitioner has a locus standi, or that there ought
not to be an inquiry by a select committee; or
(c) the House has decided not to refer any matter
to a select committee; or
(d) the select committee has reported to the
9.70 Where proceedings under private business
SO 216 have not been completed in respect of an instrument which
has expired or lapsed, a further instrument to substantially the
same effect may be substituted for the purposes of those proceedings.
EXPEDITED HYBRID INSTRUMENTS
9.71 A hybrid instrument which, by virtue of
the Act authorising it to be made, is, after the expiry of a period
prescribed by that Act, to proceed in Parliament as if its provisions
would, apart from that Act, require to be enacted by a public
bill that is not hybrid, is known as an expedited hybrid instrument.
The procedure for such an instrument differs from that applicable
to other hybrid instruments in several respects. A petition not
to affirm an expedited hybrid instrument must be deposited within
ten days following the day on which the instrument is laid. If
the Hybrid Instruments Committee is of the opinion that there
ought to be a further inquiry, it conducts that inquiry itself
9.72 No motion to approve an expedited hybrid
instrument may be moved until the proceedings under private business
SO 216A have been completed, that is until the Chairman of Committees
or the Hybrid Instruments Committee has reported, or the period
prescribed by the parent Act has expired.
9.73 The procedure for special procedure orders
is laid down by the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act 1945,
as amended by the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act 1965,
supplemented by the private business standing orders of both Houses.
That Act applies:
- to orders made under
Acts passed before the Act of 1945 which are specified in that
Act, or to orders made under it;
- to orders made under
Acts passed since the Act of 1945 which are expressed in those
Acts to be "subject to special parliamentary procedure".
LAYING OF ORDERS
9.74 An order subject to special parliamentary
procedure must be laid before Parliament.
No order may be laid until the requirements
of the enabling Act, or of Schedule 1 to the 1945 Act, as to notices,
consideration of objections and holding of inquiries have been
complied with; and notice must be published in The London Gazette
not less than three days before the order is laid. There must
be laid with it a certificate by the minister specifying the requirements
of the enabling Act and certifying that they have been complied
with or (so far as the 1945 Act permits) dispensed with.
may be presented against a special procedure order within a period
of 21 days, known as the "petitioning period", beginning
with the day on which the order is laid before Parliament or,
if the order is laid before the two Houses on different days,
with the later of the two days. If the petitioning period expires
on a Sunday, it is extended to the following Monday; if it expires
during a dissolution, prorogation or any period of 10 or more
consecutive days on which the House does not sit for public business,
it is extended to the day on which the House resumes.
9.76 There are two kinds of petition against
a special procedure order:
- a petition calling
for amendments to the order, which must specify the proposed amendments
(a "petition for amendment");
- a general petition against the order, which must
be presented separately (a "petition of general objection.").
stating technical objections to petitions may be deposited in
the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments within seven days beginning
with the day on which the petition was presented.
9.78 After the petitioning period has expired,
the Chairman of Committees and the Chairman of Ways and Means
in the House of Commons consider all petitions and report to both
Houses. If a petition complies with the Act and standing orders,
and if the Chairmen consider the petitioner has locus standi,
they certify that it is proper to be received and whether
it is a petition for amendment or a petition of general objection.
If a petition for amendment
involves amendments which would alter the scope of the order or
affect the interests of persons other than the petitioner, the
Chairmen may make a special report to that effect. If a petition
for amendment involves amendments "which would constitute
a negative of the main purpose of the order", the Chairmen
certify it as a petition of general objection. But if only some
of the amendments would defeat the main purpose of the order,
the Chairmen may delete those amendments and certify the rest
of the petition as a petition for amendment. In certain cases
the Chairmen may find it necessary to hear the parties, and they
must do so if memorials are deposited.
9.79 Within 14 days,
beginning with the day on which the Chairmen's report is laid
before the House of Lords, counter-petitions may be presented
against petitions for amendment.
RESOLUTION FOR ANNULMENT
9.80 If either House within 21 days
beginning with the day on which the Chairmen's report on an order
is laid before it (the "resolution period") resolves
that the order be annulled, the order lapses. In reckoning the
resolution period, time during which Parliament is dissolved or
prorogued, or both Houses are adjourned for more than four days,
is not counted.
