Review of petitioning procedures on Hybrid Bills in the House of Lords: views sought

In May and June this year, the first stage of the consultation on the review of the petitioning procedures on Hybrid Bills took place. We are grateful to those who submitted their views at this point, and would like to now invite further submissions, as the process of petitioning before the Lords Select Committee on the HS2 Phase One Bill draws to a close.

 

 

Background to the review

The recent report of the Commons Select Committee on the HS2 Phase One Bill suggested there should be a review of how to modernise procedure on Hybrid Bills (Bills presented by the Government which attract the protection of private business standing orders, including by allowing petitioning).

As Members with responsibility for the oversight of private business, the Chairman of Committees (now known as the Senior Deputy Speaker) of the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons commissioned a review to take place over the coming months. The review is looking at ways to simplify and modernise procedure to help all those involved in future Hybrid Bills and make processes more user-friendly for everyone concerned.

 

Making a submission

Submissions should be sent to the Private Bill Offices of the two Houses by 9 December 2016 and should normally be confined to 2,500 words.

 

Submissions content

Questions that respondents may wish to address include:

  • How should the process of depositing petitions be modernised?
  • Should petitioning fees be changed or abolished? Are other petitioning expenses significant?
  • Should there be different processes for determining rights of audience ('locus standi'), such as a written or partly written process?
  • Would guidance on cases where locus is likely or unlikely to apply be helpful?
  • How can petitioner representation, including by agents, be improved and simplified?
  • Should Members of Parliament be allowed to petition on behalf of their constituents and/or to represent petitioners?
  • How should Committees programme petitions so that arguments are heard fully and fairly by different contributors, and with opportunities for pursuing different remedies, but without unnecessary repetition?
  • Should programming of petitioner appearances be handled by area or by type of petitioner – for example, should local authorities all appear first?
  • How can petition hearings work better?
  • Should written representations be allowed?
  • How can strength of support for petitions be demonstrated without requiring appearances by petitioners who do not necessarily want to appear?
  • Which rules and guidance need clarifying?
  • Has there been a difference in the process of petitioning the Lords' Committee and petitioning the Commons' Committee? If so, what was different?

 

Where to send submissions

Please send submissions, preferably by e-mail, to the review to the House of Commons Private Bill Office and the House of Lords Private Bill Office.

House of Commons Private Bill Office
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA
email: [email protected]

House of Lords Private Bill Office
Room 23, 1st Floor
House of Lords
London, SW1A 0PW
email: [email protected]

 

What will happen to submissions?

Submissions may be published in due course by the parliamentary authorities, although submitters may publish their submissions themselves. (However, please note that the review is being undertaken by the two Chairmen on their own initiative and not by a parliamentary select committee, so evidence submitted is not automatically privileged). Please make it clear in your submission if there is any information you would not wish to be made publicly available. We will not be publishing any personal contact details as a matter of course.

 

Related information

The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill Select Committee (Commons) on HS2 Phase One made a number of suggestions for reform of Hybrid Bill procedure, which can be found in Chapter 8 of its final report.

That report, and the Committee's earlier, interim report, explain in detail what Hybrid Bills are, and what they do.

 

Find out more about petitioning against Private Bills, Roll B agents, and Private Bill Procedure

 

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