Review of petitioning procedures on Hybrid Bills

19 May 2016

The recent report of the Commons Select Committee on the HS2 Phase One Bill suggested there should be a review of how to modernise procedure on Hybrid Bills (Bills presented by the Government which attract the protection of private business standing orders, including by allowing petitioning).

As Members with responsibility for the oversight of private business, we have commissioned a review to take place over the coming months. The review will look at ways to simplify and modernise procedure to help all those involved in future Hybrid Bills and make processes more user-friendly for everyone concerned.

We invite your participation in the review. [Chairman of Committees and Chairman of Ways and Means]

Guidance on making submissions

Deadline for submissions

Submissions should be sent to the Private Bill Offices of the two Houses by 30 June 2016 and should normally be confined to 2,500 words. For the time being they should address experience of Commons procedures only. Lords procedures will be consulted on later in the year when there has been experience of petitioning before the Lords Select Committee on the HS2 Phase One Bill.

Submissions content

Questions that respondents may wish to address include:

  • How should the process of depositing petitions be modernised?
  • Should petitioning fees be changed or abolished? Are other petitioning expenses significant?
  • Should there be different processes for determining rights of audience (’locus standi’), such as a written or partly written process?
  • Would guidance on cases where locus is likely or unlikely to apply be helpful?
  • How can petitioner representation, including by agents, be improved and simplified?
  • Should Members of Parliament be allowed to petition on behalf of their constituents and/or to represent petitioners?
  • How should Committees programme petitions so that arguments are heard fully and fairly by different contributors, and with opportunities for pursuing different remedies, but without unnecessary repetition?
  • Should programming of petitioner appearances be handled by area or by type of petitioner – for example, should local authorities all appear first?
  • How can petition hearings work better?
  • Should written representations be allowed?
  • How can strength of support for petitions be demonstrated without requiring appearances by petitioners who do not necessarily want to appear?
  • Which rules and guidance need clarifying?

Where to send submissions

Please send submissions, preferably by e-mail, to the review to the House of Commons Private Bill Office and the House of Lords Private Bill Office.

House of Commons Private Bill Office,
House of Commons,
London, SW1A 0AA

House of Lords Private Bill Office,
Room 23, 1st Floor,
House of Lords,
London, SW1A 0PW

What will happen to submissions?

Submissions may be published in due course by the parliamentary authorities, although submitters may publish their submissions themselves. (However, please note that the review is being undertaken by the two Chairmen on their own initiative and not by a parliamentary select committee, so evidence submitted is not automatically privileged.) If you wish to provide an address but do not wish your address to be published by the parliamentary authorities please send it as a separate item.

Contact for queries about the review

Christine Salmon Percival
House of Lords Private Bill Office,
Room 23, 1st Floor,
House of Lords,
London, SW1A 0PW
phone: 020 7219 3231
fax: 020 7219 2571

Contact for Media queries about the review

Joanna Nurse
Media Relations Manager, House of Commons
phone: 020 7219 0969

Related information

The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill Select Committee (Commons) on HS2 Phase One made a number of suggestions for reform of Hybrid Bill procedure, which can be found in Chapter 8 of its final report.

That report, and the Committee’s earlier, interim report, explain in detail what Hybrid Bills are, and what they do.

Find out more about petitioning against Private Bills, Roll B agents, and Private Bill procedure.

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