English Legal System - Acts of Parliament

Acts of Parliament are also known as statutes, statutory law and legislation.

The Parliament is sovereign and therefore it has power to make law that precedes law originating from any other source (except European Union law)

All statutes begin as a proposal for a piece of legislation – a Bill.

There are three types of Bill;

Public Bills – prepared by the Cabinet, effecting the general law of the country, usually preceded by Green Paper

Private Members’ Bills – prepared by individual back bench Members of Parliament (MPs), who must enter a ballot to win the right to put forward a bill and further get from the Government enough parliamentary time for the Bill to go through. Such Bills function more often as raising attention in relation to particular issues, and only rarely become Acts.

Private Bills – proposed by local authorities, public corporations or public companies

Majority of bills originate from governmental departments, with only a minority of bills deriving from a government manifesto commitments

Also large number originate from the recommendations of independent advisory committees or commissions, some of them being ad hock

The most important standing body is the Law Commission.

The drafting of Acts of Parliament is done in number of different consecutive stages:

First reading – acts as a notification of the proposal as the title of the Bill is read to the House of Commons

Second reading
- takes the form of a full debate at which the Bill may be amended as well as voting taking place as to whether the legislation should in fact proceed

Committee stage - referral of the Bill to the House of Commons in order for it to be examined in detail at which stage it may also undergo further amendments.

Report stage – after consideration by the House of Commons they report back to the House and further debate and voting is to be taken on the proposed amendments

Third reading – the House of Lords will put the proposed Bill through similar process of three (3) readings after which if there are to be any amendments, it will be returned to the Commons for further consideration which is followed by a agreement, details of disagreement or alternative change proposals

Royal Assent - a bill is presented for a Royal Assent after agreement by the Lords and the Commons. It is for the Queen to give her consent for it to become law at a later, specified date

The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949

The process of creating legislation involves the proposed bill passing through both Houses. The result could be that the House of Lords could continually reject bills from the House of Commons.

The Parliament Acts lay down special procedures whereby the Act can be presented for Royal Assent without the approval of the House of Lords.

The Parliament Act 1911, s.1 concerns the delay of money bills, and s.2 concerns how long the Upper House can delay all bills other than money bills. Originally set at two years this limit was reduced by the Parliament Act 1949.

The validity of the 1949 Act has been questioned, as it used the Parliament Act 1911 to get it passed. This question was raised in the House of Lords in R (Jackson and others) v Attorney-General [2005] 3 WLR 733, in relation to the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, and was found to be lawful.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Need Law Introduction ... click HERE
Private Policy About Us Contact Us Content References

LAW (LLB) NOTES is intended merely as an informational and educational resource and is not intended to offer legal advice, nor does it offer legal advice. The exchange of information, by electronic mail or otherwise, relating in any way to LAW (LLB) NOTES is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.