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Royal Assent: Finn's Law

12 April 2019 (updated on 12 April 2019)

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, also known as Finn's Law, was introduced by Sir Oliver Heald MP to make it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal. The campaign for the bill followed the stabbing of police dog, Finn, in the line of duty in 2016.

What is the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill 2019?

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill 2017-19 was introduced to the House of Commons on 13 June 2018.

The Bill,

  • provides for increased protection for service animals by amending section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the “2006 Act”).
  • addresses public concerns about attacks on service animals, where a defendant accused of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could claim they were protecting themselves and are justified in using physical force against a service animal.

The Act received Royal Assent on 8 April 2019, having completed all of its parliamentary stages. It becomes the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019. The Act will come into force in June 2019.

You can follow its passage, from first reading to Act of Parliament, below.

Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019: Parliamentary passage

Find explanatory information, bill documents, impartial supporting research and links to transcripts and video of proceedings in both Houses of Parliament:

What is Royal Assent?

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

There is no set time period between the end of a bill's passage through Parliament and Royal Assent.

Image: provided by the office of Sir Oliver Heald MP