Bills

What is a Bill?

A Bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law, that is presented for debate before Parliament.

What are the different types of Bill?

There are three different types of Bill: Public, Private and Hybrid Bills. There is also another kind of Public Bill called Private Members' Bills.

Different types of Bills can be introduced by:

Where can I find information on Bills and how they become law?

Information on Bills and how they become law can be found in the Making laws section of the Parliament website.

What are the different stages of a Bill?

Bills can start in either House but go through similar stages - though with important differences in each House - and must be approved by both Houses before they become law.

How can I keep track of the progress of a Bill?

You can follow the progress of a Bill on the Bills and Legislation section on the Parliament website.

Where can I find the list of speakers in a debate on a Bill?

You can find a list of speakers for forthcoming debates on a Bill (Second reading) on the calendar pages of the Parliament website and on the Lords Government Whips Office website.

Any Member of the Lords can put his or her name down on these lists as soon as the date of the debate is announced. Just before the debate takes place the list is closed and the names are put in the order in which they will speak.

Where can I find a list of amendments on a Bill?

You can find the order in which amendments on a Bill will be debated (known as 'groupings of amendments') in the Lords on the Lords Government Whips Office website.

You can also read the 'Marshalled List of Amendments' which accompany most Bills and set out the 'groupings of amendments' of a Bill by accessing individual Bills from the Bills and Legislation pages on the Parliament website

How many Bills did the Lords handle last session?

Total number of Bills handled in session 2014-2015: 68

How long does a Bill take to go through the Lords?

The length of time for a Bill to go through the Lords - and Commons - varies as each Bill is treated as an individual case.

You can track the progress of a Bill on the Bills and Legislation section on the Parliament website.

Where can I get a copy of a Bill?

The full text of a Bill can be viewed on the Bills and Legislation section on the Parliament website.

Where can I get a copy of an Act?

Texts of Acts of Parliament are published electronically on the Legislation.gov.uk website.

The Parliamentary Archives has copies of original Acts from 1497.

Note that the practical implementation of an Act is the responsibility of the appropriate government department, not Parliament.

What was the last Bill rejected by the Lords at second reading?

Bills are rarely rejected by the Lords at second reading as the second reading stage is mainly an opportunity to debate the Bill, whereas a vote to reject the Bill represents a direct challenge to the principle of the Bill.

Government Bills included in the election manifesto are, by convention, not opposed at second reading in the Lords, but 'reasoned' amendments may be tabled as a means of indicating dissent and can be voted on.

The most recent Public Bills rejected at second reading in the Lords:

  • Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill: rejected 20 March 2007
  • Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill: rejected 12 May 2006
  • Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) (No. 2) Bill: rejected 28 September 2000