Lords debates Private Members’ Bills

16 May 2011

Three Private Members’ Bills – Sports Grounds Safety Authority Bill, Estates of Deceased Persons Bill and Wreck Removal Convention Bill – completed their second readings in the House of Lords on Friday 13 May.

Sports Grounds Safety Authority Bill

Lord Faulkner of Worcester moved the second reading of the Bill. Issues discussed included improving safety at sports grounds and increasing seating. Committee stage – line by line examination of the Bill – is yet to be scheduled.

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority Bill aims to re-name the Football Licensing Authority as the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and give it the power to provide advice generally on safety at sports grounds to national and international organisations, persons or bodies.

The Bill, which started in the House of Commons, had its first reading in the House of Lords on 7 March.

Estates of Deceased Persons Bill

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved the second reading debate. Issues under discussion included the background to the Law Commission's report and the need for change in this area of law. Committee stage is yet to be scheduled.

The purpose of the Estates of Deceased Persons Bill is to protect, in certain circumstances, the inheritance rights of the descendants of people who have forfeited their inheritance by killing the deceased or decided not to accept their inheritance.

This Bill also started in the Commons and also had its first reading the House of Lords on 7 March.

Wreck Removal Convention Bill

Baroness Stowell of Beeston moved the seconding reading of the Bill. Issues discussed included the role UK should have in ensuring the world's shipping lanes are kept safe and how a wreck should be categorised. A date for committee stage is yet to be scheduled.

Its first reading stage – a formality signalling the start of its journey through the Lords – took place on 21 March 2011.

The Wreck Removal Convention Bill provides measures to enable the United Kingdom to ratify and implement the Nairobi International Convention for the Removal of Wrecks (ICRW) in UK domestic law by inserting new sections – Part 9A – into the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

A report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Bill draws attention to the powers granted to the Secretary of State to amend Part 9A to reflect any amendment of the Convention. The report notes the potential for use of these powers to have ‘considerable impact’ in the application of some aspects of the Convention.

Further information

Members of the Lords who are not government ministers can introduce Private Members’ Bills. Like Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. Most Private Members’ Bill do not become Acts of Parliament; however, by creating publicity around an issue, some Private Members’ Bill can indirectly affect legislation.

Second reading is the first opportunity for Members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of the Bill and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

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