Lords completes Crime and Courts Bill

24 April 2013

The Crime and Courts Bill bounced back to the House of Lords for consideration of Commons' changes - or 'ping pong', yesterday.

Members of the Lords discussed concerns about the potential impact of the new system of press regulation on small-scale blogs. They agreed to make changes to the definition of a 'relevant publisher', to make clear that 'microbusiness' blogs and news aggregators are excluded from the incentive-based scheme, particularly in relation to exemplary damages and the awarding of costs in civil legal cases. 

All Commons amendments were agreed to without a vote. The Crime and Courts Bill is now awaiting royal assent.

Consideration of amendments/ping pong explained

Once the bill has completed third reading in the House of Lords the bill returns to the Commons where it will consider any amendments made in the Lords.

Both Houses need to agree to the exact wording of the bill and the bill may 'ping pong' between both Houses until this happens.

When the exact wording of the bill has been agreed by both Houses the bill is ready for royal assent. Once a bill receives royal assent it becomes an Act of Parliament (proposals in the bill become law).

The bill's progress so far

About the Crime and Courts Bill

The bill was introduced in the House of Lords at its first reading stage (formal introduction) on 10 May. It aims to establish the National Crime Agency and suggests abolishing the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the National Policing Improvement Agency.

It also examines the structure, administration, proceedings and powers of courts and tribunals and addresses issues like border control and drugs and driving.

Next and final stage: Royal assent

Once a bill has completed all its parliamentary stages in both Houses, it's ready to receive royal assent and become an act of Parliament (law). Royal assent is the Queen's formal agreement to make the bill into an act.

There is no set time period between the consideration of amendments and 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 each bill.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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