9.81 If there is an equality of votes on a resolution
for annulment, the resolution is defeated and the order proceeds.
9.82 If no resolution for annulment is passed,
any certified petition is referred to a joint committee, except
that a petition of general objection is not referred if either
House has resolved within the resolution period that it should
not be. Any special report of the two Chairmen, and any counter-petitions,
are also referred to the committee.
9.83 If no petition is referred to a joint committee
at the end of the resolution period, and no resolution for annulment
has been passed, the order may come into operation.
9.84 Joint committees under the 1945 Act consist
of three members of each House, and private business SO 209 governs
their proceedings. Where a petition is for amendment,
the committee may report the order with or without amendments
to give effect to the petition in whole or in part. Where the
petition is of general objection, the committee may report the
order with or without amendments, or report that the order be
not approved. The report of the joint committee is laid before
both Houses. Where the order is reported without amendment,
it may come into operation from the date when the report of the
committee is laid before Parliament.
9.85 Where the order is reported with amendments,
the minister may bring the order as amended into operation on
a date of his choice, or withdraw the order, or bring it to Parliament
for further consideration by means of a bill for its confirmation.
9.86 Where the committee reports that the order
be not approved, the order does not take effect unless confirmed
by Act of Parliament.
9.87 A confirming bill presented in respect of
an order reported with amendments is a public bill and sets out
the order as amended.
It is treated as if the amendments had been made in committee
in the House in which it is presented, and in the second House
likewise it proceeds straight to consideration on report.
A bill presented in respect of an order which the committee has
reported be not approved goes through the same procedure, unless
a petition for amendment was certified but was not dealt with
by the joint committee. In that case the confirming bill has a
first and second reading, and is referred to that committee for
the purpose of considering that petition. Report and third reading
follow. In the second House the bill proceeds straight to consideration
ORDERS RELATING TO SCOTLAND
9.88 In the case of orders which do not deal
with matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish
Parliament but which relate exclusively to Scotland, a preliminary
inquiry into objections is held in Scotland by Commissioners in
accordance with the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act
1936. If the minister concerned accepts the Commissioners' recommendations,
the order is laid before Parliament and the subsequent proceedings
are as already described, except that no petition, whether for
amendment or of general objection, is referred to a joint committee
unless either House so orders within the resolution period. If
the minister is not prepared to accept the Commissioners' recommendations,
he or she may, instead of laying the order before Parliament,
introduce a bill for the confirmation of the order. The procedure
on such a bill is the same as for a bill under section 9 of the
9.89 Procedure by way of a provisional order
confirmation bill is simpler than private bill procedure. It is
available only where a statute so provides, and has now been largely
superseded by procedure outside Parliament. No such bills have
been introduced since 1980.
9.90 Private legislation on matters affecting
interests in Scotland, and not wholly within the legislative competence
of the Scottish Parliament, is governed by the Private Legislation
Procedure (Scotland) Act 1936.
A person seeking such legislation does not present a petition
for a private bill to Parliament but submits a draft order to
the Secretary of State for Scotland; and petitions him to issue
a provisional order in the terms of the draft or with such modifications
as may be necessary.
Legislation for purposes which would require a personal bill,
as defined by private business SO 3(2), is exempted from this
9.91 In this Part "s." refers to sections
of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act 1936; and
"GO" refers to General Orders made under s.15(1).
9.92 A person who seeks powers "to be operative
in Scotland and elsewhere" may make representations to the
Secretary of State that the powers should be conferred by a single
The Secretary of State, the Chairman of Committees and the Chairman
of Ways and Means in the House of Commons consider such a representation.
If they are of the opinion that the powers would be more properly
obtained by a private bill than by the duplicated process of a
provisional order for Scotland and a private bill for the areas
affected beyond Scotland, they publish their decision and report
it to Parliament. The promoter then proceeds by private bill.
A petition for such a bill may not be presented sooner than four
weeks after the representation has been made to the Secretary
9.93 Application for provisional orders may be
made twice a year, on 27 March and 27 November. A printed copy
of every draft order must be deposited in the appropriate offices
of both Houses of Parliament.
9.94 Promoters are required to comply with General
Orders made under the 1936 Act, which correspond with the standing
orders that have to be complied with prior to the introduction
of a private bill. These require them to deposit copies of draft
orders at certain public offices, and to give notice by public
advertisement to owners and occupiers of land or houses affected.
