Hybrid bills mix the characteristics of public and private bills. The changes to the law proposed by a hybrid bill would affect the general public but would also have a more significant impact on specific individuals or groups.
Examples of hybrid bills include those which led to the construction of the Channel Tunnel and Crossrail, and those which made provision for the HS2 rail network. You can find hybrid bills currently before Parliament here.
Hybrid bills are usually introduced by the Government. If they are judged to be hybrid by Parliament’s Public Bill Offices, they become subject to the Private Business Standing Orders, which outline a number of conditions with which the promoters of the bill must comply (such as advertising the bill in certain places). During its passage through Parliament, a hybrid bill will undergo many of the same stages as normal public bills, but with some additional requirements. You can find out more about the hybrid bill process here.
Like private bills, hybrid bills are subject to a petitioning period, during which time people who believe they will be affected by the provisions of the bill can submit a petition to Parliament outlining their opposition to the bill. Some petitioners may have the opportunity to appear before the select committee on the bill to make their case, and this can result in changes being made to the bill or concessions being made by the bill’s promoters. You can find out more about petitioning against hybrid bills here.
Because of the size and complexity of the projects provided for by hybrid bills, they can take a long time to get through all stages in the two Houses—the first HS2 bill, covering the phase from London to the West Midlands, was introduced in November 2013 and gained Royal Assent in February 2017.
Further information on hybrid bills:
- MPs’ Guide to Procedure
- House of Commons Library Research Briefing
- Erskine May, Chapter 30, Paras 57–74
Review of petitioning procedures on hybrid bills:
In 2016 the Private Bill Offices of the House of Commons and the House of Lords initiated a review of procedures relating to hybrid bills in order to update, clarify and simplify processes. The most recent report on this review was released in September 2022. Find out more here.