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Committee stage: Private Bills

The purpose of the committee stage for Private Bills is to decide whether the Bill should be allowed to proceed, and if so, whether any amendments should be made. If a Bill has petitions against it, it is considered by an Opposed Bill Committee. If a Bill has no petitions against it, it is considered by an Unopposed Bill Committee.

Opposed Bill Committee

If a person or organisation objects to a Private Bill, they can petition the House against it. Private Bills with petitions against them are looked at by Opposed Bill Committees.

An Opposed Bill Committee has two main tasks:

  • Listening to the arguments presented by those responsible for promoting the Bill, and by those petitioning against the Bill. This may include taking evidence from witnesses. The Committee must decide if the general case for the Bill (known as the 'preamble') has been proved.

  • Examining the Bill clause by clause, including any new clauses or amendments that have been proposed.

Unopposed Bill Committee

If no person or organisation petitions against a Private Bill, it is looked at by an Unopposed Bill Committee

Proceedings in an Unopposed Bill Committee are usually much briefer than for an Opposed Bill Committee. The main business is for the promoter of the Bill to explain why it is needed and to answer any questions from the committee.

As with the Opposed Bill Committee, the Unopposed Bill Committee must decide whether the general case for the Bill has been proved.