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Royal Assent

Bill becomes an Act of Parliament

Once a bill has completed all the parliamentary stages in both Houses, it is ready to receive royal assent. This is when the King formally agrees to make the bill into an Act of Parliament (law).

There is no set time period between the conclusion of consideration of amendments/ping pong and royal assent.

What happens at royal assent?

When royal assent has been given, an announcement is made in both Houses – by the Lord Speaker in the Lords and the Speaker in the Commons.

At prorogation (the formal end to a parliamentary session), Black Rod interrupts the proceedings of the Commons and summons MPs to the Lords chamber to hear the Lords commissioners announce royal assent for the bills passed towards the end of the session which had not received royal assent earlier in the year.

What happens after royal assent?

The legislation within the bill may come into effect immediately, after a set period or only after a commencement order by a government minister.

A commencement order is designed to bring into force the whole or part of an Act of Parliament at a date later than the date of the royal assent.

If there is no commencement order, the Act will come into force from midnight at the start of the day of the royal assent.

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

Consideration of amendments