The Secretary of State refers all draft orders to the Examiners,
who report to the Secretary of State and the two Chairmen whether
these General Orders have been complied with. If they have not,
the promoters may apply for dispensation to the two Chairmen,
whose decision is final.
9.95 The last date for advertisements is 11 April
or 11 December, as the case may be, and for six weeks from the
last date of advertisement persons may petition against any draft
order to the Secretary of State, who notifies the two Chairmen.
When this period has expired, the two Chairmen examine all the
draft orders and any petitions, and report to the Secretary of
State, who lays each report before Parliament.
9.96 If the two Chairmen report that the provisions,
or some of the provisions, of any draft order relate to matters
outside Scotland to such an extent, or raise questions of public
policy of such novelty and importance, that they ought to be dealt
with by private bill and not by provisional order, the Secretary
of State must, without further inquiry, refuse to issue a provisional
order, to the extent objected to by the Chairmen.
9.97 The promoters of a draft order which the
two Chairmen consider should not be issued by the Secretary of
State, may, if they wish, introduce a private bill known as a
"substituted bill". They must, within 14 days after
the Secretary of State has notified them of his or her refusal
to make the provisional order, deposit a copy of the bill in every
public office where a copy of the draft order was deposited, and
they must notify their intention to the opponents of the draft
order and prove to the Examiner that they have done so. They must
satisfy the Examiner that the bill does not contain any provision
which was not contained in the draft order, though it is not required
to contain all the provisions which were in the order. Subject
to these conditions, the notices which were given for the draft
order are deemed to have been given for the substituted bill,
and the petition to the Secretary of State for the provisional
order is taken to be the petition for the bill. Petitions deposited
against the draft order are received from the Scotland Office
by the House in which the bill originates as petitions presented
against the substituted bill. In the House of Lords no other petition
may be received.
9.98 If the two Chairmen raise no objection to
the draft order and if there is no opposition outstanding, the
Secretary of State issues the provisional order, with such modifications
as may be necessary to meet recommendations made by the two Chairmen
or any public department affected. The Secretary of State has
power to send an unopposed order to an inquiry by Commissioners
before issuing it, but this is seldom done.
9.99 Opposed orders are referred to Commissioners,
who hear parties in Scotland. There are four Commissioners, normally
two members of each House, selected by the two Chairmen from parliamentary
panels appointed by the Chairman of Committees in the House of
Lords and the Committee of Selection in the House of Commons.
One of the Commissioners is appointed as Chairman and, by custom,
is chosen alternately from each House. There is an extra-parliamentary
panel for emergencies, which consists of twenty persons "qualified
by experience of affairs to act as Commissioners" under the
Act. This panel is revised every five years.
9.100 The proceedings of the Commissioners follow
closely those of select committees on private bills. After inquiry
the Commissioners report on the order to the Secretary of State.
They either report that the order should not be made, in which
case the order is rejected; or they approve it, with or without
9.101 The Secretary of State then issues the
provisional order. He or she is entitled to make further amendments
after the inquiry, and is required at this stage to have regard
to any recommendations made by the Chairmen or by departments.
It is an essential feature of the procedure, however, that the
fullest respect is paid to the views of the Commissioners. With
the rarest exception, further amendments are limited to matters
9.102 No provisional order issued by the Secretary
of State for Scotland has any validity until it has been confirmed
by public Act of Parliament. A bill to confirm any such order
or orders is usually introduced by the Secretary of State in the
House of Commons. A bill to confirm an order into which no inquiry
has been held is deemed to have passed through all its stages
up to and including Committee in each House.
In the House of Lords, after first reading, it is put down for
consideration on report. The Lord in charge of the bill moves:
"That this bill be now considered on Report."
9.103 The third reading and passing of the bill
are usually taken on the next convenient day. Proceedings on such
a bill are usually formal. Such bills are not printed in the Lords
unless amended on consideration on report.
9.104 A bill to confirm an order into which an
inquiry has been held may be petitioned against within seven days
of introduction in the House of origin.
