Explain the procedure of legislation in British Parliament?

(1) Introduction

Legislation means making of law, which has been enacted by a legislature or other governing institution. In simple words process of making law is called legislation. Usually it is considered that process of making of law starts with presentation of Bill into Parliament. But the reality is that much of work is needed to be done before presentation of Bill into Parliament.

(2) Process Of Legislation In British Parliament:

In democratic system, main objective of a Parliament is legislation. In every Parliament, a specific procedure is adopted for legislation. In British Parliament, following procedure is adopted for law making:

  • (i) Proposals
  • (ii) Bills
  • (iii) Parliamentary stage
  • (iv) Approval of Bill by other House
  • (v) Royal assent


As far as law making is concerned, first step is that proposals are developed to address particular goals and problems. Following points are important regarding proposals:

  • (a) Proposals & Cabinet-Ministers
  • (b) Debate in Cabinet-Committees
  • (c) Decision Of Legislative Committee

(a) Proposals & Cabinet-Ministers:

It is necessary that Cabinet-Ministers must agree which proposals should be considered for legislation.

(b) Debate In Cabinet-Committees:

Proposals are usually debated in various Cabinet-Committees.

(c) Decision Of Legislative Committee:

No-doubt consensus among Cabinet-Ministers and debate in various Cabinet-Committees are necessary, but it is Legislative Committee, which decides which proposal is presented to Parliament for legislation and which is not.

(ii) Bills:

Usually proposals, which are approved by Cabinet, are converted into Bills. A Bill is a proposal for a new law or changing an existing law. For drafting of a Bill, parliamentary counsels translate the principles, which are present in the government’s proposal, and these principles are transformed into detailed legislative form. Followings are different kinds of Bill.

  • (a) Public Bill
  • (b) Private Bill
  • (c) Private Member’s Bill
  • (d) Hybrid Bill
  • (e) Money Bill

(a) Public Bill:

Public Bill is that Bill, which changes the law. Government ministers propose the majority of Public Bills. Such Bill can be initially introduced either in House of Commons or in House of Lords.

(b) Private Bill:

Private Bill is usually promoted by organizations. Such Bill can be introduced either in House of Commons or in House of Lords.

(c) Private Member’s Bill:

Private Members’ Bill is, in fact, Public Bill and it is introduced by MPs and Lords, who are not government ministers. Such Bill can also be initially introduced either in House of Commons or in House of Lords.

(d) Hybrid Bill:

Hybrid Bill has characteristics of both the Public and Private Bills.

(e) Money Bill:

Money bill is of financial nature. This bill is initially introduced only in House of Commons.


(iii) Parliamentary Stage:

Journey of a Bill to become law can start either from House of Commons or from House of Lords. However, such journey of Money Bill begins in House of Commons. To complete this journey, although a Bill goes through similar process in both the Houses, yet it has to pass through following stages:

  •  (a) First reading
  • (b) Second reading
  • (c) Committee stage
  • (d) Report stage
  • (e) Third reading

(a) First Reading:

Title of a Bill is simply read out in the House. After this. copies of the bill are given to all members of Parliament.\

(b) Second Reading:

During second reading, MPs or Lords discuss the main principles of a bill. MPs can vote in favour or against the Bill at the end of this stage particularly if such bill is controversial. On the other hand, a bill in the House of Lords passes to stage without a voting.

(c) Committee Stage:

During committee stage, a bill is then considered, line by line, by committees of MPs or Lords. Amendments are proposed and voted on.

(d) Report Stage:

After Committee stage, the amended Bill is sent back to the House where it was initially presented. All House-members review the amended Bill. Those members, who could not participate at the previous stage, can suggest further changes.

(e) Third Reading:

During third reading, a Bill is voted in House of Commons because further amendments are not considered. However, further amendments can be suggested in House of Lords during third reading.

 (iv) Approval Of Bill By Other House:

If a bill is initially presented in House of Commons and is approved, it is then sent to House of Lords. If further amendments are made to the Bill in House of Lords, it is returned to House of Commons for consideration of the amendments Contrary to this if House of Lords approves the Bill, the same is sent to Brit Queen for royal assent.

(v) Royal Assent:

With approval from House of Lords and House of Commons, a Bill is needed formal approval of British Monarch Such formal approval is called Royal Assent. After receiving rojal approval, a Bill becomes law and is termed as an Act of Parliament.

 (3) Conclusion:

To conclude, it can be stated that history is repeating itself in Great Britain. Initially, Parliament shared powers with British Monarch and British Monarch lost sovereignty. Now other institutions are sharing powers with the Parliament and sovereignty of the Parliament is being affected as far as legislation is concerned.

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