If a petition is presented, a member may, with notice, move immediately
after second reading to refer the bill to a joint committee, which
broadly follows the procedure of a select committee on an opposed
Such a motion is rare. If such a motion is agreed to in the House
of Commons and the bill is passed by that House, then in the House
of Lords the bill proceeds straight from second reading to third
If no such motion is agreed to, then, if the bill was introduced
in the Lords, it proceeds from second reading to consideration
on report; if the bill was introduced in the Commons, it proceeds
in the Lords straight from first reading to consideration on report.
9.105 Because Scottish provisional order confirmation
bills are not printed in the House of Lords, the ministerial statement
of compatibility with the Convention rights under section 19 of
the Human Rights Act 1998 is made by means of a written statement.
9.106 Under the Transport and Works Act 1992,
projects such as railways, tramways, harbours and barrages no
longer come before Parliament for approval by way of private bill,
but are dealt with by ministerial orders, in most cases following
local public inquiries. Such orders are not normally subject to
parliamentary proceedings, but may be deposited in the libraries
of both Houses for information. However, section 9 of the Act
provides that schemes which are adjudged by the Secretary of State
to be of national significance must be approved by each House
on a motion moved by a minister before an order is made to give
effect to the scheme. In practice such a motion precedes any local
9.107 Motions take the following form:
"The Lord X to move that, pursuant to section
9 of the Transport and Works Act 1992, this House approves the
following proposals which in the opinion of the Secretary of State
are of national significance, namely,
108 Private Business SOs 94A, 204. Back
SO 63(2). Back
Private Business SO 95(2). Back
PBSO 2. In this chapter any reference to standing orders is, unless
otherwise stated, a reference to the standing orders relating
to private business and the abbreviation PBSO is used. Back
PBSO 38. Back
PBSO 69. Back
PBSOs 70, 3. Back
PBSOs 76-79. Back
PBSOs 72, 81. Back
PBSO 87. Back
PBSO 38(3). Back
PBSO 98A. Back
PBSO 97. Back
PBSO 90. Back
PBSO 98. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1967-68; PBSO 94A. Back
PBSO 111. Back
PBSO 74. Back
PBSO 91. Back
Now part of the Legislation Office. Back
PBSO 99. Back
These are often referred to as the "Wharncliffe Orders". Back
PBSOs 62-68. Back
PBSO 100. Back
PBSO 93. Back
PBSO 121. Back
PBSO 104. Back
PBSO 92. Back
PBSO 96. Back
PBSO 95. Back
PBSOs 105, 106. Back
PBSO 108. Back
PBSOs 110, 127, 124. Back
PBSO 114. Back
PBSO 121. Back
PBSO 113. Back
PBSO 121. Back
PBSO 121, 122. Back
PBSO 127. Back
PBSO 147. Back
PBSO 148. Back
PBSOs 98, 74, 60-61, 65-68. Back
PBSO 99. Back
PBSO 101. Back
PBSO 112. Back
PBSO 75. Back
PBSO 150. Back
PBSO 3. Back
PBSO 153. Back
PBSO 167. Back
PBSOs 157-158. Back
PBSO 160. Back
PBSO 161. Back
PBSO 159. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1985-86. Back
For this purpose, an affirmative instrument is as defined in SO
72, but excludes orders under s. 1 of the Manoeuvres Act
1958 and certain instruments exempted from this procedure by their
parent Act. Back
PBSO 216. Back
SO 72. Back
PBSO 216A. Back
s. 8. Back
s. 1. Back
s. 1. Back
s. 2. Back
s. 3; PBSOs 206, 201, 201A. Back
PBSO 207. Back
PBSO 207A. Back
PBSO 210. Back
s. 4. Back
s. 5. Back
s. 6. Back
PBSO 214. Back
s. 6(4). Back
s. 6(5). Back
s. 10. Back
s. 1(1). Back
s. 1(1). Back
s. 1(4). Back
PBSO 193. Back
GO 2, s. 1(2). Back
s. 13, GO 4-56, 58-60, 65-67, 69-72, s. 3(2). Back
GO 75. Back
s. 2, PBSO 189. Back
s. 2(2). Back
PBSO 194, 195, 196, s. 2(4), PBSO 197. Back
s. 7, s. 3(1). Back
s. 5, PBSO 190, s. 4. Back
s. 6, 10-12, 14, 17, GO 73-115, s. 8. Back
s. 7(2). Back
s. 9. Back
PBSO 191. Back
PBSO 192. Back